[Read to the end to view a video!]
I’ve known the Ile de Batz since a family friend, Chantal, moved there with her two children many years ago.  On family vacations and choir tours to the island, we would sit at her kitchen table with an assortment of Breton cooking in front of us and absorb the stories she told about her difficult insertion into the closed circle of locals.  She tried everything: aerobics classes on the beach (open to tourists and locals), fish mongering, participation in island politics, and bringing in a small missions choir every summer to perform in the usually deserted Catholic church.  We often filled it to capacity, speaking God’s Truth into a godless and superstitious land.  Those are indelible memories for me.
Unfortunately, nothing ever thawed the public perception of this “foreigner” from Paris.  Though islanders would greet her husband (a native son) when they passed them on the street, they always studiously ignored her.  The stale bread and general nastiness Casey encounters are all based on my friend’s own experiences.  Yet she persists in her daily struggle to live in this place she loves so dearly.  Today, she owns a small B&B and hosts guests from around the world.  Contact me if you’d like to take a trip to this enchanted island, and I’ll give you her contact information.
Why place the story in the Ile de Batz?  It seemed a natural fit to confront Casey’s state of mind with this remote, unfriendly island.  I found the juxtaposition fascinating.  I also wanted to introduce my readers to a small “corner” of France they might never discover on their own.  As unfriendly as the islanders can be, the Ile de Batz remains one of the most beautiful, rugged and “authentic” places I have ever known.  There is a folk tale that the air around the Ile de Batz is overloaded with iodes (don’t ask!) and that those tend to mess with one’s emotions.  I’m usually pretty wary of tall tales, but must admit that on every visit I’ve made to the island, I’ve found myself prone to the kind crying jags that are rare indeed for me!  So who knows…?  You’ll have to check it out for yourselves–just make sure you bring a box of Kleenex!
There are other facts woven into the fiction of “The Edge of Tidal Pools”…I’ll leave you to discern what they are.  But the greatest of them is this:  God is present in even the most desolate places, whether they be in our minds or in the waters off the coast of France.
The following video was created for my friend as a promotion for her B&B.  It’s an accurate reflection of the island’s captivating beauty.