Chatham, Brewster Settings For New Novels

by Debra Lawless

Never let it be said that the literary life is lacking in our area of Cape Cod.

Four authors who have found inspiration in Chatham and Brewster as settings for their novels will sign their works during this holiday weekend.

The new novel by Pamela Kelley, a USA Today bestselling author, is “The Seaside Sisters” (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2024). Kelley returns to the Chatham setting of her previous novel, “The Bookshop by the Bay,” to write about bestselling author Hannah, whose first book, a “beachy romantic comedy,” went viral on TikTok. Hannah’s second book is supposed to be a spinoff, but she’s blocked and stressed and taking Ativan. For a change of pace, Hannah goes to stay with her aunt in an ocean-front house in Chatham. Hannah’s sister Sara, meanwhile, is an unemployed librarian. During the summer in Chatham the pair make new friends, renew their love of books, and find romance. As in her previous novel, scenes are set in the Chatham Squire, the Impudent Oyster and other familiar spots.

Kelley says she loves the Chatham setting because of the town’s “quaint small town” vibes. Due out in September is “The Christmas Inn,” also set in Chatham. Kelley, who lives in Plymouth, grew up in West Yarmouth. She will sign “The Seaside Sisters” on Friday, July 5 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Brewster Book Store, 2648 Main St. in Brewster.

Also at Brewster Book Store, author Tim Button will lead a children’s story-time hour on Thursday, July 11 from 10 to 11 a.m. Button’s new board book is “Are You Wiggly?” (The Collective Book Studio, 2023).

Author Barbara Eppich Struna set her novel “The Old Cape Map” (Bestruna Books, 2024) in her town of Brewster.

“The Old Cape Map” is the fifth installment of Struna’s Old Cape Series of history and suspense novels. As in her previous four novels featuring the amateur sleuth Nancy Caldwell, Struna travels in time between the present day and, in this book, 1900. To solve this mystery Nancy is joined by her niece Jane as they track a long-lost pirate’s treasure. The question is: Will they find the loot before the conniving Max Appleton does?

Struna says that Nancy is “me in so many ways.” Like Struna, Nancy is married to an artist with a gallery at his antique home on Route 6A in Brewster. As in her previous books, Struna’s settings in and near Brewster evoke Cape Cod’s magic.

Struna will sign “The Old Cape Map” at Yellow Umbrella Books at 501 Main St. in Chatham on Friday, July 5 from noon to 2 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, July 13 and 14, she will appear at the Brooks Park Summer Arts and Crafts Festival in Harwich.

Author Iris Glazner Leigh’s debut suspense novel “Liza’s Secrets: A Cape Cod Thriller” (Black Rose Writing, 2024) is set in an off-season Chatham where the skies are often gray. “Liza’s Secrets” is the story of a woman who escapes from her abusive, psychopathic husband Barry in New Jersey one dramatic night. Liza, formerly known as Franny, flees her old life leaving everything but her cat, Licorice. “Hate tastes of blood and rage,” is the book’s opening sentence.

Even while Liza thinks she has found the perfect hideout in Chatham, people from her hometown keep popping up. The book poses the question: What would you do if you had to start all over again? Inspiring the novel is Leigh’s professional career as an international presenter on bullying prevention and as an occupational therapy educator.

Leigh will sign “Liza’s Secrets” at Yellow Umbrella Books on Friday, July 5 from noon to 2 p.m. She will also speak at the Snow Library in Orleans on Tuesday, July 9 at 5 p.m. and at the Eldredge Public Library in Chatham on Thursday, July 25 at 4 p.m. Registration is recommended for the talk through

Author Matt Fitzpatrick returns with his first crime novel set in Chatham, “Forsythia’s Ride” (Van Velzer Press, 2023).

While the book opens in New York City, “it’s a Chatham book throughout,” Fitzpatrick says. “It’s a coming-of-age story that draws on our town and the local flavor.”

Setting off the chain of events is the title character, Forsythia, “Fory” to her friends, who steals her boss’s briefcase. Chatham is apparently a great place to run to when you’re on the lam because like the characters in the novels by Kelley and Leigh, it’s where Forsythia heads. Forsythia seeks refuge with her eccentric, aging aunt Mary in Eastward Point. Here’s what Forsythia doesn’t know: Mary was an operative for the IRA.

“Forsythia’s Ride” is Fitzpatrick’s fourth novel. His first novel in 2018 was “Crosshairs: A Justin McGee Mystery.” He says he will begin writing a fifth novel in the winter.

Fitzpatrick will sign “Forsythia’s Ride” at Yellow Umbrella Books on Saturday, July 6 from noon to 3 p.m. He will also sign his novel at Reed Books in Harwich Port, on Sunday, Aug. 18 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Tickets are still available for some of the 2024 Author Literary Luncheons sponsored by Chatham’s Where the Sidewalk Ends Books and held at the Wequassett Resort in Harwich. Check the website for reservation information. The series runs through Aug. 15.