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Island Apart Hardcover – June 5, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books (June 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765332388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765332387
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Rich in character, incident, and mouthwatering food. A triumphant fictional debut.”
—William Martin, New York Times bestselling author of Cape Cod and City of Dreams

“Much more than a promising first novel by a formidably talented writer; it is a literary achievement of the first order… a heartfelt, redemptive, and irresistible novel. Raichlen handles this complex tale of romance, family, illness, and dark secrets with intelligence, grace, and abiding tenderness.”

—John Dufresne, author of Requiem, Mass 


“A quirky, surprising, and poignant romance, with a wonderful voice all its own.  Readers beware: the food in this novel will leave you ravenous.”

—Barbara D'Amato, Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author of Other Eyes


“Steven Raichlen has written a magical novel about a magical place.  He deftly captures the subtleties, oddities, and beguiling charm of Martha's Vineyard and Chappaquiddick. Take this literary ferry.  You'll enjoy your stay.”

—Lucia St. Clair Robson, New York Times bestselling author of Last Train from Cuernavaca, winner of the Spur Award


“Steven Raichlen presents a kaleidoscope of personalities with insight and compassion, while reminding us that good food, prepared with love, may not heal all wounds, but it can't hurt and it often helps. A splendid beach read!”

—Mary Doria Russell, Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of Thread of Grace and Doc


“For the millions who know Steven Raichlen as the last word on barbecue, it might come as a surprise to discover that he has written a beautifully wrought, highly nuanced novel set amidst the distinctive landscape of Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts.   What won’t surprise anyone, though, is that central to the compelling narrative of Island Apart is the redemptive power of food and a mindfully prepared meal.  Claire Doheney, healing from a serious illness at a friend’s oceanfront mansion, meets an enigmatic character known locally as the Hermit, and as unlikely as it might seem to both of them, sparks begin to fly over their shared passion for cooking, and love ensues.  All of this is threatened when Claire unravels the secret of the Hermit’s strange circumstances.  Raichlen has moved deftly into the world of fiction, and I, for one, can’t wait for his next creation!”

—Mitchell Kaplan, Founder and owner of Books & Books, Florida, New York, Cayman Islands


“I didn't want to put it down.  I was so intrigued by the Hermit—couldn't wait to find out what his story was and how the relationship would develop.   I loved all of the history and island lore; I adored the food theme and scenes throughout the book.   I also love the fact that there's a lot to talk about with this book, and that makes it good fodder for book clubs.  I can't wait to have Island Apart in the store.”

—Sandy Francis, co-owner of The Bookstore in The Grove, Miami, Florida 

About the Author

STEVEN RAICHLEN is a multi-award-winning author, journalist, and television host. His twenty-nine books include the international blockbusters The Barbecue Bible, How to Grill, and the New York Times bestselling Planet Barbecue.    His books have won five James Beard Awards and have been translated into 16 languages.   Island Apart is his first novel.   A former Watson Foundation Fellow with a degree in French literature, Raichlen hosts Primal Grill and Barbecue University on PBS and the French language TV show Le Maitre du Grill.   He has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress and has appeared frequently on National Public Radio and the Today show.   He and his wife, Barbara, divide their time between Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, and Coconut Grove, Florida.

More About the Author

Steven Raichlen is a multi-award winning author, journalist, television host, and now novelist. His books include the international blockbusters The Barbecue Bible and How to Grill and the New York Times bestselling Planet Barbecue. His new novel, Island Apart, tells a story of love, loss, redemption and really good food set on Martha's Vineyard. Translated into 15 languages, Raichlen's books have won 5 James Beard Awards and 3 IACP-Julia Child Awards and have sold more than 4 million copies. Raichlen also hosts the popular TV shows, Primal Grill and Barbecue University on PBS, and a French language show called Le Maitre du Grill. He lives and writes in Coconut Grove, Florida, and on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Customer Reviews

Great Summer Beach Reading - Highly recommended!
Both Claire and the Hermit have a devotion to good food, hers of the sophisticated variety and the Hermit's of the ingredients that one can forage on the island.
Raichlen really brings the story to life with memorable characters and vivid scenery.
John W. Graham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tracy F. VINE VOICE on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you aren't a big fan of Nicholas Sparks, you're not likely going to enjoy Island Apart. Chef Steven Raichlen's debut work of fiction shares the story of Claire Doheney. Claire is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Her husband is having affairs with much younger women and has just lost his job as a professor after having sexual relations with students. When he insists that he's moving back to their shared apartment, Claire learns that she's helpless to stop him. She opts to take up her best friend's offer and becomes the live-in caretaker for her friend's house on Chappaquiddick Island. The setting is perfect for Claire's recuperation and her job as an editor.

Known by locals as "the Hermit," a stranger also lives in solitude on the island. After a freak accident brings Claire into his life, the pair soon start communication through baked and jarred goods. Soon, Claire and the Hermit fall in love. There are secrets, however, that could destroy the very foundations of their relationship.

I admit to being a sucker for the Nicholas Sparks-type tearjerker. Therefore, there was a lot I loved in Island Apart. There were also things I didn't feel fit perfectly, hence why I can't say it's the "perfect read." A large portion of the story focuses on the foods Claire and the Hermit make. There's also a lot of focus on the book Claire is currently editing, a biography about Wilhelm Reich. I understand the importance of that part of the novel, but I can't say I liked it.

The romance was the key focus for me. Claire and the Hermit both harbor wounds and watching them overcome past pain was exactly what this romantic at heart loved. All in all, I'm pretty impressed with Raichlen's debut.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By PT Cruiser TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book was was what great summer novels are made of: family, friendship, illness, love story, lots of incredible food, mystery, and an interesting setting on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. The characters were likeable, especially Claire and "The Hermit". It was the kind of story that reels you in right away and puts you on Chappaquiddick, in Sheila's luxurious summer home or exploring the towns on the island. I wasn't surprised to learn that the author, Steven Raichlen has written many award winning cookbooks including Planet Barbecue!: 309 Recipes, 60 Countries, The Barbecue! Bible and How to Grill: The Complete Illustrated Book of Barbecue Techniques. His descriptions within the story of some of the wonderful food common to the area are mouth watering. More than once I was tempted to make a little run up to the grocery store for ingredients for a late night snack suggested by this book.

Parts of the story were a little predictable, other parts took some surprising turns. All were endearing in the way that makes this the perfect summer novel. I'm glad to see that Steven Raichlen is venturing into novels along with his wonderful cookbooks. I hope this is only the first of many more to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grandma TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Day before yesterday I received two books by Guru of the Grill, Steven Raichlen. One was a Kindle, Raichlen's Burgers, twenty-five or so great burger recipes just in time for the summer holidays. The other, Island Apart, arrived in the mail. Surprisingly, while food is certainly central to the story, there isn't a single recipe!

Instead, Island Apart is a story of love, loss, and life changing events, of a woman come to live until she dies, a Hermit come to hide and a young woman angry at the world. I could tell you the story - or bits of it at least - but that would ruin it.

A gentle yet moving story that foodies and romantics both will enjoy! Great Summer Beach Reading - Highly recommended!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Griffith VINE VOICE on June 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
***this review is of an uncorrected advance reading (prepublication)copy***

Few romance novels are written by men, and not since Nicholas Sparks' first few books have I found a storyline in this genre so engaging. It probably helps that I'm a food writer and a "foodie" who lives in a small, ecclectic coastal town in California. One of our neighbors is similar to the Hermit in Rachlen's 'Island Apart'... right down to animal bones in what should be a front yard.

Like a few other reviewers, I found the first few chapters slow going, and in the prepublication copy at least, pages and pages of information about Wilhelm Reich felt tedious. In fact, as the relationship between the Hermit and Claire developed--drawing me in to their stories--I found myself skimming past details of the controversial, deceased psychiatrist. It just didn't move the tale along in this reader's opinion. Apart from that, I found the novel engaging.

If you love to cook, you'll appreciate the segments of storyline focussed on food and culinary improvisation. If you enjoy novels that take place in small towns or by the shore, it will resonate with you as well. The main characters are likeable, believably complex, and you'll find yourself rooting for them as they--in equal turns--deal with personal challenges. The story rings true in many (if not all) ways. I started reading late yesterday afternoon, and finished the book at midnight. It's an easy, entertaining summer read.

One slight criticism is how very much alcohol Claire consumes while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. That's a big no-no and really doesn't ring true for a character who's willing to spend $20 for a free-range chicken and only purchases organically grown produce.
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