Saturday, July 14, 2012
Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan and giveaway
Title: LOVE FINDS YOU IN MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN
Author: Melanie Dobson
Publisher: Summerside Press
Genre: Inspirational/historical romance
Elena Bissette’s family is suffering financial ruin at the end of the gilded age. The bank is going to foreclose on the factory and the house. The family decides to take on last summer vacation to Mackinac Island, Michigan, where Mrs. Bissette plans to marry Elena off to Chester Darrington, a wealthy bachelor, hoping to save her family’s finances. Elena agrees to marry for money, but meeting Chester is harder than she imagines, especially once he hears rumors that she’s chasing him.
When Elena goes up to her favorite escape on the island, an old forgotten lighthouse, she discovers an ancient mystery—and the man of her dreams, a man who introduces himself as Chase. She and Chase quickly develop feelings for each other, but Elena knows her duty to her family.
Will Elena marry for money to save her family—or will she marry for love?
LOVE FINDS YOU IN MACKINAC ISLAND, MICHIGAN, is set on a place I would dearly love to visit. I grew up in Michigan, most of my life, but I’ve never been on that magical island. I love lighthouses, I love the Great Lakes, and I love Michigan. Ms. Dobson was able to bring it all to life on the pages of this book.
I loved Elena and her story; she was a sweet heroine all the way through. I don’t know how much I can say about our hero without giving away the story, but I will say that at some points he is a real sweetie, and others, he’s very rude and insensitive. Still, this is one of the best historical romances I’ve read recently and I highly recommend it. $12.99.
320 pages. 5 stars.
Romance, Mystery and the Wonder of God’s Creation
Author Melanie Dobson transports readers to a magical place and time to reveal God’s majesty
Not only does God love to create, He also loves His creation. This is the message author Melanie Dobson hopes that her readers gain from her latest release Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan (Summerside Press/July 1, 2012/ISBN 978-1609366407/$12.99) that combines historical romance with her trademark element of mystery.
A story filled with beauty and wonder, Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan transports readers to a magical place and time. The story begins in the 1890s at the end of the Gilded Age, a golden era of prosperity and growth. As the Gilded Age comes to a close, the kingdoms of many wealthy industrialists begin to collapse, including the once-wealthy Bissette family who has nearly lost its fortune. However, the Bissettes still own a home on the fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing their daughter Elena to a wealthy suitor.
Not only is Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money, she quickly grows tired of the extravagant balls and spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac’s rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse where they discover a mysterious tattered diary.
As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly plots to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island’s most eligible bachelor. While marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes’ financial woes, Elena is torn between duty to her family and true love.
The Love Finds You series from Summerside Press is a collection of novels that captures the flavor of towns and cities across the country with colorful histories. The towns become as much of a part of the stories as the characters themselves. Researching the towns in which her novels are set is the aspect of historical fiction that Dobson enjoys most. In writing Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan, she was able to explore the island that has intrigued her since her early years growing up in Ohio. “I've always been fascinated by Mackinac Island because I was told time seemed to stand still there,” explains Dobson. “From the moment I got off the boat, I could sense it was a magical place. There are no cars on the island so people ride bikes or horse-drawn carriages through the charming village and back into the forest. The island has been a popular vacation destination on the east coast since 1819, so it’s rich with fascinating history and lore.”
In the midst of writing this book, Dobson went to Haiti to help lead a retreat for the wives of Haitian pastors. Each member of their team spoke on a different name of God, and Dobson spoke about God as Mighty Creator. “As I researched God's passion for creating and the love He has for His creation, it was a joy for me to incorporate the wonder and beauty of the universe into this historical novel. I hope that readers leave with a sense of God's majesty on this beautiful island.”
About the Author
Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside’s Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense).
She enjoys the research process that comes along with being an author of historical fiction so much that she often has a difficult time stopping the research on the history and locale in order to start the writing. Because Melanie visits each location she writes about, she’s been able to spend time in the beautiful and fascinating towns across the country that bring her stories to life.
Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years.
She met her husband, Jon, in Colorado Springs, but since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. Along with their two daughters, Karly and Kiki, they now enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific.
When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.
Q: Was there any special inspiration for the story? And why Mackinac Island?
I've always been intrigued by Mackinac Island (a very popular vacation destination on the east coast) because I was told time seemed to stand still there. There are no cars on the island so people ride bikes or horse-drawn carriages, and from the moment you get off a boat, you can sense it is a magical place.
Q: How does this book differ from your other books, including the Love Finds You series?
Love Finds You in Mackinac Island is a historical romance with an element of mystery (like my other novels). Many of my recent books have been about different religious groups, but this story is about high society in the 1890s. Readers will recognize and I hope enjoy some of the characters and twists inspired by Jane Austin's novels.
I love being one of the writers for the Love Finds You series! I grew up in a small town in Ohio and have always been intrigued by small towns and their stories. The opportunity to research and write about unique towns has been an absolute joy for me.
Q: Do you decide where the books in the Love Finds You (LFY) series are set, or does the publisher assign locales? How do you decide where the story is set?
Summerside has asked me to write about a specific locale before, but usually I send my wonderful editor a couple ideas of places where I'd like to set a story and we work from there. My book LFY in Liberty, Indiana was set in Liberty because they were a major hub on the Underground Railroad, and the name Liberty was quite fitting for their work helping runaway slaves. LFY in Amana and Homestead were set in the Amana Colonies--a place I've been intrigued about since I was a child. I've also been intrigued about Mackinac Island since my early years, growing up in Ohio.
Q: Do you always get the opportunity to visit the places your books are set?
I always visit the locations for my Love Finds You books before I write about the towns because the setting is ingrained in these stories. I usually post blogs about my visits to the locations once the books are released if you would like to read about some of my adventures. http://melaniedobson.blogspot.com
Fortunately, my next novel (Where the Trail Ends, releasing in October) is set on the Oregon Trail so I didn't have to go far to research it.
Q: You’ve written in more than one genre including historical and contemporary. What genre or time period is your favorite and why?
My desire is to write stories that stir people's heart and soul--whether historical or contemporary--but my favorite genres would be to write historical romance and romantic suspense. I love to research--so much so that it's sometimes hard for me to stop and actually write the book. :)
Q: The book takes place in the Gilded Age. What/when was the Gilded Age?
The Gilded Age was a golden age of prosperity and growth in the United States from the late 1860s through the early 1890s. My story begins at the end of the Gilded Age when the kingdoms of many wealthy industrialists began to collapse.
Q: For such a small island, how did Mackinac Island become such a popular getaway? How long has it been a tourist destination?
The resort island nestled into a strait below Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is known by many names. Fairy Island. Land of the Giant Turtle. And my personal favorite—the island that time forgot.
From the moment I stepped off the ferry and heard the clip-clopping of horses’ hooves along the island’s historic Main Street, I was transported back a good hundred years. Pronounced “Mackinaw” like Mackinaw City (but spelled differently so the post office could differentiate between the island and town), Mackinac Island is a place that time did indeed seem to forget.
Even today, Mackinac Island reflects an era when the wealthy and their servants escaped the heat and grime in cities like Chicago and Detroit to enjoy natural spring waters and cool lake breezes. It was an era when women wore beaded gowns and plumed hats and twirled parasols in their gloved hands, when people were just beginning to talk about horseless carriages as they rode in their own horse-drawn carriages to an elaborate ball at the Grand Hotel or to an afternoon tea at what their neighbors would call a “cottage”—a residence that more closely resembled a castle. A nineteenth-century writer once said that the island was so healthy, a person had to leave Mackinac to die.
Mackinac Island hasn’t swung far beyond the era of the Victorians, and both residents and visitors alike savor the past. Its diverse history goes back hundreds of years, when Native Americans considered the island the home of their Great Spirit and local tribes gathered there each summer to fish. In the 1700s, lucrative French and American fur companies made their homes and millions of dollars on Mackinac until the British took over during the War of 1812 and held the island for three years before returning it to the United States.
Then, in 1819, the first steamship of tourists arrived.
However, the investors in the Grand Hotel made it a premier summer destination when they built the hotel in 1887. The Grand Hotel (on the cover of the book) celebrates its 125 anniversary this summer.
Q: What do you hope readers come away with after reading Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan?
I hope readers will be inspired by God's majesty and be reminded that not only does God love to create, He also loves His creation.
I've published ten novels now, and LFY in Mackinac Island was one of my favorite books to write. This story (I hope) is filled with beauty and wonder. It's about a magical place, during a magical time, and I hope that readers leave with a sense of God's majesty on this beautiful island where time has seemed to stand still.
Q: As you were writing this book, you were able to travel to Haiti to lead a women’s retreat. Tell us how you were able to tie your preparation and experience there into the book.
In the midst of writing this book, I went to Haiti to help lead a retreat for the wives of Haitian pastors. Our whole team spoke on a different name of God, and I spoke about God as Mighty Creator. As I researched God's passion for creating and the love He has for His creation, it was a joy for me to incorporate the wonder and beauty of the universe into this historical novel.
For more about Melanie Dobson and her books, visit www.melaniedobson.com.
Celebrate with Melanie by entering her Kindle Giveaway!
One grand prize winner will receive:
• A brand new Kindle Fire
• Signed copies of Melanie’s Love Find You books: Love Finds you in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa, Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana.
Hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/4/12. The winner will be announced on 8/6/12 on Melanie’s blog!
Just click one the box on the sidebar to enter. Tell your friends about Melanie's giveaway onFACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.