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Guest Writer

Kylie Sebert Guest Writer Graphic

Kylie Sebert
Bookstagram Bonanza

Kylie Sebert Guest Writer Graphic

October 16, 2020

Dear Book Worms!

TGIF! I am so happy to introduce you to today’s Guest Writer, Kylie Sebert. This fellow Mainer is the creator of the wicked inspirational Bookstagram page, @notsotwentysomething. The beautiful pictures on her account are a testament to her passion for all things books and writing and miles and miles of gorgeous trails to hike. With over 7,000 followers, this book lover is one to follow. In addition to running a highly successful Bookstagram account, Kylie writes a monthly column called Kylie’s Book Nook for a local magazine in Iowa (her hometown ) called Lake Life AND works as an Event Planner/Writer in Portland, Maine.

Kylie lives in Yarmouth, Maine with her boyfriend and newly adopted kitties. I have had the pleasure of meeting Kylie several times and can personally vouch for her fabulousness.

I hope you enjoy her letter to Mr. H. I know I did!

❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. Kylie has a Master’s Degree of Fine Arts in Writing, with an emphasis in Fiction. She is hoping to start her first novel one of these days. I will be first in line to read it 🥰🥰🥰!

_________________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

It was very difficult to decide which book to recommend to you, especially after reading so many great books this year. Do I recommend a book from my favorite genre, some crazy thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat? Do I recommend a war-time historical fiction novel full of hardship and emotional scenes? No, I think the current state of the world calls for a different type of recommendation. I’m recommending a book from an author I turn to for the ultimate feel-good read. A little contemporary romance for you, Mr. H. Can you get into it? If anyone can get you there, it’s Elin Hilderbrand. 

I started reading Elin when I was 19 years old, working in my hometown at a bar on Lake Okoboji in the summertime. My mom gave me The Blue Bistro to read and I fell in love. I’m from a touristy town, and while it’s certainly no Nantucket, I could always relate so much to her characters living for the summers and taking full advantage of every bit of sunshine. While I could recommend every one of her books to you, Mr. H., I will start with 28 Summers. 28 Summers is the story of Mallory and Jake and their “Same Time Next Year” affair based on the classic film. They spend one weekend each year together and escape their real lives/worries. The story flashes back to the summers leading up to the present day, in such an original way of telling this love story that spans so many decades.⠀Each chapter actually starts with “What are we talking about in…” and then preps us on the big events of that particular year. Not only does she mention those events, but then weaves them into the story, adding in a unique historical fiction element to the piece. From 1993 to today, from 9/11 to the Me Too movement, she explores so much history, making this rise above your typical beach read.⠀⠀

I love Elin’s books for so many reasons but her characters are the reason I keep coming back. She dives in deep, especially in this one as you see such a large span of time with them. I loved Mallory’s character, a teacher who inherited her aunt’s house on Nantucket and totally falls in love with the island. She’s so independent and strong, men are her only vice which so many readers can relate to. There are so many other side characters you will love also. This one is full of strong female characters.⠀⠀

Elin writes Island life like no one else. Her books areunique in that once you enter her Nantucket world in her first book, you keep coming back in all subsequent books, meeting new characters, and adding to the charming community. You will see old characters pop up in new novels and it feels like old friends coming for a visit. I’m telling you Mr. H., you need to dive into this Hilderbrand summertime paradise for a little escape! I hope you love them as much as I do. 

Sincerely,

Kylie 

P.S. Click on the book pic below to purchase!

Guest Writer~Whitney Scharer

Author Edition

 

February 12, 2020

Dear Book Friends,

Happy Wednesday! I am thrilled to have Guest Writer Whitney Scharer on the blog today sharing one of her favorite books. Whitney’s debut historical fiction novel, The Age of Light (Little, Brown & Company), follows real-life Lee Miller, Vogue model turned renowned photographer/war correspondent. Click here to read what I had to say about this book. Whitney’s book was a 2019 Book of the Month Club pick and an IndieNext and Boston Globe bestseller. Parade, Glamour Magazine, and Real Simple Magazine all named The Age of Light, one of the best books of 2019. Pretty impressive, right?

I was so excited last year when I found out that Whitney was coming to Maine to talk about her book. The day before her event, I quickly discovered that my kids’ schedules trumped mine (always the way), and I was unable to make her reading. I decided to message Whitney explaining my dilemma and asked her to meet me over coffee to chat about her book (mind you, I am a complete stranger with a new blog and like two followers). I was pleasantly surprised when Whitney agreed to meet. Instead of coffee, we ended up having a spectacular brunch at The Press Hotel’s restaurant, Union in Portland, Maine. Whitney and I had a lovely meal and chatted all about her book, her writing process and the historical fiction genre. She is an absolute doll and wonderful to spend time with. I actually felt “cool 😎😎”” that day (hanging with an important author). It was such a pleasure and one I will always cherish.

I hope you enjoy her letter today to Mr. H.

Happy Reading,

Kelly

P.S. Literary Whitney plays Scrabble EVERYDAY (wicked smart)! When she was in 5th grade, she won 5th place in the Colorado State Spelling Bee (😮😮). When Whitney isn’t spending time with her husband and daughter, she is snuggling with her 3-month-old pup, Clementine. Let’s face it, she is probably snuggling all the time with this fluff ball. Clementine is also a fellow “Book Lover”…chewing books is love too❤️❤️❤️❤️!!!

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I’ve always loved reading historical fiction based on real people. There’s something so wonderful about falling into the world of a book and then being able to go to the library or online and learn the “story behind the story.” I loved reading Wolf Hall and getting a new, intimate perspective on Thomas Cromwell, or devouring Nancy Horan’s Loving Frank and reacquainting myself with the architecture and genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. But the book that changed my thinking about what historical novels could do and how we make fiction out of fact was Lily King’s Euphoria.

Euphoria is loosely based on the life of anthropologist Margaret Mead. King happened across a biography of Mead in a small used bookstore and was captivated by her entire life and story, yet her novel is based on a slim twelve-page section of the biography that centers around a 1933 research trip to the Sepik River, in New Guinea, where Mead (called Nell in the novel) and her second husband briefly worked with a man who would become Mead’s third husband. The relationship between the three anthropologists is passionate, both physically and intellectually, and King’s meticulous research and incredible scene-setting bring the world and love affair to vivid life. From the very first page of the book, when an angry tribe member tosses a dead baby at Nell’s head, and we learn that her husband may have intentionally broken her glasses, I felt completely immersed in this intense, violent world.

As a reader—and perhaps even more as a writer—the book blew me away. You could…do this? You could take a small slice of a real person’s life, fictionalize her name, infuse the story with your many hours of research, and make something that manages to capture a person’s essence while also feeling wholly, imaginatively invented? This, I realized, this is why I read historical fiction. To see how a modern writer’s brain can reinterpret history and make something that feels truer than fact.

Euphoria is a novel I can’t quit. I’ve read it seven or eight times. I’ve broken it down, outlined the structure, tried to understand the virtuosic way King tells the story. I’ve taught the first few pages in fiction writing workshops. I’ve recommended it at readings and given copies as gifts to more people than I can count. And just the other day, I received a delicious package in the mail: a galley of King’s new novel, Writers and Lovers, which comes out later this year. I can’t wait to read it.

Nice chatting with you, dear Mr. H—

Whitney

P.S. Click on my book below to purchase from my local book store.

Click on the book picture below to purchase Euphoria (Grove Press)by Lily King.

The Age of Light book cover
Book Cover for Euphoria

Guest Writer~Elin Hilderbrand

Author Edition

February 5, 2020

Dear Readers,

Can you believe this is week five of The Dear Mr. Hemingway Guest Writer~Author Edition Series? Today’s guest writer is someone I have been reading for years. New York Times best selling author, Elin Hilderbrand, has written into Mr. H. about one of her favorite books from the past decade. Elin is the author of 26 books and counting. Known as the Queen of summer reading, the majority of her books take place on the ever so charming island of Nantucket. Most recently though, two of her books (with a third waiting in the wing) take place in the Caribbean on the island of St. John. Family, friendship, love, loss, and so much more fill the pages of her stories. With books that never disappoint, Elin’s work will dazzle you.

Elin has been living on the island of Nantucket for over two decades. She is the mom to three teenagers and is an enthusiastic home cook. Though she lives full time on this tiny island off the coast of Cape Cod, MA, Elin has traveled on six continents. Her work ethic is supreme and her discipline simply can’t be measured (she exercises 3 hours every morning 😮) Since before I had my boys, her books have filled my summers with absolute joy.

For many years when my three boys were younger we would visit Nantucket for a week in the summer. I would save up my Elin Hilderbrand books (I called her “My Nantucket Author”) for that vacation each year. I escaped with her books under the sun sitting on Jetties Beach while my kiddos played in the sand. I would imagine her characters as I walked through town and frolicked around the island. The Blue Bistro is her book that hooked me. From there it just kept getting better and better. You can only imagine how excited I was when Elin said she would write a post for my blog. She is a wonderful author to work with and I can’t thank her enough for being a part of this series. Nantucket will always hold a special place in my heart……so will Elin Hilderbrand.

I hope you enjoy her post today!

❤️❤️❤️

Kelly

P.S. Elin handwrites ALL of her books!!!!!!!!!! WOW……that is a lot of writing! My hand hurts thinking about it!

____________________________

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

The best novel I’ve read in the past decade (yes, you read that correctly) and the one I’d love to recommend to you today is WHITE FUR by Jardine Libaire.

Let me start by telling you how many times I resisted reading this book.  The cover is ugly. The title…well, let’s say, the idea of white fur of any kind gives me the shivers.  I get my book recommendations from many of the same places that you do – magazines, Instagram and…my local independent bookseller.  My friend Cristina at Mitchell’s Book Corner on Nantucket raved about this book and insisted I read it — and although Cristina and I always like the same books, I said no thank you (because of aforementioned: cover, title.) Then Cristina got desperate – she GAVE it to me for free when I was in the store buying other books.  What could I do? I took it home.

October 2018…I went on my book tour for WINTER IN PARADISE.  I would be away for nine days and as I am always reading, I packed books.  I packed…THIN books (I travel with just a carry-on), and guess what? WHITE FUR is thin.  It went into my suitcase.

WHITE FUR is a marvel.  Simply put, it’s a wrong-side-of-the-tracks love story.  The prologue has a man lying in a motel bed in Wyoming and a woman pointing a sawed-off shotgun at him.  What is going on? Well, we don’t find out until the end of the book. Chapter one immediately relocates us in New Haven, Connecticut in the mid-eighties.  Elise Perez is living at just-above-poverty level with roommates right next door to Jamey Hyde, a junior at Yale. Elise and Jamey have a bit of a love-hate thing going on at first. He thinks she’s trashy, she thinks he’s a rich jerk (I’m watching my language here.)

But then, they hook up and things get HOT.

At first, both the reader (and the characters) think it’s just about sex.  It surprises them (and us) when the relationship turns into something more.  Once this happened, I was a complete goner. I fell in love with their love story, with Ms. Libaire’s gorgeous language, and with our two main characters.  Although Elise comes from a meager background, she has so much grit, so much spirit and so much personal integrity that we know right away she’s better-off than Jamey.  Jamey is from a phenomenally wealthy family. He’s set to inherit the family bank, we learn the outrageous story of his mother…the poor dude is saddled with sky-high expectations and for a while, it seems like he’s going to meet them.

But then, wow.

I can’t possibly say another word about the plot because I don’t want to ruin a thing.  Please take my advice and get your hands on WHITE FUR. There is a lot of explicit sex (which is the most difficult thing to write about well) and vivid, unforgettable descriptions of New York City in the 1980s.  I read the book because it was thin and fit in my carry-on suitcase and now it’s my number one recommendation. I hope that you love the book as much as I do. Wait until you find out how they end up in the Wyoming hotel room!!!

All my very best,

Elin Hilderbrand

P.S. Be on the lookout…….I have two forthcoming books this year: 28 SUMMERS out June 16th and TROUBLES IN PARADISE out October 6th.

Click here to purchase White Fur by Jardine Libaire.

Click here to pre-order 28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

Man on the Moon

Summer of '69 book cover

Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

June 25, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

WHOO-HOO Mr. H., the Queen of summer reading is back with another tale set on her Nantucket Island. Woodstock, man’s first moonwalk, and the Vietnam War were all part of America’s historical summer of 1969. Elin Hilderbrand’s new book, Summer of ‘69 is set during this wild time in our history. Hilderbrand tells the story of the Levin family, whose Nantucket lives are impacted by the highs and lows of this era. Fans of Hilderbrand will fall in love with her new historical fiction novel. Readers will go back in time to a Nantucket that existed in a different century but is still full of that same island charm. So put away your skinny jeans and pull out your bell-bottoms, you are boarding a ferry to Nantucket, circa 1969.

For as long as they can remember, the Levin family spent their summers vacationing on Nantucket at their grandmother’s house.  During the summer of 1969, the four Levin siblings were all navigating the ever changing world around them while living a part.  Blair is married and pregnant in Boston, Kirby is working on Martha’s Vineyard at an Inn, Tiger is a soldier in the Vietnam war and Jessie, the youngest, is stuck on Nantucket with her grandmother and mother. While her siblings are away living their adult lives, Jessie is left to deal with her overly anxious mother and uptight grandmother.  Feeling lonely and neglected, Jessie tries to discover who she really is and what true love is all about. The plot thickens when some of her siblings pop back over to Nantucket unexpectedly. Jessie soon comes across some surprise family secrets that will change their lives forever.

Hilderbrand took a turbulent time in our history and weaved it into the stories of her main characters. Though she used the events that occurred during the summer of 1969 as her backdrop, she still managed to stay true to her roots, using themes of love, family and self discovery in her book.  As always, there is family drama, secrets and a whole lot of summer magic to read about. The characters are spirited and lovable with storylines that live up to the time. I loved how Hilderbrand went back in history and wrote about the Civil Rights Movement, the impact of the Vietnam War and the Women’s Movement.  For good measure, she even included Ted Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick car accident and the historical Apollo 11 lunar landing that forever changed space exploration.

What Hilderbrand proves over and over again in her new book, is just how timeless Nantucket really is.  No matter the century, this small island always shines as a safe haven and a place that brings family back together.  The Summer of ‘69 was another Hilderbrand slam dunk for me.  Put this beauty in your beach bag and get reading!!!!!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  David Bowie’s song, Space Oddity debuted five days before the Apollo 11 mission in 1969.  Though it was inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s movie, A Space Odyssey, it’s overall vibe was perfect for a landing on the moon!!!!!

Click here to purchase Summer of ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

The Light of Our Time

Book cover for the Age of Light

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer

May 8, 2019

Dear Mr. Hemingway,

I love reading historical fiction. History infused with a splash of fiction is my cup of tea. Instead of reading a boring straight-up history book, why not read about the past with some added color and a little bit of oomph. Well Mr. H., I just got my fix reading Whitney Scharer’s debut novel, The Age of Light. Her story follows real-life Lee Miller, Vogue model turned renowned photographer/war correspondent. This story sheds light on Miller’s steamy, yet thorny relationship with Surrealist artist and photographer, Man Ray. Taking place primarily during the late 1920s and early 1930s in Paris, this book is filled to the brim with starving artists, lovers, cafes, and cocktails galore. With writing that stuns and a book cover to match, Scharer delivers a decadent treat.

I have to be honest with you.  I did not know who Lee Miller was before reading this.  I may have heard Man Ray’s name in passing, but truly did not know who these people were.  Scharer’s story is told from Miller’s perspective through multiple timelines. Though the story primarily takes place during Miller’s time in Paris, Scharer intertwines her story from the 1940’s as well.  Miller graced the cover of Vogue magazine in 1927 and became the most sought after model in NYC at that time. As much as modeling was a huge part of her, Miller wanted to shift her focus to creating art as opposed to being art.  She moved to Paris in the late 1920’s and became the student of the famous Man Ray. What started off as a working relationship, quickly became an affair to remember. Ray and Miller’s relationship was overflowing with passion and art.  Miller’s journey to make a name for herself in the art world with her photography no doubt involved Ray. As much as she tried to break away on her own, her relationship with Ray was always present and ultimately had a huge impact on her career.

Scharer’s writing is totally captivating. The Age of Light sucked me in from the start.   With Vogue magazine, Salvador Dali, Picasso and even mentions of Hemingway in the background, Scharer paints a lush and glamorous atmosphere that makes you feel like you are in a scene from a movie sipping a fabulous cocktail among Paris’s most artistic crowd.  Scharer’s story shows off the intensity of Miller and Ray’s relationship. Though they adored one another, their feelings were overpowered by passion, egos and the need to get ahead in their own careers. The Age of Light portrayed Miller as a woman seeking independence and respect in a male dominated world.  Her transformation from muse to photographer and what she had to do in order to walk out of Man Ray’s shadow was potent.  Miller’s trek from the imaginative streets of Paris to the war-ravaged towns in Europe during the second World War, highlighted her resolution to be a distinguished photographer in her own right.   The Age of Light is a moving story from start to finish.  Not only did the ending of this story leave me craving for more information about this influential artist from the past, it also had me reaching for a tissue to blot my tearful eyes.

Go get your passports readers……….you are heading to Paris (with a few stops in between).  Bon Voyage!!!!!!

Talk soon Mr. H.!!!

Your Biggest Fan,

Kelly

P.S.  Click here to check out a photograph of Hemingway taken by Man Ray.  There is a scene in the book that mentions this encounter!

Click here to purchase The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer

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