Update: Thanks to everyone who entered! Constance is the lucky winner of our giveaway. She has been notified by e-mail. We’ll be giving away books all summer so make sure you stop by again!
I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t reading, but the first book I remember owning and loving was The Pink Motel by Carol Ryrie Brink. I ordered it from the Weekly Reader Book Club which was something of a splurge for my family at the time, so I must have considered my options carefully. It had a cute pink cover and was about a mom who inherits a motel in Florida where the children are drawn into solving mysteries. For this Texas country girl, it was very exotic and adventurous. And the beginning of vicarious living and traveling with fictional characters.
Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys followed, but by seventh grade I was swept away to Tara in Gone With the Wind and the Canadian wilderness in Mrs. Mike. A Gothic romance phase followed with the Brontë girls and Mary Stewart. I still love British settings and stories with a bit of mystery in them.
My dad was the reader in our family, and not by coincidence, both my sisters and I caught the bug from him. Honestly, what’s not to admire about a man who saves up to buy his girls a set of World Book Encyclopedias and then proceeds to read them cover to cover starting with Volume A? He also devoured dime novels like they were Tic-Tacs.
Books have served me well not only as an escape, but also my yardstick for measuring life and its deeper meanings and yearnings.
As I’m writing this, I realized my latest release is about a woman who inherits a rundown tourist court in the bayou country of East Texas, and there’s a whisper of mystery in the tale. Ack! I’ve channeled my very first literary love. But, oh what a journey!
We’re giving away a signed copy of Carla’s latest novel, STARDUST. To be entered, simply leave a comment on this post telling us the first book you fell in love with. We’ll choose a winner at the end of today.
In the bayou country of East Texas, the neon sign of the STARDUST stands silent, no longer beckoning visitors to its cozy cottages. But two days after Georgia Peyton buries her unfaithful husband, a curious thing happens: the STARDUST sign sputters to life and winks at her. Sustained by a memory from the past and determined to build a new life, Georgia acquires the STARDUST with hopes of breathing new life into it too.
But the guests who arrive aren’t what Georgia expects: her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband’s mistress; an attractive drifter who’s tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia’s past. Dreams of a new life are crippled amid the havoc. Georgia’s only hope is that she can find the courage to forgive those who’ve betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxie to face the future. One thing is certain: under the flickering neon of the STARDUST, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Carla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by. A child of the fifties and sixties, she recalls it as a glorious time when the summers were lazy, colors were brighter, and music filled her heart. Carla’s desire is to take readers back to the times when they knew they were loved, to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called “home.”
Her award-winning novels include Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings. Stardust is her newest release. She loves readers and participating in book club discussions. You can learn more about Carla and ways to connect with her at www.carlastewart.com.
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.