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The Island Queen
Celia Thaxter of The Isles of Shoals

Julia Older

The Island Queen

Poetry, romance and murder combine in this novel about New England poet and writer Celia Thaxter (1835-1894). The intriguing windswept Isles of Shoals set the scene for Thaxter's stormy separation from her husband. Unfettered by the conventions of the time, Celia raises their backward son single-handedly, earns her living as a writer, and hosts a colony of artists at her island cottage.

Celebrated British novelist Charles Dickens dreams about her and best selling poet John Greenleaf Whittier shows more than a Platonic interest. Unchaperoned, they linger in her bedroom, dawdle at candlelit croquet and take long moonlit strolls on the beach.

A double axe murder at the Shoals and the hottest trial of the 19th century turn this charming story into a chilling who-done-it.

The Island Queen is featured in "Reading Group Choices."


Charles Dickens put down his wine glass. "On the Isles of Shoals, Mrs. Thaxter?"
     "Yes, the Shoals," Celia whispered, a recent habit when she talked of the islands ten miles off the New Hampshire coast.
     "Do I discern a note of homesickness?" Dickens asked, leaning toward her as if they had more in common than this brief dinner. "Tell me about them."
     Celia described the nine islands, leaving hers until last. "Longfellow and Hawthorne have been there--and Harriet Beecher Stowe," she said with a sense of pride.

* * *

     "Did you see the bodies, Mrs. Thaxter?" Ida asked.
     "Of course not!" she answered sharply, looking at the servants huddled like vultures for the sordid details.
     Ida sashayed forward. "I bet that Louis had his way with 'em first. I hear he was quite a lady's man."

The Island Queen is from a trilogy of novels that Julia Older is writing.

 Julia Older
 $12.00 (206 pp) Quality Trade Paperback
 Appledore Books, 1994; second printing, 1998
 ISBN 0962716227
 Prompt shipment
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"A fitting tribute to the Isles' famous lady with a well-written and well- researched biographical novel."
-- Jack Barnes, Maine Sunday Telegram
"Who could resist a combination of beauty, poetry, and blood, a heroine who was a woman both of and ahead of her time, a place which holds itself apart even today? This is a real tour de force."
-- Marilis Hornidge, The Courier Gazette
"Older weaves in lots of history about the Isles of Shoals. The murder trial is based on court records and newspaper accounts. A fine piece of historical fiction."
-- Connie Burns, Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance
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