Verdict: DAUFUSKIE ISLAND is a simplistic, historical tale for every reader who still wants to believe that anything is possible.
Though DAUFUSKIE ISLAND is billed as ‘Historical Fiction,’ it is an ideal read for all ‘Young Adult’ lovers out there, as well. With notes of both mystery and sci-fi peppered throughout, this novel follows the St. John family as they uncover centuries-old magic that threatens to alter their lives forever.
When Evan St. John is forced to travel to the mainland on the brink of a hurricane, he leaves his loving wife, Caris, to care for their three, rambunctious children. After a somewhat unsurprising setup, the family discovers an ancient treasure chest that binds the rest of plot together. What follows is a cross between the ‘National Treasure’ franchise and ‘Back to the Future’ (on island time, of course), as the St. John family discovers the secrets of Daufuskie’s past.
In the beginning paragraphs, you’ll wonder if perhaps you’ve accidentally picked up a travel brochure in lieu of a novel. That’s because John Lueder paints such a pristine picture of the tranquil, exclusive beach community in a way that only a true aficionado can. But rest assured that by the end of the Introduction, DAUFUSKIE ISLAND will leave readers feeling anything but relaxed.
The major complaint with the novel is that the writing, at times, appears somewhat simplistic. Some of the dialogue borders on the line of unauthentic, but the story is genuinely engaging enough otherwise that this is quickly forgiven. Similarly, the story is chock full of historical anecdotes that, sometimes, go unnecessarily deep. Thankfully, these instances only minimally interrupt the flow.
While the story is told mostly from an adult P.O.V., it is both intriguing and approachable enough to draw in adult history buffs and adolescent magic lovers alike. It has everything a commercial fiction reader would enjoy – history, a little bit of magic and even a friendly monk that assists the St. John family on their quest.
If nothing else, DAUFUSKIE ISLAND will make readers want to go on a treasure hunt in paradise. It also reminds us that, even though we’re all technically adults, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t believe in magic.
~Shayna Gunn for IndieReader