Follow *Virginia Country Roads* and *take a trip to love, mystery and suspense.*
I love country roads, especially roads that wind through hills and forests. There is beauty, but also a sense of isolation. Whether trim houses surrounded by farmland, or crumbling old houses, now abandoned – I wonder who lives there? Or used to live there? Who were those people? What was their story?
Many years ago, while riding through Goochland County, VA, I saw an empty house half-hidden back in the woods. An unpainted two-story house, now derelict, with the window glass long gone – yet through one window opening a length of curtain had escaped and was hanging over the sill. The fabric was cream-colored and looked much fresher than the house. What story belonged to that house and the family who’d dwelled there?
I love houses and their mysteries - the character of the outward appearance and the unknown inside yet to be discovered. An old house is almost always guaranteed to offer lots of possibilities for mystery.
When I was a child, my friend and I played in a falling-down house, long abandoned. We were careful of rotten boards in the floor and climbed the stairs keeping our feet close to the wall where the support was likely to be best. I do not recommend this activity and I’m glad we weren’t injured! When my friend’s father found out, he didn’t yell, but instead told us a story. He said he’d delivered newspapers to that house when he was a kid and knew the family. He spun a tale of tragedy – and I have no idea whether it was true – but I believed it absolutely. It fit so well with the overgrown family plot and the black wrought iron fence that enclosed it, and with the rust-bucket sedan in the yard that was as much a part of the landscape as the trees and blackberry bushes, that I embraced the story and added to it.
So, take one interesting, maybe abandoned house, add people and problems, and stir…. You can never be sure what the story will be, but if you enjoy mystery and suspense, with a dollop of love thrown in, take a trip down that country road with me.
BEACH RENTAL took us to Emerald Isle, NC and BEACH WINDS takes us back for another visit. I hope you’ll come along!
BEACH WINDS begins in winter. A beach in winter is still a beach. The essence remains, uninterrupted by the seasons. The timelessness of the ocean, the universe of nature, and life in all of its moods remains in winter, different only in terms of who is observing the scene – what they bring to it and what they take away and what they keep secret.
Off-season at Emerald Isle ~ In-season for secrets of the heart
Frannie Denman has been waiting for her real life to begin. After several false starts, and a couple of broken hearts, she ends up back with her mother, with whom she doesn’t get along, until her elderly uncle gets sick and Frannie goes to Emerald Isle to help manage his affairs while he’s recovering.
Her uncle’s ocean front home, Captain’s Walk, is small and unpretentious, and even though Frannie doesn’t consider herself a ‘beach person’ she decides Captain’s Walk in winter is a great place to hide from her troubles. But Frannie doesn’t realize that winter is short in Emerald Isle and the beauty of the ocean and seashore can help heal anyone’s heart, especially when her uncle’s handyman is the handsome Brian Donovan.
Brian has troubles of his own. He sees himself and Frannie as two damaged people who aren’t likely to equal a happy ‘whole’ but he’s intrigued by this woman of contradictions.
Frannie’s mother wants her back home and Brian wants to meet the real Frannie, but Frannie wants to move forward with her life. To do that she needs questions answered. With the right information there’s a good chance Frannie will be able to effect not only a change in her life, but also a change of heart.
A STRANGER IN WYNNEDOWER
By BookWorm – I loved this book! It is Beauty and the Beast meets mystery novel! The story slowly drew me in and then there were so many questions that needed answering, mysteries that needed solving. I kept coming back to the book, I NEEDED to know what the answers were! Sit down and relax, because once you start reading this book, you won’t be going anywhere for awhile! Five stars for a captivating read!
ASC Book Reviews “~ASC” – FABULOUS!!! Shocking to the end, and I do mean the VERY end! I loved the characters, the setting, the surprises, and the plot! Filled with secrets, mystery, and a hidden treasure A Stranger in Wynnedower is a great adventure and a great read!!!
RT Book Reviews – August 2012 – 4 STARS - A quiet, backwater town is the setting for intrigue, deception and betrayal in this exceptional sophomore offering. Greene’s ability to pull the reader into the story and emotionally invest them in the characters makes this book a great read.
Jane Austen “Book Maven” – May 2012 – 5 STARS - This is a unique modern-day romantic suspense novel, with eerie gothic tones–a well-played combination, expertly woven into the storyline. …she rode the wave of excellent writing in her first novel with the same complex writing style which easily draws the reader in.
RT Book Reviews – September 2012 – 4.5 stars TOP PICK - No author can even come close to capturing the awe-inspiring essence of the North Carolina coast like Greene. Her debut novel seamlessly combines hope, love and faith, like the female equivalent of Nicholas Sparks. …you’ll hear the gulls overhead and the waves crashing onto shore.
Camellia – Long and Short Reviews (8/11/11) – Grace Greene, with a captivating style, writes a compelling story about coping with the worst and enjoying the best of life. Ms. Greene’s descriptions and her ability to create vibrant characters makes Beach Rental a book one wants to read non-stop.
English Rose – Clean Romance Reviews (8/4/11) – Juli’s lessons on different kinds of love and unexpected blessings is a great, uplifting story despite some of the other sadder aspects of the tale. This book is very well written, pulling you in and never letting go. You’ll want some tissues for this one, but it’s one I’d recommend!
September Mainstream Overview
BY RT BOOK REVIEWS, SEPTEMBER 06, 2012 | PERMALINK
With kids returning to school and cold weather on its way, it is a good thing that there are so many great mainstream fiction novels releasing this month. One of September’s mainstream romances takes readers to the beach as a debut author earns a coveted Top Pick! review. To celebrate, newcomer Grace Greene shares to favorite seaside memories. Then we learn that sometimes good things come in threes, as a number of new releases focus on the their storylines on groups of women. Next we turn our attention to a pair of authors whose collaboration had us on the edge of our seats. And finally we round-up novels that send their heroines on a journey to smaller towns for some much needed soul-searching. Needing a great read? Look no further than these mainstream picks.
FOOTSTEPS IN THE SAND
Grace Greene’s tear-jerking debut, Beach Rental, introduces an overworked single mom and her one chance at obtaining financial freedom — marrying a man with terminal cancer in a modern-day marriage of convenience. For Juli Cooke, joining her life with Ben Bradshaw would solve most of her problems. But it would create a few more, especially since Ben’s cousin, Luke, doesn’t support their union. Life in this beach town gets a whole lot rockier than they bargained for when Juli comes to care for Ben and eventually loses him … and the only one to turn to for comfort is the once-cold Luke. RT’s Jaime praised Greene’s ability to capture “the awe-inspiring essence of the North Carolina coast.” As a Virginia native, Greene is familiar with the seaside, so we asked her to share one of her most memorable beach moments:
When I was a child my family vacationed at the beach and the jellyfish always zeroed in on me. I huddled on the beach in pain while well-intentioned strangers shared their remedies for easing the sting and the swelling. A year or two later, I wandered into a large area of sand dunes and became lost. I saw only sand and ocean for several scary hours until my father found me. Had I not been crying so hard, I would’ve seen the path back to civilization! When I was thirteen and at summer camp, I broke the rules by going into the ocean without my assigned ‘buddy’ and almost drowned.
Given those beach experiences, you might think I’d stay well away from sand and sea. Not so.
There’s something deep inside me that responds instantly to the rhythm of the breaking waves and the mystery of the ever-changing landscape, battered and shaped by force of nature. The eternal rhythm of the ocean mixes with the processes of life, faith, hope and death in an inevitable and forever recurring cycle. It inspires awe and instills peace. I tried to share some part of that overwhelming experience and inspiration in Beach Rental. I hope I succeeded.
- Grace Greene
Email me at Grace(at)GraceGreene(dot)com
I’ve never seen an old abandoned house that didn’t intrigue me. Let me be clear: I’m talking about old, derelict houses here – not about houses recently abandoned due to modern economic hardships. That’s a whole other category of heartbreak. I’m talking about gray boards, never painted, a shred of yellow cotton fabric hanging cockeyed in a window of broken glass. Do you know what those houses smell like? What memories are left behind? How much will the rusting junk, half-hidden by the creeping vines and stickers, tell you? Back in the day, when life inhabited this house, whose face might have looked out at you as you passed by?
I’ve seen a lot of them. I’ve been inside more than a few. And torn, faded wallpaper, once chosen with care and hung with skill, now long neglected, forgotten, can almost bring me to tears. With grief? How can that be? Doesn’t make much sense, but there it is.
In Kincaid’s Hope, the primary setting is a catalogue home. Try popping catalogue house into your browser and you’ll discover there’s lot of lovers of old houses. It’s not just Victorian houses that get restored – their humbler cousins from the catalogues are also well-loved by restorers. Check out the links on my Extras page.
In my current work-in-progress, the setting is a turn-of-the-century mansion, run-down yet possessed of elegance and eccentricities from a lavish age.