A young woman, devastated by the loss of her husband and unborn child, relocates to a remote island where the local culture helps her learn to live again.
Gerler (Lessons I Learned from Nick Nack, 2014, etc.) introduces the story’s heroine, Ally Albright, after she has hit rock bottom. Ally mourns her husband and baby, who were killed when the family car was struck by a drunk driver. Emotionally ravaged and teetering on the edge of a psychotic breakdown, Ally has lost the will to live. She has abandoned her career as a teacher and spends her days closeted in her childhood bedroom. Her concerned parents, who have been nursing her through her grief, can’t figure out how to rouse her from her misery. Then one day, everything changes. A former professor contacts Ally, requesting that she help a struggling school. Located on a remote island off the coast of North Carolina, Pelican Isle Elementary is desperate for a first-grade teacher. Ally’s professor, Dr. Betsy Brown, persuades her to fill in temporarily, until a permanent replacement can be found. Within a matter of days on the island, Ally’s life, as well as her outlook, begins to evolve. Although school supplies and state funding are sorely lacking at Pelican Isle Elementary, enthusiasm for education and community spirit are present in abundance. As the Pelican Isle residents embrace Ally, she begins to find new purpose. When a local woman comes to her for help with a heart-wrenching conundrum, Ally begins to realize just how much Pelican Isle means to her. The fast-paced narrative style offers a host of plot twists and unexpected developments for the denizens of sleepy Pelican Isle that should keep readers eagerly turning pages. Gerler’s writing is replete with compassion and grace as she addresses issues of poverty, nationality, loss, and love that arise on this small island. At one point, Ally reads a volume of sonnets, a Christmas gift from a Pelican Isle denizen: “The cadence of the lines felt lovely as I spoke the words, so soft and tender. The poems were of love, and they touched my heart. Maybe I’d just never given sonnets a chance.” With finesse and wit, the author depicts the power of kindness in healing the human heart.
A wholesome and uplifting tale of rediscovered hope, love, and second chances, perfect for fans of breezy, beachy fiction.