City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Vinings Author Inspired by Childhood Trip


Off the coast of Maryland, in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, lies Smith Island—a 9.2-square-mile strip of land you can only reach by ferry, and one whose residents, while American, experience a very different way of life than most mainlanders. When USA Today bestselling, critically acclaimed novelist and journalist Colleen Oakley first visited this quaint island as a teenager with her adventure-seeking grandparents, she was instantly struck by this most unique setting.

Little did she know then that this singular place would inspire her unforgettable new novel, The Invisible Husband of Frick Island  (Berkley; May 25, 2021; trade paperback original), a quirky love story of more than meets the eye about a recent widow who still believes her husband is alive—and an ambitious young reporter determined to uncover the truth. Colleen writes from her home in Vinings' Forest Hills area that she shares with her husband Fred, their four kids (Henry, 11, Sorella, 9, Olivia, 6, Everett, 6), 3 chickens, a fish and a terrier mutt named Baxter.

Piper Parrish's life on Frick Island is perfect aside from one pesky detail: her darling husband, Tom, is dead. When Tom's crab boat capsized and his body wasn't recovered, Piper did a most peculiar thing: carried on as if her husband was not only still alive, but right there beside her. And what were the townspeople to do but go along with their beloved widowed Piper? After all, the people of Frick Island do not take well to change. What harm could it possibly do?

Anders Caldwell had hoped he’d be a national award-winning podcaster by now, rather than writing fluff pieces for a small town newspaper. When he gets an assignment to travel to Frick Island and cover their annual cake walk fundraiser, he stumbles upon a much more fascinating tale - an entire town pretending to see and interact with a man who does not exist. As a “Come Here,” a person not from Frick Island, his curiosity and questions are not welcome. But when he receives an anonymous tip via email saying, You came all the way to Frick Island and missed the biggest story out here... he knows he’s on to something. Determined it’s the career-making story he’s been needing, Anders returns to the island to begin covert research and spend more time with the enigmatic Piper—but he has no idea out of all the lives he’s about to upend, it’s his that will change the most.

With The Invisible Husband of Frick Island, Colleen Oakley delivers an incredibly satisfying one-of-a-kind story about an eccentric community, a grieving widow, and an outsider who slowly learns that sometimes faith is more important than the facts.


Colleen Oakley’s books have been translated into 21 languages, optioned for film, and have received numerous accolades including multiple Indie Next Picks, LibraryReads Pick (2020), starred trade reviews, and praise from O Magazine, People, Real Simple, US Weekly, PopSugar, and more. A former magazine editor for Marie Claire and Women’s Health & Fitness, Colleen Oakley’s articles and essays have been featured in The New York TimesLadies’ Home JournalWomen’s HealthReader’s Digest, Parade, Marie Claire, Redbook,  Woman’s DayFitnessHealth and Martha Stewart Weddings. A proud graduate of the University of Georgia’s school of journalism, Colleen loves Smyrna and Vinings. 

Here are her go-to stops.

Date night: Porch Light, Mezza Luna, Soho  

Girls night: The Vineyard Wine Market, Paces & Vine, Reformation Brewery 

Shopping for gifts: LoveStreet and Waiting on Martha. 

Working out: I've been a member of Orange Theory Fitness for 4 years. We also love going to Silver Comet Trail and the Chattahoochee River to walk, run or bike with the kids. It seems like we always run into someone we know! 

People watching: Neighbors Feed & Seed! They have the most eclectic group of customers and it's our go-to spot for dog food, chicken feed and all of our gardening needs. They also have the best lip balm and it's made locally. 

Where to take out of town guests: The Battery, Food Truck Night at Taylor Brawner, Riverview Landing. Also, all four of my kids play soccer for Nasa Tophat Smyrna, so inevitably our guests end up catching a soccer game (or four) when they're in town!

Learn more at