Sun, sand… and secrets
Blurb: Jessica Stratton’s long-cherished dream of opening her own Folk Art gallery in an idyllic Cape Cod setting finally comes true. However, her start-up is anything but smooth sailing.
Her ten-year marriage hits the rocks and when the hunk next door – a brooding ecologist on a mission to save the planet – proves too irresistible to ignore, she’s got to relearn the rules of the dating game while figuring out how to run a successful boutique.
Unfortunately, someone’s far too interested in an 19th century example of advertising art in her collection and will go to any means – legal or illegal – to acquire it.
Maybe the planet isn’t the only thing that needs saving…
Bio: Corinne LaBalme lives in France and loves everything about it… except eating snails. Her articles about European fashion, food and fun destinations have appeared in The New York Times Travel section, Diversion, La Belle France and France Revisited. Her favorite place to write? Any Parisian café with a good croissant connection…
The setting for Summer People is founded on childhood memories of vacations on Cape Cod and based on my mother’s (very real) house in Brewster.
However, the romantic hero of Summer People — Rick Martell — is the kind of guy who exists only in our sweetest & beachiest dreams…. sigh!
Avis: Welcome to another interview Corinne! I’m so happy to see you again and hear more about your latest wonderful book Summer People! Let’s begin with this question:
Did you find Summer People easier or more difficult to write than French Ghost and why?
Corinne—Both Summer People and French Ghost sprang to life organically. What’s been much harder to write is the second book in the Paris Ghost-Writer Series. Too much backstory from Book One? Too little? Hopefully, thanks to a great editor, that question has been resolved and French Toast should be in print by the end of 2022. But then… there’s Book Three…
Avis: Yay! Book Three? I’m so excited to read more in the Paris Ghost Writer Series! But we want to learn more about Summer People. Our next questions is:
What was the hardest scene for you to write in Summer People?
Corinne: The picnic scene on the Truro beach was definitely the hardest to write. The reader already knows that Rick and Jessica are attracted to each other… so why can’t THEY figure it out? Yes, yes… they’ve both been burned before. Too bad there’s no soothing aloe lotion for bruised souls.
Avis: That picnic scene was a great scene, but you handled the tension and attraction so well! What about this question:
I loved the idea of dualling antique stores between Max and Jessica. Did you have a reason for setting this up as a major element in the story, and what was that reason?
Corinne: Oddly enough, this romance didn’t take its first-draft shape around a pair of lovers-to-be. The genesis for Summer People is a hunk of fantasy real estate and the people came second. Therefore, Wilder House is just as big a part of the book as Rick and Jessica. (Frankly, I’ve always thought that the brooding presence of Thornfield Hall and Manderly push Jane Eyre and Rebecca into similarly tricksy ménage à trois territory.) Those houses, alas, burned right down to the ground. Jessica, thank goodness, has installed 21stcentury fire alarms.
Avis: I love it when the setting becomes as much a character as the characters! That cute Victorian house is well described, and I wish I could have visited it! Thank you so much for participating in another interview and giving more insight into your latest publication, Summer People!
If readers want more information on Corinne LaBalme and her books, see the links below, and please check out the review that follows the links! Until next time. read on!
Review: Summer People, Corinne LaBalme’s latest novella, introduces Jessica Stratton who finds her fairy tale marriage to a New York socialite Maxwell Stratton is nothing but a sham, just as she is opening her summer project. Wilder House Antiques in Cape Cod has been a dream for years, a place to showcase her Americana antique collection in a house she prefers to her New York City townhouse.
LaBalme takes us from New York City and the hustle and bustle of Stratton Gallery Antiques to the beachside town of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Jessica loves everything about Cape Cod, the beautiful Victorian house she bought and renovated, the beach, the small laid-back community, but for her new neighbour, Cape Cod is perfect.
Rick Martell is attractive, but also overbearing. Her realtor friend, Nancy, talks him into helping Jessica, and he regrets meeting Jessica from their first meeting, when she beats him with a fireplace iron because she thinks he’s broken into her house and crashing on her floor. Then when he tries to help her move the heavy and cumbersome Hiawatha statue into her house, he is so offended, since he has indigenous ancestry and storms out.
Jessica is grateful for Rick’s help but unsure how to mend the bridges she keeps burning with him. LaBalme creates a perfect storm for Jessica when Eddie Winthrop returns after years in Europe. He steps into Jessica’s role as Max’s right hand person at the Stratton ‘Gallery and allows Jessica to embark on her dream of creating her own antique store in Cape Cod, but the blessing turns on our hero and becomes a curse in more ways than one.
LaBalme sets up a suspenseful story of one woman’s journey to independence and selfhood. Jessica learns she is the tough, smart woman her friends think she is, and that she can make her dreams come true. The mystery comes in a grand finale that will surprise and delight readers. This is a quick summer read, but it is a book for all seasons! It is sure to satisfy romance readers everywhere and is definitely deserves five-stars.
By Avis M. Adams