Review: Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy

Posted March 15, 2022 by Stephanie in 4 Stars, Historical Fiction, Review / 7 Comments

Title: Mustique Island
Author: Sarah McCoy
Publication: May 10, 2022 by William Morrow
Genre: Historical Fiction
Find it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | iBooks | Kobo
Rating: 4/5★

From the New York Times bestselling author Sarah McCoy, a compulsive, sun-splashed voyage of self-discovery with a wealthy divorcee and her two headstrong daughters in 1970s Mustique, the world’s most exclusive private island, where Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger were regulars and long-held secrets are the buried treasures.

It’s January 1972 but the sun is white hot when Willy May Michael’s boat first kisses the dock of Mustique Island. Tucked into the southernmost curve of the Caribbean, Mustique is a private island that has become a haven for the rich and privileged. Its owner is the eccentric British playboy Colin Tennant, who is determined to turn this speck of white sand into a luxurious neo-colonial retreat for his well-to-do friends and into a royal court in exile for the Queen’s rebellious sister, Princess Margaret—one where Her Royal Highness can skinny dip, party, and entertain lovers away from the public eye.

Willy May, a former beauty queen from Texas—who is no stranger to marital scandals—seeks out Mustique for its peaceful isolation. Determined to rebuild her life and her relationships with her two daughters, Hilly, a model, and Joanne, a musician, she constructs a fanciful beach house across the island from Princess Margaret—and finds herself pulled into the island’s inner circle of aristocrats, rock stars, and hangers-on.

When Willy May’s daughters arrive, they discover that beneath its veneer of decadence, Mustique has a dark side, and like sand caught in the undertow, their mother-daughter story will shift and resettle in ways they never could have imagined.

This is a historical fiction set in the 1970’s on Mustique, an island in the Caribbean (and yes it’s an actualy real island!) It’s written in the points of view of Willy May, a wealthy divorcée who’s a former beauty queen and her two daughters Hilly and Joanne. The story starts with Willy May who moved to Mustique Island and is building a home there. The quirky owner of Mustique, Colin Tennant, introduces her to the rich and famous who come to the island to party and do whatever they want without the media constantly being on top of them, which even includes Princess Margaret. When Willy May’s daughters arrive on Mustique, with who she had somewhat of a troubled relationship with, the story shifts and starts centering about their bond as mother and daughters.

This book ended up as such a pleasant surprise for me. It did take me a couple of chapters to warm up to the characters and really get into the story but it wasn’t long until it all had me hooked. I was always very much looking forward to picking up my e-reader again and continuing the story to find out where it would take Willy May, Hilly and Joanne. I felt really invested into their lives and what would happen next, which I hadn’t expected when I first started reading. And those are the best kinda stories I think, the unexpected ones.

I always enjoy a historical novel that has people who actually existed in it and this book definitely didn’t disappoint with that. I already mentioned Princess Margaret and Colin Tennant but there was also even Mick Jagger! It’s safe to say that the author handled the fiction mixed with facts perfectly for me. But what I loved most was the relationship Willy May had with her daughters, Hilly and Joanne. It was what really made this story so beautiful and worth it. It all made me emotional even, especially at the end which I absolutely hadn’t expected but last pages gave me tears in my eyes.

Mustique Island by Sarah McCoy is in one word: splendid. Come for the glamor and stay for the poignant emotions the story invokes.


About the author:

Sarah McCoy is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the novels Mustique Island (forthcoming from Harper Collins in May 2022), Marilla of Green Gables, The Mapmaker’s Children, The Baker’s Daughter, a 2012 Goodreads Choice Award Best Historical Fiction nominee, the novella “The Branch of Hazel” in Grand Central, The Time It Snowed in Puerto Rico, and Le souffle des feuilles et des promesses(Pride and Providence).

Her work has been featured in Real Simple, The Millions, Your Health Monthly, Huffington Post, Read It Forward, Writer Unboxed, and other publications. She was the host of the NPR WSNC Radio monthly program “Bookmarked with Sarah McCoy” from 2018-2019 and a Board Member for the literary nonprofit Bookmarks. Sarah taught English writing at Old Dominion University and at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The daughter of an Army officer, her family was stationed in Germany during her childhood. After a decade in El Paso, Texas, she now lives with her husband, Dr. Brian Waterman, an orthopedic sports surgeon at Wake Forest University, and fur children Gilly Pup and Tutu Cat in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she is working on her next novel.

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