The Children’s Book Review | March 4, 2019
Written by Catherine Doyle
Age Range: 8-12 years
Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (January 22, 2019)
What to expect: Fantasy, Magic, and Courage
Fionn Boyle is not excited about his upcoming summer on Arranmore Island. He is not excited to leave his mother in Dublin battling illness; he is not excited to be stuck in his eccentric grandfather Malachy’s tiny cottage; he is not excited to share a bedroom with his annoying older sister Tara; and he is certainly not excited to ride a ferry across the same ocean that claimed the life of his courageous father before Fionn was born. Fionn’s unease only grows when he senses the powerful magic of Arranmore from the moment of his arrival, but no one had taken the time to warn him.
Fionn’s grandfather is a candlemaker whose creations line shelves on every wall of his cottage. Fionn inadvertently discovers that lighting these candles transports the holder back in time, and he begins a cautious quest to unlock the power of Arranmore. He ultimately discovers that his grandfather is the “Storm Keeper” who was chosen many years ago to protect the Island from evil forces buried deep within its ancient history. However, Malachy’s time is drawing to a close, and a new Storm Keeper must be chosen. This sparks a rivalry among the families on the Island. Once Fionn begins to grasp that the future of the Island and his own family is at stake, he emerges with bravery and purpose that he never knew he possessed.
Catherine Doyle has created a magical story that will delight young readers looking for a fresh fantasy. Fionn is an inspiring character that middle-grade readers can relate to, especially those who are beginning to realize their own insecurities and who dream of having more courage. In addition, the detailed world Doyle creates is just as much a part of the story as the characters themselves. Her vivid descriptions of Arranmore, which is inspired by the real-life island where her ancestors lived, prove Fionn’s belief that “places can be just as important as people[, and] can have the same power over you if you let them.”
About the Author
Catherine Doyle grew up beside the Atlantic Ocean in the west of Ireland. Her love of reading began with great Irish myths and legends, and fostered in her an ambition to one day write her own. The Storm Keeper’s Island is her debut middle-grade novel and was inspired by her real-life ancestral home of Arranmore Island (where her grandparents grew up), and the adventures of her many sea-faring ancestors. After living in Dublin City for two years, Catherine is now based in Galway but spends a lot of her time in the US and London.
The Storm Keeper’s Island, written by Catherine Doyle, was reviewed by Amy Aiken. Discover more books like The Storm Keeper’s Island by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with Courage, Fantasy, Magic, and Middle Grade Books.