THE ISLAND OF GHOSTS by Eilis Dillon

THE ISLAND OF GHOSTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From an author who has been publishing novels, many of them set in her native Ireland, for 25 years (The Seekers, 1986), a smoothly written kidnapping/Robinson Crusoe story. A reclusive American engineer, George Webb, lives on the island of Inishglass. He volunteers to tutor two bright local boys--narrator Dara and his friend Brendan--with the result that both are offered scholarships in nearby Galway. But Webb has a secret plan: on the eve of their departure, he tricks the boys into helping him move to the Island of Ghosts, where he traps them into remaining to help him set up their own small community--leaving their families, who are sure they've drowned, to grieve. After six months, the boys' sisters, believing that they must be on the island that the supersititious local people refuse to visit, make a heroic, successful rescue effort. Dillon draws her Irish types well enough to make even the less plausible details of her plot almost believable (e.g., the disliked, alcoholic schoolmaster who gives the girls dry land lessons in sailing theory and then loans them his boat without accompanying them). There is much to appeal here: veritable ghosts, finally at peace when their bones are buried in holy ground; a bit of romance between Dara and Brendan's sister and vice versa; Dara's continuing affection for his mad mentor, despite his outrageously highhanded behaviour. An unusual, entertaining yarn.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1989
Page count: 151pp
Publisher: Scribners