The Island of Always by Stephen Evans highlights both the difficulties and extraordinary unpredictable excitement that can come from loving someone who is dealing with mental illness. I was lucky to receive an ARC of this book via NetGalley, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing and Time Being Media. Nick is a brilliant attorney who had to stop practicing law when his delusional disorder caused his antics to cross the line. Lena, his ex-wife and ex-partner at their law firm, is trying her best to move on from her life with Nick but just can't seem to stay away. When Nick's latest antics get him in trouble with the Mayor, she finds herself being drawn into his world again as he faces prison or commitment to an institution.
As Lena finds herself trying to save him from both, she starts to remember all of the things that she loved about being with him. With that, comes all of the things that turned her world upside down as she tries hard to create a life with stability that she so desperately craves. Nick is unrelenting in his love for her and the two seem to keep finding their way back to one another despite Nick's delusions increasing in grandeur.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I first started reading this book. Initially I thought it was going to be a light-hearted quirky read, which it was at times. Nick is quick and witty, very much aware of how he fits into the world. But there is a deeper underlying message beneath all of Nick's idiosyncrasies. The writing almost jumps from short story to short story within this continuum of the overarching tale, which is nearly synchronous with Nick's delusions. You really feel Lena's pain as she is torn between trying to create the life she thinks she needs and the one her heart keeps desperately drawing her towards. This book illuminates the struggle of loving someone beyond comprehension and the strain that mental illness places on that relationship. Fans of A Man Called Ove will enjoy going on this journey with Nick and Lena. The Island of Always is out January 6, 2019.
Book Rating: ☕☕☕☕
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*I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley for an honest and unbiased review. All opinions are my own.