Looking for a fresh summer read that will transport you to another time and tropical place?

Today’s featured book is about life on and off of the Galapagos Islands in the build-up to Word War II. And bonus – it’s sort of, kind of based on a true story.



Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and choose to buy something, it won’t cost you anything, but I’ll get an itsy bitsy commission as a thank you for sharing something cool with you.


Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend island book beach reads


The book: Enchanted Islands

Written by: Allison Amend

Originally published: 2016


Frances and Ainslie Conway are real people who the author, after reading accounts of their somewhat mysterious time spent in the Galapagos Islands prior to World War II, was inspired to write this novel about. Though most of the story is entirely speculative, the time period and setting are well-researched and feel true to life.

Though this book doesn’t spend its entirety set in the tropics, the aspects of island living that it covers – the decision to move to an island, setting up a life with less on a rock, moving off an island and missing it terribly – will be incredibly relatable to all of you island souls who follow Women Who Live on Rocks.

I’ve included a couple of great island life quotes from the book below.


Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend book quotes novel beach reads


Born to immigrant parents in Minnesota just before the turn of the century, Frances Frankowski grew up coveting the life of her best friend, Rosalie Mendel. And yet, decades later, when the women reconnect in San Francisco, their lives have diverged. Rosalie is a housewife and mother, while Frances works for the Office of Naval Intelligence and has just been given a top-secret assignment: marry handsome spy Ainslie Conway and move to the Galápagos Islands to investigate the Germans living there in the build-up to World War II. 

Amid active volcanoes, forbidding wildlife and flora, and unfriendly neighbors, Ainslie and Frances carve out a life for themselves. But the secrets they harbor—from their friends, from their enemies, and even from each other—may be their undoing.via Amazon


Readers who will love this book:


Readers who judge books by their covers. Let’s be real – we all do it. The title and cover are often what first attract us to a book and this one has it all going on. From the moment I spotted it in a bookstore, I knew I’d be taking it with me. The artful cover delighted my coffee table with its tropical blooms and birds, so much so that I had a hard time filing it away on my bookshelf once I’d finished it.

Readers who enjoy books centered around enduring female friendships. While this book is about many things – an arranged marriage, life on an isolated island, spies and World War II – at its core, it’s a novel about two women and their lifelong friendship. I adored following Frances and Rosalie over the years and was particularly charmed by them as old ladies together.

Readers who dream of going back in time and living on their very own deserted island. Frances and her husband, Ainslie, were two of only a few humans who lived on the islands of Santiago and Floreana in the Galapagos Islands in the late ’30s – ’40s. Those of us residing on rocks now often complain about the challenges of living so remotely, but we’ve got nothing on their level of inaccessibility. As frustrating as it sounds to set up camp in the tropics with no running water or electricity, it also made me feel a bit envious of the adventure of it all – to move to an island you know nothing about and to explore it with fresh eyes, before your fellow humans have developed it in any way.


Enchanted Islands book quote by Allison Amend beach reads novel



Have you picked up Enchanted Islands yet?


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If you’ve read the featured book too, be sure to leave a comment below or on our Facebook page – we can chat about it and it’ll be like our own island-style book club!


Looking for more Island Reads? Here are some others I’ve covered for you to check out:

An Embarrassment of Mangoes

Don’t Stop the Carnival

Here Comes the Sun


Life on a Rock

Winter in Paradise

A Trip to the Beach

Live Fit Kitchen



If you’re a fellow island reader and would like to connect on all things books, you can find me on Goodreads. I even have a shelf of island-related books, which I plan to cover in future posts like this one.

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Virgin Gorda, BVI

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:


Chrissann’s home rock in the British Virgin Islands feels bigger to her than it actually is. Though after spending five years on a teensy one acre island, the current 13-mile long rock she’s residing on now IS ginormous, at least by comparison. As with everything in the tropics, it’s all about perspective.

Once upon a time she used to care about things like matching her purse to her pumps but these days, any activities that require a bra and shoes go under careful, is-this-even-worth-it consideration. If island life has taught her anything at all, it’s that few things are more rewarding than time spent in the pool with a cocktail in hand.

As the Editor in Chief of this site, she spends her days working from home with her blue-eyed sidekick, Island Dog Diego, writing, editing, and cultivating content in the hopes of bringing some laughter and lightness to her fellow island souls. She recently published her first children’s book, When You’re a Baby Who Lives on a Rock, and is pretty pumped to share it with all of the island mamas out there. Her days off are typically spent boating, hiking, and meeting up with the neighborhood’s imperious roadside goats, who she shamelessly bribes into friendship. While normalcy was never listed as one of her special skills, Caribbean life may indeed be responsible for new levels of madness. She attributes at least a smidge of her insanity to the amount of time she spends talking to drunk people.

If you’re somehow still reading this and feel inclined to find out more about this “Chrissann” of which we speak, you can also take a gander at her eponymous website or follow her daily escapades on Instagram @womanonarock.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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