Book One of First Light
The islanders of Chappaquiddick have a saying: “Some come here to hide; others to heal.”
Mae Keaney returns to Chappaquiddick Island at the beginning of World War II determined to distance herself from a past filled with pain and regret. Fiercely independent, she defies both the societal conventions of the island and its unforgiving natural world until a catastrophic fire threatens her livelihood, the Boat House Café. After reluctantly accepting help from a Wampanoag tribal member, she forms an uneasy alliance that leads her to an understanding of the wisdom of the “People of the First Light” and restores her faith in herself.
FINALIST for the GOETHE AWARD for Historical Fiction
A triumphant tale of love, family, and courage
“…In this beautiful, lyrical novel, Linda Cardillo creates a fierce, strong-willed heroine, unafraid of hard work, solitude, or the judgment of her fellow islanders. But the island itself—its storms, its forests, the sea, and a handsome, taciturn Wampanoag fisherman who shares this precious scrap of land with her—challenges her body, her soul and her heart. Like a flower in the sun, Mae blooms, opening herself to all that life has to offer.” Judith Arnold
A real page-turner
“From the opening chapter, I got hooked on the mystery of the reclusive young woman who bought a forsaken cottage and boat house on an isolated stretch of beach. Her only contact with civilization were summer boaters, fisherman, and nosy mainlanders who docked at her boathouse, now a tiny cafe serving sandwiches, pie, and lemonade. The story is a real page-turner as the woman's deeply hidden shame and guilt are slowly revealed as she reluctantly, but courageously, forms a deep friendship with another island recluse, a native Indian man whose past is also haunted by guilt and a revengeful judge. But more than an intriguing plot, The Boat House Café offers lyrical descriptions of the harsh, wild, exquisite landscape of the New England coast and sea. I started the book after supper and read far into the night until the dramatic climax where truth, love, and family loyalty finally prevailed. (One of the pleasures of this novel is that it can be read in a few hours; the author has crafted a crisp, superb story that held my unwavering attention.)” Paula A. Nowick, EdD