Lucy is a young woman with a difficult past, but she loves her job as a teacher's aide. When a seven-year-old student loses his parents, they grow close and she would like to adopt him but doesn't feel her life is stable enough. She is thrilled when her favorite childhood author emerges from seclusion with a new novel. Then he announces that four select readers--including Lucy--will join him on his private island to compete for the only copy. This would be her chance to sell the book and get the stability she needs to adopt Christopher--if she can beat out the other determined competitors, and outsmart the gamemaster.
Shaffer freely admits to being inspired by Willy Wonka, and the magical feeling of that book is here--minus the creepy candyman, Oompa Loompas, and sadism. This is a love letter to books and the ways they save us, as both adults and children. You'll definitely need to suspend your disbelief a bit, but once you do, the whimsy here is irresistible.
This post may include affiliate links. That means if you click and make a purchase, I may earn a small commission. Please see Disclosures for more information.
Make a wish. . . .
Lucy Hart knows better than anyone what it’s like to grow up without parents who loved her. In a childhood marked by neglect and loneliness, Lucy found her solace in books, namely the Clock Island series by Jack Masterson. Now a twenty-six-year-old teacher’s aide, she is able to share her love of reading with bright, young students, especially seven-year-old Christopher Lamb, left orphaned after the tragic death of his parents. Lucy would give anything to adopt Christopher, but even the idea of becoming a family seems like an impossible dream without proper funds and stability.
But be careful what you wish for. . . .
Just when Lucy is about to give up, Jack Masterson announces he’s finally written a new book. Even better, he’s holding a contest on his private island where four hand-picked readers will compete to win the only copy. At age thirteen, Lucy fled her unhappy home and showed up on Jack Masterson’s doorstep, hoping to live with her favorite author. Thirteen years later, a sky-blue envelope arrives with Lucy’s name on it, postmarked “Clock Island.”
For Lucy, a chance to read the first Clock Island book in years is a prize worth fighting for, but the possibility of winning, selling the manuscript, and securing a better future for her and Christopher means everything.
But first, Lucy must contend with ruthless book collectors, wily opponents, and the distractingly handsome (and grumpy) Hugo Reese, illustrator of the Clock Island books and Jack’s only friend. Meanwhile, Jack “the Mastermind” Masterson is plotting the ultimate twist ending that could change all their lives forever.
. . . You might just get it.