Island in the Sea is Anita Hughes' captivating sixth novel, filled with exotic descriptions of food, fashion, and romance.
Juliet Lyman is a senior executive at Yesterday Records. Music is her passion and she's very good at her job. That's why her famously philanthropic boss Gideon sends her to Majorca, Spain to work with a very tortured, but talented client. Lionel Harding is one of the best song writers of the 20th century, the multi-Grammy award-winning lyricist of the third most recorded song in history. But now he's 42 and six months overdue on the his latest paid assignment. Juliet is not leaving Majorca without either new lyrics or a very large check.
To Juliet, business comes first. Emotions are secondary, and love isn't even on the menu. But to Lionel, love is everything, and he blames Gideon for his broken heart. He's determined to show Juliet that nothing is more important than love, but Juliet is just as determined to get Lionel to create the music that made him famous. If she can sign up local talent, even better. Her new friend Gabriella has a voice like an angel, but she's not interested in fame. Her grandmother, Lydia, wants the world for Gabriella, and she wants Juliet's help to give it to her.
As her professional and personal lives start to mix for the first time, Juliet is forced to reevaluate her priorities. Gideon hasn't been totally honest, and love may be the only thing that gives them all what they need.
Hughes (Rome in Love) writes in ad-copy prose and with bland plotting in this lackluster disappointment. Juliet Lyman is a record company executive with a mission: fly out to Majorca, meet star songwriter Lionel Harding, and get him to honor his contract for a new album. In the first of many clich s, Lionel agrees to write the contracted songs if, after hearing his story of betrayed love, Juliet still thinks he should. As Lionel shares a thin tale of love riddled with repetitive and uninspiring sex scenes, Juliet explores the island and forms friendships with the locals. Characters sound like guidebooks ("You and your gentleman friend will enjoy your private terrace, the tables are set with silver candelabras and bottles of Mallorcan olive oil"), Juliet declares herself tired of eating tapas (as though it were the name of a single dish rather than a way of serving food), and Hughes rehashes the same few descriptions to the point of frustration. The story is riddled with shallow literary references and devoid of real conflict, and it lacks characters vivid enough to care about. Even readers who persist to the end will likely pass on Hughes's future offerings.