My rating: 5 of 5 stars
On San Miguel, the outermost California Channel Island, two different families in two different time periods struggle to make their living raising sheep on this windswept bit of land surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. The book begins in the 1880s and ends with WWII; both stories are fiction based on actual people who lived on San Miguel. Boyle captures the beauty, isolation, despair, and strange tranquility of such a solitary life, dramatically bringing to life the strong women at the heart of each story, as well as the island itself, a fully realized character in its own right. I was spellbound by this book and couldn’t put it down. My favorite reading experience of 2012.