. I’d like to know Evelyn’s relationship to Ethan, for example, or how either one of these characters feels about their great-grandfather’s legacy (do they have complicated feelings towards the man, for example? Rarely do we ever have straightforward, wholly positive feelings towards the people we’re related to, after all.) Who are these characters, aside from their relationship to one another? In more succinct words: I’d like to see these characters appear and act on the page a little more, instead of just being told what they’re doing and who they are. We’re told that this is Evelyn’s family, so we can assume there are more characters than just her and Ethan involved in this story. Who are they? What are their relationships like with one another? This is where dialogue can come in handy – the way people talk to each other can tell us an awful lot about how they feel about each other.
I’d also like to get a little more detail on 1) where these characters are, and 2) where these characters are going. Are they in America? I doubt it just because they talk about traveling by train; this is not something a great deal of Americans do, in my experience. Are they in a country with acceptable public transportation? And where are they going? We understand that it’s an island in the North Pacific, but that’s about all the detail we get. What’s this island known for? What island is it? What do they plan on doing once they get there? Most of these are the sort of questions that you want your reader to know before they exit the first scene, even if they’re answered or two or a couple of lines of dialogue. You want to orient your reader to your story as soon as you can.