Lovers of historical fiction will be thrilled to jump into this world of tropical beauty, evil rulers, forbidden love, and dark secrets in The Island King.


The Description

Strange Eden: Book 2
Publication Date: June 7, 2024

He once destroyed everything she loved. Now, only he can save her from ruin.

Can she forgive, and even love, her enemy?

In this dark, immersive tale, the author of STRANGE EDEN returns to colonial Nassau to continue the story of Eliza Sharpe’s volatile marriage to Charles Sharpe.

1792: In the aftermath of her lover Jean’s death, Eliza harbors a secret that threatens to make her fraught situation even worse. She is carrying his child. But when the clairvoyant slave Cleo comes to her aid, the solution holds devastating consequences.

Charles, meanwhile, is engaged in his own secret dealings. When he reveals his plans to Eliza, she is forced to do the to reframe the man she’s viewed for so long as an enemy, into an ally, perhaps even a friend.

Perhaps more.

Events directed by Lord Dunmore’s insatiable greed threaten to destroy their shaky reconciliation. Clandestine political meetings emerge as the other colonists seek an end to the corruption on the island, and they turn to Charles for leadership. But the governor of the Bahamas wants him dead, and he’s hired the perfect man for the deed.

Can Eliza forgive the man she once viewed as a monster? Or has the desperation and darkness that lurks within the walls of Pleasant Hall finally driven her to madness?

The Review

The Island King is the second book in Gina Giordano’s Strange Eden Series. This historical fiction novel takes place in Colonial Nassau in the late 1700s. Readers enter a world of clear, sparkling waters, tropical birds, and warm sands. However, amidst all the beauty the island presents, a cloud of darkness is looming, ready to consume everything in its path.

Our heroine, Eliza Sharpe, had moved to Nassau with her husband, Charles Sharpe. At the time, Eliza was keen to experience the beauty and magic of the island. Unfortunately, soon after arriving, Eliza experienced the evil lurking beneath at the hands of her husband. Charles’s cruel behavior towards Eliza caused her to not only view him as a dangerous enemy but also drove her into the arms of another man, Charles’s childhood friend, Jean.

After several events transpire, Jean is deemed a traitor and spy by the selfish and greedy Governor of Nassau, Lord Dunmore, and is hanged for his “crimes.” Eliza now must navigate in a world without her true love while living under the same roof as a man she can barely stand the sight of. Not to mention, shortly after his death, Eliza discovers she is pregnant with Jean’s child.

As the tides turn, so do the personalities and opinions of our characters. Charles, the once volatile and cruel husband begins to turn soft and tender towards those around him. While his actions were cruel, he may have been subject to his circumstances rather than acting on his own volition. Eliza, who once viewed Charles as her enemy, begins to slowly and tentatively open her heart to him again, finding they have more in common than she once believed. She also realizes her affair with Jean may not have been the great love story she thought it to be.

Readers follow along in Giordano’s second book as Eliza and Charles work to mend their relationship while fending off threats from a cruel Governor who seeks to destroy them for their outspoken beliefs.

The Island King by Gina Giordano was an interesting novel. The vivid details made the writing come to life and I felt like I was on the island. While a work of fiction, I found this novel well-researched, and much thought went into the character descriptions. However, I took away a star from my rating for a few reasons, which I will discuss below.

The first reason is I found myself getting lost in the dialogue. I thought the conversations between the characters dragged on for too long and, a lot of the time, weren’t necessary. Secondly, and similar to my first point, I thought the book was too long for the amount of events that transpired. Much of the book was a recap of what happened in book one.  I don’t mind reading a long book, but I expect to read a lot of new information that warrants the length. Lastly, while I was happy to see Charles undergo a transformation, I didn’t think there was enough explanation as to why he behaved the way he did in the first place. There was the information about his father, how the island brought out a bad side of him, and how he was acting in a way that he thought he should but I didn’t think that did enough to explain him or his actions.

Lovers of historical fiction will be thrilled to jump into this world of tropical beauty, evil rulers, forbidden love, and dark secrets in The Island King.Buy Links

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About The AuthorGina Giordano always had an insatiable curiosity and a penchant for history. Born in New York City, she is a writer, artist, and a conjurer of the past. She holds a BA in history and a master’s degree in historical fiction from New York University, and has traveled to over fifty-five countries across the globe. When she is not climbing ancient ruins or exploring forgotten palaces, she enjoys swimming with sharks in remote pristine waters. Her debut novel, Strange Eden, was longlisted for the 2023 Bath Novel Award.



Leah Lawrence
Leah Lawrence
Leah is an avid reader who enjoys fully immersing herself in her stories. As someone who has ADD, reading is a way for Leah to escape the busyness of her mind and sink into another world. Leah took her love of literature a step further a few years ago when she decided to share her reviews for the novels she read on her social media accounts. She thoroughly enjoyed connecting with like-minded individuals and authors who wanted to share their stories with the world. As a Marketing Consultant of 10 years, Leah understands the importance of storytelling and brand awareness so she has done all she can to shine a light on the talented authors she has come in contact with. In her free time, Leah enjoys reading (obviously), hiking, running, and traveling.


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Lovers of historical fiction will be thrilled to jump into this world of tropical beauty, evil rulers, forbidden love, and dark secrets in The Island King.4-STAR REVIEW: THE ISLAND KING by Gina Giordano