Among those new releases is Anola Pickett’s “Whisper Island,” a tale about a spunky 12-year-old girl, Primmy Hopkins, who dreams of joining the U.S. Life-Saving Service when she grows up. Only one problem, though: at the time, 1913, no girls are allowed in the USLSS.
“Whisper Island” is available right now for pre-order on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and BooksAndThings.com and in bookstores starting July 9.
Somehow, without meaning to, Primmy Hopkins gets herself in a heap of trouble. All kinds of trouble. Primmy promises her brother Edwin that she’ll make sure his sow Pansy is securely locked into her pen. Listen to Primmy tell what happens when she forgets to set the latch.
A small crowd of village folks has gathered by the fishing docks, Will and Emory push their way up to the front line. Emory looks mighty worried, but the beginning of a smirk is stretching Will’s mouth.
“Primmy,” Emory whispers as I get near. “Aunt Marcelle is powerful mad. Pansy dug up the garden she just planted this afternoon.”
I groan. Emory’s aunt is famous for her late plantings and the delicious root vegetables and greens they turn out. “Tell her I’ll help her re-seed tomorrow for sure,” I whisper back.
Then I see the Lavender sisters plowing through the crowd.
“There she is,” Hortense Lavender shrills as she slams to a halt in front of me. The sudden stop causes her considerable bulk to take some time to settle. “Do you know what you’ve done?”
“No, ma’am, I don’t,” I foolishly answer. Of course I know what I’ve done in general, but I’ve no ahead what I’ve done in particular to Miz Lavender.
Her twin sister Aurelia, thin as a fence plank, steps from behind her sister to correct me. “Oh, yes, you do, missy. You’ve let that horrible sow of yours ruin our garden. Sister had a whole crop of Guernsey Half Long parsnips ready to harvest and ship over to the Virginia Dare Hotel.” She whips out a lacy handkerchief and bawls into its frilly cotton. “Now there’s not one parsnip left whole and intact.” She blows her pointy nose for extra effect.
“I’m real sorry, Miz Lavender,” I begin.
“Sorry don’t cut it, girlie. You’re a wild, spoiled brat!” the larger Lavender shouts. “No wonder your mother abandon….”
Edwin snaps right into her sentence. “There’s no call for that, Miz Lavender.”
My stomach churns and I strain forward, fists knotted. I long to punch the hateful woman.
Edwin’s hand twists my shirt tighter to keep me near him. “Primmy made a mistake and she’s sorry.”
Elbert Pepperdine steps up to pat my shoulder. He has a gift for making light of things. “Maybe you could send Pansy over to the Virginia Dare chef. She’d make mighty fine dining. Better’n parsnips!” He rubs his belly like it was full of pork roast, and the crowd laughs.