Whether you’re on St Croix or not, summer is the time of year to grab your sunglasses, a cooler, your beach chair and a good book. Here is our Top 10 List of Summer Beach Reads that are about or inspired by St Croix and the Virgin Islands. Enjoy!
From the New York Times Bestselling Author of Adrift on St. John and the Cats and Curios Mysteries comes a chilling new tale of mayhem in the Virgin Islands…
For tourists, the idyllic island of St. Croix is a perfect escape from the world. For Charlie Baker, it’s a trap. He hasn’t set foot on the island since his life fell apart there ten years ago. But now his ex-wife is luring him back with the promise of a family reunion—a promise she keeps breaking.
He always knew Mira was a little crazy, but returning one last time—determined to see his children no matter what—he’s about to discover just how crazy she is. And with a mysterious figure lurking in the shadows who could be the source of the terrifying Goat Foot Woman legend, he will also learn what dark fate the island has in store for him.
The first novel in The Reach Series – A Broad Reach tells the story of Paul Armstrong. Staggered by the back-to-back fatalities of both his high-flying development company and his marriage, he picks up the pieces of his broken life and sets his course through the dusty mountain trails of Washington’s Pasayten Wilderness to a small island in the Caribbean. Can a corporate hotshot throw in the towel and be happy playing guitar at a beach bar? Knocked down once, will Paul be ready for love this time around? Flush with great characters, laugh-out-loud humor and unexpected twists and turns, Paul’s story reminds the reader that it’s never too late to shake things up and start over. Everything always works out in the end. If it hasn’t worked out . . . then it’s not the end.
A Close Reach (The Reach Series) (Volume 2)
The second novel in The Reach Series – A Close Reach picks up during Paul Armstrong’s leisurely sail through the British Virgin Islands. The idyllic vacation is abruptly knocked off course by the appearance of a private investigator asking questions. Had Paul known what his answers would bring, he would have lied. Now, a vengeful killer has Paul and his loved ones in his sights. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, Paul reminds himself. But the killer’s arrival on St. Croix brings another old adage to mind – We all have to die sometime. Step into island-time and transport yourself to the sandy beaches and aquamarine waters of the Caribbean Sea for the continuation of this dramatic, heart-warming saga. Laced with plenty of off-beat humor and a colorful cast of characters, A Close Reach is a perfect, tropical get-a-way . . . and no plane ticket’s required.
A fun read by Pamela Fagan Hutchins who grew up on St Croix… the character of Annalise is inspired by a girlfriend of mine who also grew up on the island and truly embodies the nature of “free spirit“
Saving Grace (Katie and Annalise) (Volume 1)
Multi-awardwinning, Bestselling Romantic Mystery Series – Saving Grace kicks the Katie & Annalise series off with voodoo, laughs, and suspense.
Katie Connell is a high-strung attorney whose sloppy drinking habits and stunted love life collide hilariously during a doomed celebrity case in Dallas. She flees Texas for the Caribbean and escapes professional humiliation, a broken heart, and a wicked Bloody Mary habit, but ends up trading one set of problems for another when she begins to investigate the suspicious deaths of her parents on the island of St. Marcos. She’s bewitched by the voodoo spirit of an abandoned house in the rainforest and discovers that she’s as much a danger to herself as the island’s bad guys are.
You simply can’t read one without the other…
Leaving Annalise (Katie and Annalise) (Volume 2)
One unexpected and hotly fought-over little boy, two dead bodies, and a series of home vandalisms throw Texas attorney turned island chanteuse Katie Connell into a tizzy. Juggling all of this, Bloody Mary cravings, baggage, and the bad guys too, she waffles between the jumbie house that brought her back from the brink and the man she believes is the love of her life.
Another St Croix resident author, Tom Sedar takes you on an adventurous journey. I’m still looking for that gold!
The Gold of St. Croix
One tranquil Caribbean day, unremarkably like the next, all hell breaks loose after an ancient gold coin surfaces. Betsy needs to find her husband and the coin is her currency; Sam wants to buy the the piece-of-eight but a 384-year old mystery puts the kibosh on everyone’s plans. Sam and his wife suddenly end up dead, Betsy disappears, and it falls to Mad Dog Cotton to sort it all out. In what looks to be the toughest case of his career the mix of sun, pirate treasure, murder and Mad Dog himself spin a riveting tale of the Gold of St. Croix.
Written by former full-time and now part-time Virgin Islands resident and Howard University alum Aisha Banks
Under Caribbean Skies
“Under Caribbean Skies,” by Aisha Banks, is a rich story of intricate relationships that are neatly woven together with quick dialog and vivid images.
Faith and Lisa are childhood friends who have given up on the glamour and allure of Los Angeles and gone to the Virgin Islands in search of real men and true love. This time they plan to manage their relationships God’s way. It’s not long before they find themselves working, entrenched in the island lifestyle, and being pursued by charming young men. They think they’re living a fairy tale until a sad chain of events threatens to disrupt their hopes and dreams.
Will they find enchantment or disaster Under Caribbean Skies?
An inspiring work of historical fiction by one of my all-time favorite authors, this is the incredible journey of Zarité who goes from slavery in the islands to urban life in New Orleans.
Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel (P.S.)
“Allende is a master storyteller at the peak of her powers.”
— Los Angeles Times
From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, the latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Isabel Allende (Inés of My Soul, The House of the Spirits, Portrait in Sepia) tells the story of a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine, determined to take control of her own destiny.
Reading this Caribbean classic is almost a prerequisite for anyone considering life in the islands. You’ll find it on most bookshelves here on St Croix and throughout the USVI.
Don’t Stop the Carnival: A Novel
It’s every parrothead’s dream: to leave behind the rat race of the workaday world and start life all over again amidst the cool breezes, sun-drenched colors, and rum-laced drinks of a tropical paradise.
It’s the story of Norman Paperman, a New York City press agent who, facing the onset of middle age, runs away to a Caribbean island to reinvent himself as a hotel keeper. (Hilarity and disaster — of a sort peculiar to the tropics — ensue.)
It’s the novel in which the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of such acclaimed and bestselling novels as The Caine Mutiny and War and Remembrance draws on his own experience (Wouk and his family lived for seven years on an island in the sun) to tell a story at once brilliantly comic and deeply moving.
For the History buff, this is a great epic novel. One of my favorites.
In this acclaimed classic novel, James A. Michener sweeps readers off to the Caribbean, bringing to life the eternal allure and tumultuous history of this glittering string of islands. From the 1310 conquest of the Arawaks by cannibals to the decline of the Mayan empire, from Columbus’s arrival to buccaneer Henry Morgan’s notorious reign, from the bloody slave revolt on Haiti to the rise of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Caribbean packs seven hundred dramatic years into a tale teeming with revolution and romance, authentic characters and thunderous destinies. Through absorbing, magnificent prose, Michener captures the essence of the islands in all of their awe-inspiring scope and wonder.