Publication Date: January 16, 2013
Formats: eBook, Paperback
A forbidden friendship that blossoms into love is at the heart of this colorful historical novel.
Abigail Maduro arrives in the Danish West Indies on 1916 to live with her Aunt Esther, a bad tempered spinster, and her houseful of eccentric servants. Despite the island’s veneer of tranquility, St. Thomas is a hotbed of German spies who use their Hamburg-America steamers to aid the Kaiser’s war effort.
When a mysterious stranger suddenly appears in town, Abigail is drawn into the conflict. In the scholarly Erich Seibold, she finds the friendship and love she has been craving, even after she learns that Erich is really a deserter from a German U-boat. But their idyllic interlude comes to a crashing halt when the island’s German consul also discovers Erich’s identity, and blackmails him into committing sabotage. After a melee involving the Danish governor, Erich is thrown into prison, forcing Abigail to risk everything to save him. Action and adventure abound in this colorful historical novel that brings to life a fading West Indian sugar colony in the last days of Danish rule.
Praise for Spy Island
“Spy Island is an exciting adventure that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I love being immersed in the world of the Caribbean during World War I, I felt like I was looking into a snapshot of the past. This book is full of adventure, exciting twists, just when I thought I had the plot figured out, it would change again. The descriptions, the characters, and the plot of this story all weave together into a tight package of fun that you do not want to miss.” The Howling Turtle Book Reviews
“Spy Island is a fun, fast read for any fan of historical fiction and adventure stories.” Lynne Hinkey, author of Marina Melee
“Spy Island hits that rare spot for me in historical fiction. Not only is it an entertaining story with lots of movement, but the authentic islandfeel and early 20th century world surround you. A great read!” Dianna Rostad, Amazon Reviewer
“From the first page, I was instantly thrown into Abby’s world and truly taken aback by the lovely descriptions ranging from those of Panama to those of life at sea to those of the Danish West Indies. Sophie really managed to make me feel like I was right there with the characters in this one and it added a lot to my enjoyment of the book. Spy Island is a thrilling and fast paced novel perfect for fans of historical fiction and mystery.” Lauren’s Crammed Bookshelf Blog
Buy the Book
Abigail Maduro lives a carefree life in Panama in 1916, she is the 16 year-old daughter of a wealthy merchant. That is, until her parents die in a tragic accident and her family lawyer leaves her with nothing to her name. Abigail is shipped off to St. Thomas, where her Aunt Esther has reluctantly agreed to take her in. Abigail immediately finds trouble upon the boat to St. Thomas and begins to search for German spies aboard. The trouble follows Abigail when she gets to St. Thomas. Not only is her Aunt Esther spiteful and abusive, but Abigail finds a German U-boat deserter to hide in her basement. Luckily, Abigail has the help of Aunt Esther's staff, Nana Jane.
Filled with spy intrigue from the beginning , the plot of Spy Island kept me interested throughout. Abigail's character was a little hard for me to attach to and in the beginning of the book she seems much younger than her sixteen years. However, this is also a coming-of-age story and Abigail does grow throughout. This quote describes Abigail's character perfectly: " The truth is, when adventure calls, I race out and greet her. Can I help it if I always forget to bring along my parasol?" I was glad that Abigail found Erich, even though her decisions seemed ignorant at the time, Erich's character and backstory shone through and provided for scheming and conspiracy. I enjoyed learning about Danish West Indies during this time period, before they were part of the USA. The history and setting was well researched and brought to life. One thing that I wish was better in this one was the dialogue, something just did not seem natural about it, and at more than 300 pages this can become something difficult to overlook.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
Sophie Schiller was born in Paterson, NJ and grew up in the West Indies amid aging pirates and retired German spies. She was educated at American University, Washington, DC and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.
You can find more information on Sophie Schiller and her novels at website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.
Suddenly, a posse of machete-wielding men appears out of nowhere. They offer to find the shooter and bring him to justice. My heart races as I catch the glimmer of the razor-sharp machetes in their muscular, outstretched arms. These men are after Erich and there’s no way to stop them.
I push my way through the crowd, attempting to flee to the safety of the Grand Hotel. All around me scuffles and brawls erupt among the outraged horde, while panicked faces emerge from windows and doorways, each one trying to make sense out of the confusion and strife. I crane my neck over the commotion, hoping to catch sight of the governor. Thankfully, he is still alive, although dazed with confusion. Two policemen haul him to his feet and lead him to the safety of Fort Christian. Still no sign of Erich anywhere. If Erich was indeed was the shooter, he has simply vanished.
Just then, someone screams, “There he is. Grab him!”
I look up. A dozen natives, all brandishing machetes, take off in hot pursuit of a solitary individual who resembles one of the Cha Cha’s from Frenchtown who is pushing his way across the square in horror. Making out his features is impossible as he has a scarf tied around half his face, rendering him unrecognizable. But by his size and height, I am pretty sure it is Erich. I yell for him to run faster, but my voice is drowned out by the deafening roar of the crowd.
Erich scales a low wall and races down the nearest alleyway with a posse of men in hot pursuit. His pursuers shake their fists indignantly, swearing and yelling out threats as they attempt to catch him. Somehow Erich is faster, remarkably agile and adept at outrunning an angry mob, but I know his life is in great danger. With no thought to my own safety, I chase after the posse, hoping I can somehow help to avert disaster.
Erich races down Norre Gade as if he’s on fire. He climbs up the steps of the Frederick Lutheran Church two at a time. When some of the men catch up with him, he swings around, kicking one in the chest and sending them all toppling backwards like a line of dominoes. Another one catches up with Erich, but receives a blinding punch in the face that sends him rolling down the steps like a broken wheel. Erich shakes his fist, then disappears inside the church, barring the door shut.
Another group of indignant citizens reaches the front door of the church and pounds on it with tremendous anger. They lunge at it, trying to push it open. All their force is no use; Erich has barred it from the inside with an iron rod. Amazingly, while they fumble with the front door, Erich slips out the back with the stealth of a mongoose and heads to the back of town.
I catch sight of him as he races down Kongens Gade, dodging bewildered donkey carts and flustered market women as he runs for his life. Just then, a thought occurs to me that by going through with Lothar Langsdorff’s diabolical plan, Erich has sacrificed his own life to save mine. My heart swells with love for him. Fueled by the hope that I can repay the favor, I follow the trail of angry natives intent on bringing justice down on Erich’s head, yet realizing I may never see him again.