Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jekyll Island by Faye Bradley

Jane and Frank live in distinctly different worlds that are ordinarily separated by a ravine as deep as the Grand Canyon and as volatile as the San Andreas fault.

Jane had known only the privileges inherent in being a wealthy New York City debutante of Astor lineage, while Frank was a personable, hard-working young man whose love of Big Band music and adventurous spirit would bring he and his friend, Gene, to seasonal jobs at a private resort for the rich and famous.

The warmer winter climate and exclusivity compelled the ultra-elite to Jekyll Island, a scenic location off the Georgia coast. Now many people don’t realize that there is a 100 mile stretch of Georgia coast line and four barrier islands just adjacent to Brunswick, Ga. Those islands are St. Simons, Little St. Simons, Golden Isles and Jekyll Island. So Jekyll Island is not a fictitious setting, but is actually a National Historic Landmark consisting of 5,700 acres and is the smallest of the four barrier islands noted above.

I anxiously awaited the publication and acquisition of a copy of Jekyll Island because I’ve actually been there.  A few years ago, I was attending a conference at The Cloister at Sea Island, Georgia and eagerly toured St. Simons and Jekyll with some friends. One stroll around the grounds of the Jekyll Island Club immediately gives one the sense that this is a magical location, exploding with history. If the walls could only spew forth their amazing stories. Who hasn’t toured such an upscale resort and wondered what it would be like to spend months at a time in such a heavenly destination? Consequently, I was already a fan of this location and appreciated that such a serene locale was the chosen setting for this historical novel.

This is a sweet, squeaky clean love story of two young people who would fight the “rules” in order to be together. They could only see their respective positive qualities rather than measuring worth by the size of their bank accounts. Frank was neither a gigolo nor a player. He was respectful and willing to devote his life to working hard to make Jane happy, while Jane couldn’t envision her life without him and would risk alienating her own family just to be with him.

On the rare occasions that I read a novel which is written in the present tense, it tends to make me feel as though I am examining an actual screenplay. Sometimes this makes me uncomfortable, but as the book progressed, I was able to adjust to this style because I so thoroughly enjoyed the story. As I read various descriptions of the island, I could easily visualize the tranquil scenery and surroundings, and I was transfixed until I could reach the ending to see how the conflicts were resolved. This book is a wonderful example of isolating a particular era (1930’s) and filling in the blanks of history to allow the period to burst with life.

Most importantly, Jekyll Island reminds us that although riches bring perks that others may never even begin to imagine, it is a fact that being blessed with large sums of money does not guarantee happiness and fulfillment. Those attributes must come from within, a reality that is so beautifully demonstrated by this delightful, entertaining book.

Book Description

Discover this uplifting story of life and love set against the backdrop of the birth of Big Bands and Swing Dancing in 1930's New York City - and on a beautiful barrier island off the coast of Georgia from which the book gets it name. Come discover how young Frank and Gene escape the harsh realities of the Great Depression into the music and dancing of the day, finding fun and adventure as they refuse to let life pass them by!

In the Author’s Own Words

“I always wanted to try my hand at writing. Wanting to be a journalist from the time I was in high school, I always had an ‘itch’ to write. Now, after living quite an interesting life, I finally decided to ‘pick up a pen.’ 

My son wrote the screenplay, Jekyll Island, a story told to him by a family friend, an older gentleman who lived through the depression and worked on Jekyll Island, GA during the Big Band era of swing dancing.  I borrowed this screenplay and wrote the novel around it.  It is full of history that triggers memories from the past and teaches new facts as the book quickly moves along.”

About the Author

Faye Bradley lives in South Carolina with her husband Wilson, and their Yorkie, ‘Lil Sugar.’ Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware as a Quaker (Religious Society of Friends), she is the mother of four Eagle Scout sons and sixteen grandchildren. Familiar with raising boys, she was very active with the Boy Scouts of America, receiving the distinguished Silver Beaver Award in 1978. She taught swimming and life saving for over thirty years for the American Red Cross and enjoyed swimming, scuba diving and snow skiing. Faye loves life – and also loves to read.

This is her first attempt at writing a novel, and we think you will be pleased. Trying to capture the exciting era of the birth of Big Bands and Swing Dancing (right after the Stock Market Crash and repeal of Prohibition), this story reads like a fun history lesson.  It is based upon the real-life story of one of Faye's mother's best friends, and allows the fictional elements to hold it together in a way that lets the reader live, laugh and love as they enjoy a step back in time.

As an author who is a Christian, she dedicated this to you, if you are nine or ninety-nine. This book will hopefully bring the era to life.

Most of Faye's time now is invested in enjoying her service in the United Methodist Women's organization, spending time with family, friends, or her favorite little constant companion, ‘Lil Sugar,’ who has an ever-optimistic personality.

To purchase Jekyll Island online, visit Barnes & Noble at or

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Visit to learn more about our member authors who write and reside along the South Carolina coast.

See you in just a couple of weeks with another selection!

Mary Anne Benedetto
Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!


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