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A Guest Blog Post

For most of us, it’s been a long time since we read any of the great classic novels of literature.  I include myself among those numbers.  The classics have a lot to teach us: about story-telling, about creating interesting characters and captivating plots, as well as providing a valuable glimpse at life in times that are not our own.

9780451470959When my editor at Penguin and I were working on the format for the Lighthouse Library series, at first we wanted the library’s book club be a mystery club. Nothing wrong with that. But then we realized that there are a lot of cozy books out there featuring mystery book clubs and we wanted to do something different

We came up with the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library Classic Novel Reading Club.

At first my intention was to just have the club as a chance for the characters to get together (and let murder and mayhem ensue), but then I began trying to tie the book they are reading in with the plot of the novel.

It’s turned out to be a lot of fun. Rather than just refer to the book in passing, I thought I should re-read the classic novels and perhaps I could incorporate some aspects of them into my book.

In the second book in the series, Booked for Trouble, the group is reading Pride and Prejudice.  Lucy Richardson’s mother arrives in the Outer Banks to try to get Lucy to come home to Boston to marry the man the family intended for her.

In the third book, Reading Up A Storm (April, 2016), the club is reading Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stephenson. I re-read it myself, and greatly enjoyed it. The accents and the language can be hard to follow in some places, but it’s a rip-roaring tale of daring-do on the high seas and the Highlands of Scotland.

Reading Up A Storm begins when Lucy Richardson looks out the fourth floor window of the lighthouse. A storm is raging outside, and between the sheets of rain she sees lights on the beach. Lights where there should be no lights. The next morning a boat is found washed up and wrecked on the beach, lured to its doom by the mysterious lights.

As well as that, we have a long-lost heir, a crusty old sea-captain, and a climax Lucy borrows directly from Kidnapped.

“A… tale of men at sea, battling the elements,” says Butch Greenblatt to the book club.

I couldn’t have put it better myself.

 About the Book: READING UP A STORM : A Lighthouse Library Mystery by Eva Gates, NAL, paperback, 324 pages. 

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