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 First Light Series 

The Boat House Cafe
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The islanders of Martha's Vinyard have a saying: “Some come here to heal - others come to hide.”


Everyone has secrets, some more than most.


Armed with her Irish mother’s recipes and a willingness to roll up her sleeves, Mae Keaney retreats to the island of her childhood to escape a shameful and bitter past. After turning an abandoned fishing camp into a successful café, she becomes known for both her pies and her fierce solitude.


But when a catastrophic fire threatens her home and livelihood, Mae confronts the reality—and loneliness—of her isolation. She reluctantly accepts help from Tobias Monroe, a Native American who shares her intense need for a solitary life on the wild land.


Torn between a deepening connection to Tobias and her desire to guard her secrets, Mae struggles to preserve the isolated existence she once thought was her only choice. Will she cling to the false safety of her reclusive life or reach out to forge new bonds of family and community when faced with not only a devastating illness but also the threat of losing her child?


THE BOAT HOUSE CAFÉ, the first book in the multigenerational family saga First Light—a story of courage in the face of loss and the sacrifices one makes for love. 

Historical Fiction, 344 pages, 5 x 8

Trade Paperback, $16.99, ISBN: 978-1942209003

E-Book, $4.29, ISBN: 978-1942209010

Praise and Honors for The Boat House Café

CHANTICLEER INTERNATIONAL BOOK AWARDS ~ First Place in The Goethe Award for 20th-Century Historical Fiction

"Cardillo evokes the clapboard ports of New England with sensuous prose. . . A sympathetic depiction of the oft-forgotten New England Native American heritage in this picturesque corner of the Vineyard."--Kirkus Reviews

"In this beautiful, lyrical novel, Linda Cardillo creates a fierce, strong-willed heroine, unafraid of hard work, solitude, or the judgment of her fellow islanders."--Judith Arnold, USA Today Bestselling Author

"The Boat House Café is a delicious read, which I devoured in a single sitting. Linda Cardillo's writing is sensuous and full of feeling without being sentimental. The beautiful prose carried me to the island community of Martha's Vineyard and into the lives of Mae Keaney and Tobias Monroe. The principal characters evoke compassion with their flaws and inspire with their strength. The supporting cast adds the rich texture of conflicting cultures. Although set in the 1940's, the challenges of identity, loyalty and authenticity make this story more than relevant for today's reader. If you have been to Martha's Vineyard, this is a must read. If you have not set foot on Chappaquiddick, The Boat House Café will bind you with the spell of "First Light". Cardillo's sense of place mixed with genuine emotion is a recipe that truly does "nurture the soul." I am hungry for the sequel."--B. L. Moulton

"Ultimately, this beautifully written, passionate, page-turning adventure of a blended family history and a romance of grand proportions will have readers yearning to continue the series with The Uneven Road and Island Legacy."--Chanticleer Book Reviews

"...a beautiful story with powerful plot points and emotions that pull the reader in, allowing them to connect to the protagonist and stay tuned with the other characters....Linda Cardillo has the gift of penetrating the hidden layers of a woman’s heart, exploring complex emotions in characters and bringing out the best in their humanity. Mae’s transformation doesn’t happen in a day and readers will eagerly follow her character development curve. 

The prose is crisp, at times poetic, and loaded with descriptions that are finely done and that grab the reader’s attention in an irresistible way. The themes of family, war, friendship, solitude, and intercultural relationships are masterfully explored in this narrative. The Boat House Café: Book One of First Light is a compelling opening in a series, a novel with powerful themes, a gripping narrative style, and an ingenious plot structure that makes it a work of great entertainment." - Ruffina Oserio, Readers' Favorite




A mixed-race boy searches for his identity and home in the volatile 1960s.


Innisfree—the wild and isolated land on Chappaquiddick Island where Josiah Monroe grew up—was only place where he felt he belonged.


And now it was gone.


His parents’ painful decision to sell the land—the symbol of his mixed Wampanoag and Irish heritage—catapults the entire family into a spiral of disconnection as Josiah abandons the island in anger. He makes his way on an uneven road, seeking to redefine himself in a wider, more dangerous world marked by the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the cultural upheaval of the Sixties.


In the wake of his leaving, his family struggles not only with Josiah’s alienation but also with the debilitating polio suffered by his sister, Izzy. Ultimately, it is the power and magic of the island itself and the bonds of family that call them back to one another.

Historical Fiction, 380 pages, 5 x 8

Trade Paperback, $18.99, ISBN: 978-1942209232

E-Book, $9.99, ISBN: 978-1942209263

The Uneven Road

Praise and Honors for The Uneven Road


THE BOOKLIFE PRIZE ~ Semi-finalist in General Fiction

“A measured, riveting tale, written in a confident, impassioned voice.“ ~ Kirkus Reviews

"The Uneven Road is a sophisticated coming-of-age novel that intersects with historical events of this period. . . . written with verve and intelligence. Cardillo carefully constructs The Uneven Road with rich characterizations, diverging and interlocking plot elements, and fine attention to detail that explores family dynamics and the search for individual identity. . . .Captivatingly infused with often raw emotions and haunting memories of race, heritage, culture, and family dynamics, The Uneven Road, scatters its characters over time and place and draws them back together again with enduring values of family love and respect for heritage." - Chanticleer Book Reviews

Island Legacy



“Innisfree binds us.”


When Lydia Hammond encourages her grieving granddaughter, Elizabeth Innocenti, to spend the summer at Innisfree, the family’s compound on Chappaquiddick Island, Elizabeth undertakes the journey from her home in Italy with her fourteen-year-old son, hoping to heal from the devastating loss of her husband after a long illness.


Innisfree holds cherished memories of an idyllic childhood for Elizabeth. But when she arrives, she finds the place abandoned, derelict and as needy as she is. A reluctant steward, Elizabeth undertakes the task of making the cottage habitable until a hurricane forces her to take shelter with the Monroes, the Wampanoag family who once owned Innisfree.


The fraught and tangled history between her grandmother and the Monroes pulls Elizabeth into a passionate search for Innisfree’s meaning for both families. At the same time, her challenging relationship with Caleb Monroe, the grandson of Mae and Tobias, shatters her perception of who she is and what she wants.


In the midst of grief, a new generation defines where home is


Historical Fiction, 402 pages, 5 x 8

Trade Paperback, $19.99, ISBN: 978-1942209379

E-Book, $9.99, ISBN: 978-1942209386


Praise for Island Legacy


"A tender, spirited family tale to complete a warm, earnest series." - Kirkus Reviews


"Cardillo’s poignant novel is a winding, intriguing story of relatable suffering—the sorrow of losing loved ones, traversing long distances to visit those dear to us, and the pain (and growth) that arises through profound life changes." The BookLife Prize


She only remembers dying.

In 1971, a near-fatal automobile accident throws Izzy Monroe’s life into upheaval after she survives with a traumatic brain injury that leaves her with no short-term memory.

Adrift and despairing, Izzy is confronted by her best friend and persuaded to find the courage to redefine herself. She leaves the safe but smothering confines of home and ventures to Italy to work on a farm. 

As she begins to take tentative steps in a new direction, she encounters Daniel Richetelli, a troubled Jesuit priest who has returned to his grandfather’s farm seeking a respite from his own crisis. 

Battered by family expectations, guilt, betrayal, and self-doubt, Izzy and Daniel struggle to reconcile their immediate and compelling intimacy with their search for new and fulfilling lives.


A story of longing, forgiveness, and the healing power of love.

20th-Century Historical Fiction, 412 pages, 5 x 8

Trade Paperback, $19.99 ISBN: 978-1942209973

E-Book, $4.29 ISBN: 978-1942209980

A Place of Refuge
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