‘The Islanders’ book reading at Island Bound

Thu, 07/11/2019 - 4:30pm

The first thing Meg Mitchell Moore is asked about her new book, “The Islanders,” which takes place on Block Island, is whether anyone who lives here would recognize themselves as one of the characters.

After a burst of laughter, Moore says, “No, not at all. I’m not even local. I don’t even know that many people there.”

One mystery, about a book of many mysteries, cleared up.

There will be an opportunity to ask Moore many other questions about the book at a reading and signing scheduled at Island Bound Bookstore on Saturday, July 13 at 4:30 p.m.

The illustration on the front cover dust jacket of “The Islanders” depicts a young woman looking through a pair of binoculars out at the water. What is she looking at? Perhaps a ferry coming into Old Harbor.

“On the top deck of the ferry from Point Judith to Block Island Anthony Puckett watched a group of bachelorettes drinking from plastic tumblers. They wore identical skintight tank tops — white, of course, bachelorettes always wore white — that depicted a pair of cowboy boots with the words Ride ‘Em Cowgirls and Jennie’s Last Rodeo below.”

So begins the story, which Moore has packed with details about island life, all threaded through the lives of three strangers who converge on the island one summer, all of whom carry secrets and regrets.

Writing the book took a year-and-a-half. After she decided Block Island would be the setting for this, her fifth novel, Moore set out to do some research, first with a quick visit at Christmas, and then for a longer visit in March “to get a sense of the geography, and tie in details.” Moore understood she had to get the details correct. When the book was in the copyediting stages, her editor would circle back to “make sure an address was correct” or whether or not there was an actual thing called a purple flag day. (There is.)

Other than these little details, it would be unfair to spoil the surprises that await the reader in “The Islanders,” other than to say that while some of the mysteries that unfold within may be dark, the setting in which they are exposed is a bright and vibrant summertime Block Island.

Moore’s reaction to the island also serves as a succinct review of her book, “It was just wonderful.”