Author: Ruth Coe Chambers
Type of book: Florida, misfit, drugs, family, ghosts, mysteries, 1879, 1987, secrets, emotions, exploration, history, marriage, love
Year it was published: 2017
Secrets, lies, and murder haunt The House on the Forgotten Coast, a magical novel set in Apalachicola, Florida, in the late 1980s. The novel begins with the beautiful Annelise Lovett Morgan, who, powerless in the face of her southern heritage, is forced to marry the mature Coulton Morgan instead of the young man who has captured her heart, artistic Seth Mitchell. But seventeen-year-old Annelise dies on her wedding day in 1879, never to live in the remarkable house built as a wedding gift from her father--and her story ends there, until Elise Foster's parents buy the historic house in 1987. When this happens, the house becomes a portal whereby Annelise and Elise, two young women from very different centuries, meet to solve a murder that occurred 100 years earlier.
Main characters include Elise, her mother Margaret, her stepfather Edwin and the town residents which include Peyton Roberts, Nadine Fletcher, and Ty Roberts who is distantly related to Peyton. Elise has always been a misfit and has only one friend. She cannot fit in even within her family. However when her family moves to Florida, she seems to completely change in profound ways. She is a sensitive young woman attuned to higher spirits. Margaret and Edwin have their own secrets they keep from Elise, including why they rarely if ever talk about Elise's biological father Gene as well as the true purpose for them moving to Florida. I imagine that Peyton Roberts sees himself as an actor and as ladies' man. He is loyal, sweet, extremely flirty and prefers old ways to new. Nadine Fletcher is a retired teacher who tells Elise more about the mysterious house, and Ty Roberts has fallen in love with Elise, although that feeling is not reciprocated by her. There are numerous other characters, but I think it will be more fun to read the book to find out who they are.
I've read the book from cover to cover, and I'm not sure I got what it was trying to teach me; is it that mysteries cannot stay hidden forever?
The story is in third person narrative from pretty much all the characters' points of view, and is more of exploration of small town rather than a ghost story as the reader may hope from the summary. I think I expected to see more of Annelise's timeline beyond the mere snippet provided in beginning of her wedding, which disappointed me. What was good is the slow evolution of Elise and a love interest's romance and of the best way for a man to show he is interested in a woman.
(From Poetic Book Tours)
Ruth Coe Chambers takes pride in her Florida panhandle roots and her hometown of Port St. Joe has inspired much of her writing.
She is indebted to the creative writing classes at the University of South Florida where she found her “voice” and began writing literary fiction. Listed in the Who’s Who of American Women. She has recently republished one novel, and published it’s sequel, and has written two award-winning plays. She is currently working on the third novel in her Bay Harbor Trilogy. She has two daughters and lives with her husband and one very spoiled Cairn terrier in Neptune Beach, Florida.
Her two earlier novels include The Chinaberry Album and Heat Lightening.
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I only read the book once, and I get the feeling this is a type of book that needs to be read multiple number of times to really appreciate it, thus I feel guilty for my rating. From the start the tale is intriguing and I loved the interactions and hidden secrets between Elise and her family members. I also thought that Elise might have suffered from disability where her senses confuse one with another. (For example, people who can taste triangles instead of tastes.) I also liked the mystery of Annelise and how she connected to the small town. And I also liked the ending when some things finally began to make sense and a feeling of creepiness came in. Unfortunately, I found many aspects of the story confusing, one being the reincarnations which the author seems to hint at, and who was reincarnation of one man and who was another. I also expected for the story to be one thing, but it turned out to be another instead. I think what I expected is for the story to be a little similar to Alice Sebold's Lovely Bones, at least in terms of a narrator guiding people towards one conclusion, but instead the story tackled the issues of being in a small town and of progress versus tradition.
This is for Poetic Book Tours
Nov. 16: Bookfan Mary (Spotlight/Giveaway)
Nov. 20: I’d Rather Be at the Beach (Review)
Dec. 1: Book Nerd Native (Review)
Dec. 13: Silver’s Reviews (Spotlight/Giveaway)
Dec. 15: Readaholic Zone (Review)
Dec. 20: 100 pgs. A Day .. Stephanie’s Book Reviews (Review)
Dec. 28: Broken Teepee (Review)
Dec. 29: Modern Creative Life (Guest Essay)
Jan. 3: Wall-to-Wall Books (Review)
Jan. 8: Svetlana Reads and Views (Review)
Jan. 13: Jorie Loves A Story (Review)
Jan. 18: Erica Robyn Reads (Review)
TBD: Book Nerd Native (Guest Post/Giveaway)
TBD 2018: All Roads Lead to the Kitchen (Review)3 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)