Reviews: MALIBU RISING & THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND

 

Sorry I disappeared off the blogosphere for a few days but man, it has been a week.  We are short-staffed at work, as usual, so the universe decided this would be a great week for a trip to the ER with my son, followed by a fender bender this weekend when a teen driver decided to plow into the back of my car while we were stopped at a traffic light.  We’re all fine thankfully, but if the universe could cut me a break for a bit, that would be fantastic.  Anyway, my life drama aside, I do have two reviews to share today, one for Malibu Rising, one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and one for The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, which I was drawn to because of the island setting. When I read the synopsis, it reminded me of a little island off the coast of Virginia called Tangier Island and being from Virginia, I was intrigued.

 

Reviews:  MALIBU RISING & THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLANDMalibu Rising Goodreads

Author: Taylor Jenkins Reid

Publication Date: June 1, 2021

Publisher:  Ballantine Books

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Taylor Jenkins Reid became one of my favorite authors after I fell in love with her most recent novels, Daisy Jones & the Six and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo.  Her masterful storytelling and her ability to bring unforgettable characters to life just really won me over, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her new novel, Malibu Rising.

Malibu Rising is a story of love and loss, secrets and betrayals, and at the heart of it all is the Riva family, the parents Mick and June, and the four Riva children, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit.  Those familiar with TJR’s books will probably recognize Mick Riva, who appears in the Daisy Jones and Evelyn Hugo novels.  Mick is an iconic musician who can’t seem to break the cycle of infidelity that he falls into the moment he becomes successful as a musician.  He waltzes in and out of June and their kids’ lives, leaving wreckage in his wake each time he decides family life isn’t for him.  To say the Rivas are a dysfunctional family is probably putting it mildly.

Malibu Rising is told using a dual timeline, which I’m always a fan of if it’s done well, and TJR uses it effectively here to peel back the layers on the Riva family.  One timeline is set in the past which explores Mick and June Riva’s life together, showing how they met and the dramatic ups and downs of their relationship and how it impacted their young children.  The second timeline is set in the 1980s and focuses on the Riva children, Nina, Jay, Hud, and Kit, who are all adults now and are experiencing their own ups and downs.

This family’s journey is a wild and often heartbreaking one and because of that, I loved the modern timeline that shows the kids all grown up and trying to make their way in the world.  I loved how tight their sibling bond has grown over the years, probably because they could only rely on each other.  Nina, the eldest, was a particular favorite of mine in that she sacrificed everything to basically become a mother to her younger siblings.  Their lives are full of ups and downs as well, but they are all there for each other in ways their parents weren’t there for them.

The only part of the novel I didn’t enjoy was actually the big end-of-summer party that is the focal point of the story.  Yes, it’s most definitely a life-changing event as it brings many issues to a head and turns quite a few lives upside down.  At the same time, however, I found it to be somewhat tedious at times.  I guess the Hollywood life doesn’t appeal to me and I just got bored reading page after page of celebrity after celebrity showing up and behaving in utterly predictable ways.  The drama surrounding the Riva siblings at that party is riveting and everything else just felt like it was in the way.

Even though I wasn’t the biggest fan of the party itself, everything else about the novel made for a very compelling read.  If you enjoy family dramas and sibling stories, you’ll enjoy Malibu Rising. 4 STARS.

 

Reviews:  MALIBU RISING & THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLANDThe Invisible Husband of Frick Island Goodreads

Author: Colleen Oakley

Publication Date: May 25, 2021

Publisher:  Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Colleen Oakley’s new novel The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is an emotional story about love, loss, and grief and the lengths people will go to in order to help those they love.  The story centers on Piper Parrish, a young woman who lives on Frick Island, a tiny island located in the Chesapeake Bay and only accessible by ferry.  The Frick Island community, cut off as they are from the mainland, are a tightknit group who look out for each other.  When Piper’s husband Tom is lost at sea when his boat capsizes during a terrible storm, the community rallies together to help Piper cope with the loss.  It’s the method in which they choose to rally that brings a bit of a whimsical element to the story.  When they realize that Piper is hallucinating that Tom is still alive and by her side, the community decides to play along with it and pretend he’s still alive as well. When Anders Caldwell, an aspiring journalist, is sent to the island on assignment, he witnesses Piper and her hallucinations as well as the community going along with it, he can’t believe what he is seeing and decides he needs to investigate it further. He thinks this is a story that could make his career but has no idea how truly life changing it will end up being.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story.  I especially loved the small town island setting and how they’re all practically one big family.  I also loved all the quirky characters who live on the island.  They were fun and I immediately liked them all just by virtue of what they were willing to do to keep from breaking Piper’s heart.  Piper herself is of course an incredibly sympathetic character because of the loss she has suffered and it’s easy to see why her community loves her so much.  I very much enjoyed watching her interact with Anders as he tried to piece together what was motivating the community to go along with Piper’s hallucinations rather than set her straight about Tom’s death. There were times when I wanted to shake him for using Piper’s tragedy to further his career, but he shows tremendous growth in this area as he and Piper grew closer and he starts to realize his own mistakes.

My only real issue with The Invisible Husband of Frick Island is that it felt a little slow at times.  As much as I enjoyed it, I felt like the story got a little bogged down by Anders’ repetitive ferry rides back and forth to the island.  I think I would have preferred either fewer trips or maybe less description of them each time.

If you enjoy small town settings, quirky characters, and reading about the things we do for love, you’ll want to check out The Invisible Husband of Frick Island.  3.5 STARS.

28 replies
  1. Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café
    Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café says:

    I’m such a fan of Taylor Jenkins Reid and have learned to listen to her stories (she chooses the best narrators!) and that’s what I have. Love all the elements you outlined so I’m very much looking forward to this one.

    You’re not alone in your issue with the repetitive ferry rides. I’m hoping it’s less of an issue (or I can nod off) while listening😏

    Great reviews, Suzanne💜
    Jonetta (Ejaygirl) | Blue Mood Café recently posted…Saturdays at the Café

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  2. Greg
    Greg says:

    Oh no – what a week you’ve had! I’m glad no one was seriously hurt in the accident, and that your son is okay! Scary stuff. You do need a break. 🙂 I’ve been curious about Malibu rising as Taylor Jenkins- Reid is an author I want to read more of. she seems to be putting out so many interesting sounding books lately! I’m not a huge fan of Hollywood / celebrity type stuff either, but other than that it does sound pretty good!

    I really need to do a TJR binge one of these days, I’ve only read one of hers but there are so many that look great!
    Greg recently posted…2 for 1 Songs #1

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    • Suzanne
      Suzanne says:

      Yeah, I really enjoy TJR’s books. I need to go back and read some of her older stuff but the 4 I have read from her have been 4 stars or higher.

      Reply
  3. verushka
    verushka says:

    Both choices that have come on my radar recently too Suzanne – I like Malibu Rising and the potential between the family members. I like the premise of The Invisible Husband of Frick Island and the close knit community, so hopefully it doesn’t slow down too much.

    Reply
  4. Tanya @ Girl Plus Books
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books says:

    Oh my goodness, what a week, Suzanne! You are so due for a break.

    I am ridiculously excited for Malibu Rising. It’s been one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I am so ready to dive right in but I have a few other reads to get through first.

    I think you might have enjoyed The Invisible Husband of Frick Island a bit more than I did, and I agree that the pacing was pretty slow. I just really wanted more from that one. It seemed to have so much promise.
    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…Review: Next In Line by J. Bengtsson #NewRelease #ReleaseBlitz

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