New Book, The Pelican Tide Brings the Rich Culture of the Gulf’s Barrier Islands to Life in this Heartwarming Story

Set in 2011 on historic Grand Isle, Louisiana on the eve of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, The Pelican Tide, the debut novel by Sharon J. Wishnow, paints a vivid portrait of Cajun chef Josie Babineaux, her family, and community as they navigate life on a barrier island. Family relationships, southern food, an environmental disaster, and the newest animal character to capture your heart, Gumbo the brown pelican, make this rich story one that lingers long after you finish the last page.

We meet chef Josie six months after her husband Brian’s gambling debts have shattered the family and now threaten the family livelihood, Josie’s historic Cajun restaurant, leaving Josie at a crossroads. With a promising tourist season ahead, and a prestigious travel magazine dubbing her the “spice queen of the bayou,” Josie sees a glimmer of hope to save her restaurant.

Just as the first tourists arrive, an explosion on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico shatters their fragile plans. With her island community at the epicenter of the oil spill, everything is endangered, including the restaurant’s beloved mascot―Gumbo, a brown pelican dear to the family’s heart.

Josie realizes her family needs more than financial recovery. Only reconciling her past and revealing the truth can clean up the guilt and hurt pooling under the surface. And maybe, with enough honesty, this family can find renewal.

In this assured debut, Sharon Wishnow creates a strong sense of place and deftly brings the natural world of this Gulf barrier island to life. Readers looking for a heartwarming story, memorable characters, and the delights of a wayward pelican named Gumbo will be richly rewarded.” ―Rebecca Hodge, award-winning author of Wildland

Sharon J. Wishnow is a transplanted New Englander who makes her home in Northern Virginia. In addition to writing upmarket fiction with environmental themes, Sharon writes non-fiction in the science, technology, and business categories with a passion for research, seashells, birds, and the ocean. She has been a member of the Boston Malacological Club since she was ten years old. She credits growing up by the ocean and family camping trips for her love and respect for all that is outside her door. Sharon is the former Vice President of Communications for the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA), the founder of Women’s Fiction Day, and is the Executive Editor of the WFWA magazine, WriteOn!  She has an MFA from George Mason University, a publications certification from George Washington University, and a BA from Clark University. She regularly speaks about research and writing and publishes a regular newsletter, Research for Writers and Other Curious People. Learn more about Sharon on her website,