Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cool Book of the Week: Secrets of Hallstead House

Secrets of Hallstead House

by Amy Reade

Would your grandmother like this book?
My grandmother would love this book. It’s more sweet than spicy, and it’s been compared to books by Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and Daphne Du Maurier. My grandmother loved Phyllis Whitney, and in fact, it was at my grandparents’ home on the St. Lawrence River where I first discovered Phyllis Whitney’s books. I was there for the day because I was sick and couldn’t go to school and I was looking for something to read. 

P.S. My grandmother would love anything I write just because I wrote it. Isn’t that what grandmothers do?

What is your elevator pitch?
Macy Stoddard moves to the Thousand Islands following a family tragedy in New York, but finds that she is unwelcome and despised for reasons she doesn’t understand. She is forced to make a choice between going back to New York and helping an elderly woman uncover the secrets that haunt her.  

How did you come up with the plot?

When I was thinking about the plot, all the action in my head just naturally occurred in the Thousand Islands, near where I grew up. I knew the novel would be set there, and I knew I wanted to write a story about family secrets and betrayal and that my main character would be a woman. The details just grew and blossomed at that point.

How is this book different from other books in this genre?

Secrets of Hallstead House is categorized as romantic suspense, but I think it also has a gothic feel to it. Not in the sense that there is anything supernatural going on (no magicians, no vampires), but in the sense that the setting is very important to the story. The house and the island where the story takes place are almost characters in their own right. I’m so pleased when a reader tells me that I’ve inspired them to visit the Thousand Islands through the atmosphere that I’ve described in the book.   

Why is your book cool?
My book is cool because it appeals to readers who like romantic suspense that is more suspense than romance. It’s cool because I wrote something that I’m not embarrassed to let my kids or my parents or my own grandmother read! It’s cool because the story is a nice introduction to the Thousand Islands. And it’s cool because it’s been compared with some of the greats of romantic suspense and Gothic literature!

About the book:

Macy Stoddard is a young nurse from Manhattan who loses both parents in a drunk driving accident. She takes a job as a private nurse to Alex Hallstead in the Thousand Islands of upstate New York in an attempt to get a fresh start, a fresh perspective.

But soon she realizes that not everyone on the island welcomes her. The boat captain is aloof and suspicious of Macy, the sour and domineering housekeeper and her simpering husband obviously resent her presence, and Alex’s handsome nephew seems to delight in tormenting Macy for reasons known only to him.

Macy learns of Alex’s tragic past and of the fears that continue to haunt her. And when Macy learns about her own connection to the island, one she never dreamed of, she has to choose between her own sanity and helping Alex discover the truth behind the mysteries on Hallstead Island.

Why reviewers think Secrets of Hallstead House is cool:

"I was unable to put down Amy Reade's debut novel "Secrets of Hallstead House." The descriptions in the novel transported me to the Thousand Islands and I could actually feel the chill in the early fall air. I also enjoyed learning the history of the Thousand Islands and the trips made to Boldt Castle and the other islands. The romance between Macy and Pete was beautifully written. Amy Reade's second novel cannot come soon enough for this reader."

"This story has twists and turns so you don't know what will happen until the very end. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. I especially like the true historic stories woven through the book. I thought I knew about this area of the St. Lawrence River, but I was mistaken."

"I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery, and those who like to be drawn into the setting as they read. I believe this is Amy M. Reade’s first book and I will definitely be looking for more books by this author."

About the author:

Amy M. Reade grew up in upstate New York, just a few miles from the St. Lawrence River and the Thousand Islands region. After graduating from college and law school and practicing law in Manhattan, she moved to southern New Jersey, where she lives near the ocean with her family and three pets, two of whom treat her more like staff than owner. Her second novel, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, is set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina and will be released in April, 2015. She is currently working on her third novel, set on the Big Island of Hawaii. 

Connect with Amy:
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Buy the book:
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