The Story Behind The Island Daughter by Helena Halme

04 Aug 2020

By Helena Halme

The story behind The Island Daughter is intertwined with my own life. Firstly, there is a family tragedy, mirroring the recent loss of my own father. Secondly, my mother lives in the beautiful Åland Islands, where the novel is set. I’ve spent countless holidays in this stunning archipelago between Finland and Sweden. In some way, I very much feel like the island daughter too!

The Island Daughter

A family tragedy forces Alicia to return to the islands where she was raised. She leaves behind a new life in Stockholm with a Swedish journalist, Patrick. But when Mia, his ex, and the only daughter of a local property magnate, makes a move to rekindle their relationship, Alicia is torn between duty and her own happiness. Alicia’s world is further upended when deeply buried family secrets surface. How can she face the future when everything she believed to be true about her past is a lie?

The Loss of A Father Figure

The relationship between Alicia and Patrick is central to the story, but the book also deals with the death of a father figure.

I lost my own dad last October, just as I began writing The Island Daughter, so some of my grief spilt over onto the page. It was extremely difficult to transpose my own feelings to the characters, but it also helped to exorcise the raw pain I felt at the time.

The Åland Islands

One of the main characters in The Island Daughter is its setting on the quirky Åland Islands. It’s where tourists from the mainland flock in the summer to sail in the Baltic or spend their holidays in small simple cottages by the sea, enjoying the peace and quiet and the nightless night of the North.

Flawed Characters

All of the characters in this novel are flawed in some way. When writing the book, I was thinking a lot about the loss of my father, but also about all of our weaknesses as people. My dad was far from perfect, yet I loved him dearly and miss him terribly. Everybody is lacking in some way, and I feel it’s important to show these imperfections in my characters.

Patrick, Alicia’s new love, is helpless to the charms of his wealthy ex-wife, who is also the mother of his beloved two daughters.

Alicia has suffered the loss of a child, and with the death of her step-father, her vulnerability is increased. Just as she’s faced with the possible break-up with Patrick, old secrets are revealed which further unsettles her present.

The story in The Island Daughter also follows Brit, Alicia’s school friend. After a life spent footloose and fancy-free, traveling the world working on cruise ships, she’s both horrified and delighted when she sees the thin pink lines on a test tube. But can she really settle down and have a baby with a man she’s only known for a matter of months?

Another strong, but flawed, character in the book is Alicia’s mother Hilda. After the loss of her loving husband, someone from her past suddenly appears on the islands. She’s forced to confront her own betrayal, which could forever destroy the relationship with her only daughter.

The Island Daughter is Book 3 in Love on the Island series but it can be enjoyed as a standalone read. It’s perfect for fans of Amanda Prowse, Elin Hilderbrand, and Elena Ferrante.

A prize-winning author, Helena Halme writes contemporary Nordic fiction with a sprinkling of Noir. The Nordic Heart series is an epic Cold War love story between a Finnish student and a British Navy Officer. Her new series, Love on the Island, is a heartwarming tale of family, love and impossible choices and set on the quirky and stunningly beautiful Åland Islands. Apart from writing stories set in her native Finland, Helena is addicted to Nordic Noir and dances to Abba songs when nobody’s watching.

You can find more about Helena on her website: where she also blogs about writing, books, and life in general.

Helena Halme is the author of the new book The Island Daughter.

Connect with Helena

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