Book Club: The Enchanted Island

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Author: Ellie O’Neill
ISBN: 9781925030013
RRP: $29.99

Ellie O’Neill is back with her second modern Irish folktale and I loved it.

Maeve O’Brien is an apprentice lawyer in the independent Dublin legal firm Holmes and Friedman, she is 27 and quite the modern lass. Maeve is technologically obsessed and just as obsessed with appearances.

Life is all a little crumbly for Maeve with rumoured redundancies at work and the dust not yet settled from the biggest fight she’s ever had with her bestie, a fight that leaves her living back home with Mam.

Maeve’s boss Harry Holmes has a special job he needs done and he selects Maeve for her tenacity, and her single status that leaves her able to set off on travel commitments at the drop of a hat. Maeve isn’t given much information, just that she needs to collect the signature of a man on documents for the sale of land to build a bridge.

The bridge build is enough to excite Maeve as it reminds her of a time that she worked building sites and construction during college, the tomboy turned in her steel caps and swapped them for stilettos in her final year of college.

Since switching her steel caps for stilettos she has also found an unhealthy obsession with selfies, sometimes taking up to half an hour to capture the perfect shot (ugh who has time for that) and religiously following her likes creeping up and her social life on social media. At 27 she’s obsessed with her appearance, botox being the backbone of her bestie brawl, and drowning in debt.

Escaping Dublin couldn’t come at a better time. This little job could be the cement building block for her career and how hard could it be to get an old man’s signature.

Hy Brasil is almost a completely new world for Maeve, there are no cars, no traffic lights, no fast food and very little in the way of a social life. The best thing that can be said about her island accommodations is that they are dry. High fashion, high maintenance Maeve is being put up in a tin caravan in the middle of a muddy field, and she’s pretty sure she’s not going to like it.

the enchanted island

The Enchanted Island takes a, possibly slightly exaggerated, look at the quest for beauty and the perfect appearance, but at what cost. We see how Maeve has lost herself behind the online shopping, credit card debt, botox, designer clothes and quest for the perfect selfie. In Dublin the only time she could be seen naturally was in the dead of night. In Hy Brasil the need to primp and preen seems a little shallow, who will appreciate it – surely not the sheep.

Maeve soon discovers that there’s more to Hy Brasil than meets the eye. The simple signature is anything but, the wind howls like a banshee and the older generation are fit but far from friendly. No-one seems willing to talk about the strangeness but Maeve finds herself more and more intrigued.

Irish folklore is deftly woven into a modern tale of progress and romance. Hy Brasil is an island steeped in history, centuries of history, and the elder islanders have been a part of that history for generations.

The Enchanted Island is an authentic and enjoyable follow-up to O’Neill’s stellar debut Reluctantly Charmed. I was invested in Maeve’s journey and wanted to see where this trip would take her. The history of the island was engaging and I was always wanting to get to the bottom of the mystery, and wondering if Maeve would ever get all of the answers.

There is a strong sense of romance on The Enchanted Island, and a few different romances to follow. Maeve’s romance builds slowly until it becomes encompassing, it was believably written and drew you in until you had to know how she was going to cope because this was all so new for her.

An interesting meld of old world Irish folklore and the modern world, with progress trying to push its way in and upset the balance. It really is quite a reflection on a lot of what is happening across the world today. Definitely worth the read and I will be interested to hear what our readers have to say.

A little bit mystery, a little bit suspense, a little bit folklore and a little bit romance makes for a massive story steeped in history at the same time as modern technology.

30 of our lucky readers will also be reading The Enchanted Island so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

The Enchanted Island is book #63 for The Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.

Ellie O’Neill can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

38 thoughts on “Book Club: The Enchanted Island

  1. Hello Readers,
    Thank you so much for reading and reviewing The Enchanted Island. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed reading your comments, which thankfully are all very favorable!!! Its nerve wrecking putting a book out there, especially a second book for some unknown reason, you never know how people are going to receive it. I am thrilled that you all enjoyed your trip to Hy Brasil, and like me would love to get your hands on some of that seaweed.
    Happy reading and have a wonderful Christmas
    Ellie xx

  2. I really enjoyed this story of Maeve and her growth – so many twists and turns and an enchanted, mysterious island! It was easy to read and digest and very easy to relate to which always gets me more involved and deeper into a good book!
    I have really enjoyed this book and also Reluctantly Charmed and look forward to more great reads from the author!

    (Sorry review is late ūüôĀ )

  3. The Enchanted Island was an interesting and easy book to read. I was intrigued about the island‚Äôs secrets. It was also interesting for me to note that this was one of the first times I read a book where I was not impressed with the main character‚Äôs antics. Even though Maeve annoyed me, I was still curious to find out what would happen to her and was happy to find that she changed her ways. I also enjoyed Ellie O’Neill’s humorous writing style.

  4. I loved “The Enchanted Island from the start of the book to the finish. I would definitely recommend this book. I enjoyed Maeve’s trip to Hy Brasil to find herself. I loved her character and it kept me intrigued with the secrets of the Island.
    I would like to see a sequel to find out what happens in the life of Maeve and Killian.
    Thankyou for the opportunity to read and review ūüôā

  5. I must admit, it took me a while to get into this book. I had been sick though and hadn’t been reading. Once I got into I I found myself fascinated! There were many times I found myself laughing out loud at Maeve’s expressions and descriptions of life on the island and it’s people.

    I quickly become immersed in the characters and developed a real fondness for Killian especially. Now that I’ve finished it, I find I want to know more about Hy Brasil and these characters that Ellie brought to life!

    I’m off to seek out Reluctantly Charmed at the library and look forward to reading more of Ellie’s books in the future.

  6. I apologize for the late review due to a medical emergency

    Maeve O’Brien is a 2nd year Apprentice Solicitor a total social media junkie and a shopaholic.
    who used her best friends credit card without them knowing, she lost her apartment and had to move back in with her mother.
    Maeve is worried about being made redundant
    when she was called into Harry Holmes office she thought that this was it she was going to be fired, but to her surprise she was told he had a job for her . he needed her to go to Hy Brasil a remote island off the coast of Ireland, an old friend of his wanted to build a bridge to connect the island to the mainland her job was to get the signature of Sean Fitzpatrick an elderly resident in the hope of him selling his house so the bridge could proceed.
    Maeve was met on the island by Dan and taken to her accommodation, which turned out to be a caravan, she didn’t mind as she thought it was only short term.
    the man whose signature she needed, was being very elusive
    and most of the elderly residents were being hostile towards her and Dan. she soon realized that her assignment was not going to as simple as she though
    Maeve could not over come the feel that the residents were not being truthful about something. strange thing seem to be happening and no one would explain the elderly residents seemed to be in very good health and very strong.
    Maeve did miss the busy and hectic live in Dublin the nightlife, but the longer she stayed on the island them more she began to re evaluate what she wanted out of live and she stopped caring about her appearance.
    it is one of the better book i have read. it had suspense, myth and romance as well as a surprising finish .

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