Island Bluffs Testimonials:
"Island bluffs is a summer must read. The twists and turns are sure to keep the reader surprised, educated and curious! It is filled with fantasy and dark truths that pull this novel to the top of the heap. What could be better than a thought provoking, history soaked and at the same time, whimsical book! I really enjoyed it." -- Jayne Gumpel
4.5 Stars for this original novel!
When this book was presented to me for review, I found the description interesting, but I wasn't intrigued, in fact , I almost felt like the description summarized the book in too much detail and didn't leave any surprises, I was wrong.
Gabe and Carly desperately want a child together, but after many failures, they find themselves at the mercy of a doctor, who agrees to help (and does indeed help) but with a few very strange conditions. Gabe's teenage daughter, Megan, just wants her dead mother back, something she simply cannot have. Gabe's father, Yehuda, doesn't want to leave his longtime home in NYC, but also realizes his years are numbered and he wants to spend what time he has left living with his family.
One of the strange conditions from the eccentric fertility doctor is that the Berk family move within twenty or thirty minutes of the fertility clinic before Carly's last trimester begins. This means finding a home, uprooting an emotional teenage daughter from her friends and school and moving an old man away from the home he's known most of his life. When Gabe comes across an old abandoned house on a bluff overlooking the ocean, he's drawn to it, even though the amount of work needed to make it livable will put his family into even more turmoil. The house is full of ghosts, literally and figuratively, and those ghosts are tied to the town of Island Bluffs in ways that the family couldn't even imagine. To make things worse, the eccentric doctor's additional condition was to have Carly carry two babies, one her own, the other to be given to the doctor at birth, no questions asked.
The story is strange, the writing style eclectic to the point that you feel like you're reading multiple stories at once, then suddenly they converge and just as suddenly they separate again. At points, I felt like I knew where things were going and the story slowed down a bit, then the author throws in a new twist and you're intrigued all over again. I enjoy stories that haunt me when I'm not reading them, this was definitely one of them, each time I put the book down I wanted to pick it right back up again. This story was very well written and the plot was one of the most original plots I've had the pleasure of experiencing in a long time.
This book was provided to me for free for an honest and unbiased review (see all our reviews at http://www.bookexplosions.com/ or on Goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/131875-book-explosions) -- Margaret Millmore (from Book Explosions)
Just finished Island bluffs, a terrific read!! Bravo, finally a writer who knows how to end a book! Too many give you 400 pages of story and 2 pages of ending. Keep it up, a follow up book to follow? -- Hana Ho, encore in Hawaiian Aloha Ken
Let me start by saying I expected Island Bluffs to be an okay book with some intrigue and an interesting premise. I did not get what I expected at all. It was full of so many different mysteries, issues addressed, wild rides and "oh my gosh" moments. It is really hard to even begin to explain what this book is about. I was totally shocked by how many different sensitive issues were brought up and explored in this novel. Where I expected some form of evil or scary presences, I got a blast of smack in the face moments over and over again. It really defies words. Just hang on to your hat when you read this entrancing tome.
Island Bluffs has everything, seriously everything. A desperate couple trying everything to have a baby, teenage angst, history (both real and imagined), ghosts, lost love, intolerance, science and science fiction, family relationships, love, hate, anger, forgiveness. Seriously you cannot even begin to believe all the secrets this small town is harboring. Carly Mason and her husband Gabe Berk (Berkowitz) learn of a magic man that runs a clinic near the Jersey shore who can guarantee a pregnancy for the couple. Dr. Isadore Teplitsky (the baby maker) has a few bizarre requirements however. The couple must live near the clinic when Carly is near delivery date and the oddest requirement, she has to carry a surrogate child for the doctor as well as her own. The family moves into an abandoned home on the water front, the home of Gabe's dreams and a home the town inadvertently forgot. They bring along Gabe's troubled teenager daughter Megan, from his first marriage (his first wife passed away). Also along for the move is Gabe's elderly father Yehuda Berkowitz who is a survivor of the Holocaust. They are not met by the welcome wagon.
Not only does the house itself hold secrets from World War II, but the townsfolk seem to be stuck in a time when the German Bund was prevalent in the area. Things are not what they seem. Strange discoveries occur in the home and thanks to Carly's forensic knowledge some answers are eventually found. The way author Alan A. Winter ties and intertwines each story is true mastery. The characters are so full of life and their relationships are heartfelt. Every detail is needed and is in this book and each brings another snippet of this storyline or that or all of them to light. The suspense is thrilling. The emotions are raw and intense. Winter has woven an incredible story the likes of which I have not had the pleasure to read before.
I cannot begin to explain the different facets this jewel of a book has without giving away more of the mystery. It was such a true pleasure to get pulled in more and more after reading each page, I would hate to deprive the reader of that same gift. Island Bluffs was a treat to read. I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys a deep and intense novel that touches the heart, the mind and your morals. Alan A. Winter has written a book that makes the reader think, feel, cringe, scream and so much more. The mysteries keep coming and twisting and turning in this book. Hang on for a wild ride, even if it starts slow, do not be fooled. It will come to life with a vengeance and surprises lurk around each corner and page. -- Review by Mary Brown, "Open Book Society"