27 Nov 2012



Groomed for greatness, 15-year-old Jacob Hawthorne is sent to boarding school against his will. With a self-absorbed mother, an estranged father, and an older brother on the other side of the world, only the unlikely friendship with his grandfather can lure Jacob back home. But home feels like a distant memory from the shore of Raker Island, the isolated campus of one of the Northeast's elite boarding schools.

As the surrogate bonds of a cloistered all-boys school fall into place, Jacob finds himself among other sons of privilege who suffer the same affliction - growing up in their fathers' shadow. But when tragedy strikes, Jacob is forced to journey into the past to reclaim a well-guarded family secret.
..... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): The thunder came early that day.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 138): The gruff, hawk-eyed woman who had been roused from bed by her drunken son discharging a firearm in attempt to murder the family pets transformed herself into the most prim-and-proper mother anyone could have hoped for.

MY THOUGHTS: A bit like the waters surrounding The Keeper Of Dawn's Raker Island, though you could feel the undercurrent becoming ever stronger and stormy, on the surface all was relatively calm until, sometimes expected, sometimes not, there was a crescendo of activity.

A well written, insightful and emotionally charged debut novel, somehow all the more remarkable for, almost without exception, its characters are male. This is a book about people and relationships though in many ways I would also describe it as a mystery as whilst something momentous was hinted at almost from the beginning the reader was kept in suspense as to just what this might be until the end.

In my opinion slightly stronger on characterisation than plot, it is Jacob and, in particular, Chris, who make this book what it is. Amazing how the author, though obviously one himself at some point, manages to capture what it is to be a teenage boy, to be an adolescent with an essentially cold and distant father, J.B. Hickman has a real talent for storytelling.

DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of the author, I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.


fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

This book sounds as though it has great promise, for a debut novel.

Coming from a military background, the concept of sending children away to boarding school, is one with which I am all too familiar.

Totally unconnected, I also now work in a military town, which has a private boarding school, where the majority of its students come from overseas.

Living in the shadow of a distant parent, probably sums up exactly, the experience for most of the children and whilst said parents would probably describe the experience for their offspring as 'character building', I think that having a close relationship with one's family, is probably 100% more advantageous and rewarding!

This is a definite for my reading list, thanks for the good review and recommendation.


Arti said...

Looks like a good read. The plot seems interesting and as you have mentioned, the characterisation is also fabulous. Will look out for the book :)
Have a lovely day Tracy :)

GMR said...

Oh! I have this one in my upcoming TBR pile! Sounds like a winner...will have to wait and see for my own personal verdict. Thanks for sharing (but not OVER sharing). ^_^

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I do like a good character driven book from time to time. Might give this one a try.

Melanie said...

Mostly male characters? That reminds me of Ernest Hemingway's books.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

This sounds like a good read! This debut novel has a lot going for it. Great review!