Spy Island by Sophie Schiller is a Historical Novel set in the Danish West Indies. It tells the story of an adventurous young girl during WWI who rescues a German U-boat deserter and teams up with him to rid her tranquil island of a nest of German spies. The story takes place in the island of St. Thomas and is a gift to the people of the islands, the result of a promise I made to myself decades ago.
While I was growing up in
Since no novel had yet been written that could satisfy my desire to read about and get lost in this fascinating world, I decided to write my own. Where to start?
The most momentous event to occur in this former Danish sugar colony was its 1917 sale and transfer to the
I decided to tell the story through the eyes of a blossoming young woman. For purposes of cultural exoticism, I made her a member of
When I was a child, one of the questions that had often swirled in my head concerned the ubiquitous island name Maduro. Lots of Virgin Islanders are named Maduro. It's almost as common as Smith or Jones are in the States, even belonging to a certain popular Senator. But the name always struck me as unusual, odd even. Island names such as Maduro, Robles, De Castro, and Henriquez exist even today. They are exotic, having an unmistakable Spanish-sounding ring to them. But where did they come from? How did these West Indian natives of a former Danish colony wind up with Spanish-sounding names? In my research, I learned that the name Maduro was actually a Sephardic Jewish name, brought to the island by 18th and 9th century immigrants whose roots spread all the way back to Holland, Portugal and Spain. This surprising discovery made my curiosity grow by leaps and bounds.
The name Maduro was adopted by 16th century Conversos from the Hebrew tribe of Levi who fled the Iberian peninsula for