The story of an independent American woman whose path takes her far from her native Minnesota when she and her husband, an undercover intelligence officer, are sent to the Galápagos Islands at the brink of World War II.
Allison Amend’s Enchanted Islands is as bewitching as the title suggests; [a] lush and captivating tale of friendship, marriage, and espionage ... Amend’s writing is spellbinding, and her characters are complicated and richly conceived ... Amend’s characterization of the protagonist feels as rich and vibrant as her descriptions of the island. It is worth mentioning here, too, that female protagonists over 35 are rare in contemporary fiction, especially women over 35 whose lives have purpose beyond stereotypes or saccharine conclusions.
This isn’t yet another novel about a woman 'finding herself' in the wild; it’s an endearing chronicle of female friendship and evolution in the early 20th century...Amend displays her talent for making solitary humans the most alluring animals among blue-footed boobies, great frigatebirds and the rest of Darwin’s magnificent crew. On an island bursting with nature’s most remarkable creatures, humanity’s depthless capacity for loneliness crows most keenly.
Enchanted Islands is a many faceted jewel. It's a spy thriller, a survivalist memoir and a portrait of a marriage. It's a story of female friendships — Frances' on-again, off-again relationships with Rosalie and Elke — as well as a fascinating travelogue most likely made more realistic by Amend's travels to the islands. The novel is also a window into what it was like to be Jewish in America in the early 20th century...A great summer read, a fabulous story for all seasons, Enchanted Islands will carry you away.