The Brewster Book Store and Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters will co-host a book launch for New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Mitchard’s latest novel “The Good Son” (MIRA, 2022) on Jan. 20.
Mitchard, a resident of Brewster, came to prominence when her first novel, “Deep End of the Ocean,” was named the opening selection for Oprah’s Book Club in 1996.
A native of Chicago, Mitchard has had a long acquaintance with Cape Cod, first visiting while in college, and later on her honeymoon.
“I just loved everything about it, the light, the moody weather, the ocean, although I’m scared to death of the dark water, I like the sounds and smells and motion of the ocean,” she said during an email interview last week.
She moved to Brewster full-time a few years ago, “after a financial advisor that my husband trusted turned out to be a crook. Everything was gone except this little house and we moved here with our ridiculous number of kids and very little hope of anything. After a while of trying to get my feet under me emotionally, I kept on writing stories and, in a general way, everyone is happy here,” she says. “But Brewster is an excellent place to live, very down-to-earth.”
And for a writer, this is a wonderful place to live as she finds that “everything” in the landscape inspires her, including “the drama of the seashore and the dunes, the lovely towns and clapboard houses.”
“I love the wonderful early summer mornings, the sounds of all the house finches and hawks screaming while they hunt. I love having family visit in the summer, and that’s a great part about living in a place that people consider a destination,” she says. “But I like winter too. It’s not as punishing as the Midwest, where I’m from, but there’s a solemnity about it.”
Best of all for fans of Mitchard and for fans of books with a local Cape Cod setting, her next novel is set entirely on the Cape. “I’ve just started writing it,” she says. “It’s about an acclaimed young underwater photographer who has a complicated family life — until the moment when it becomes completely bizarre.”
Mitchard has now published 22 novels for adults and teens. She received Great Britain’s Talkabout Prize, the Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson Awards, and was named to the short list for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. Her essays have been published in magazines worldwide, anthologized and incorporate into school curricula.
“The Good Son” tells the story of Thea Demetriou, whose son Stefan went to prison for the “drug-fueled” murder of his girlfriend Belinda. When he is released three years later, Belinda’s mother galvanizes the small, tight-knit community where they live against him.
How does Thea react? She struggles to understand her son — both the sweet boy she has always known and the young man tormented by guilt and almost broken by his time in prison. As he tries to make amends in an outraged community, Thea learns that there is much she does not know about her son and even the night Belinda died.
In an advance review, Lisa Genova, another bestselling Cape Cod author, calls “The Good Son” “an engrossing story about forgiveness, redemption, and unconditional love.”
Mitchard’s event at Snowy Owl will be the first time that the Brewster Book Store has collaborated with the coffee house for a book launch. Last October, Jessica MacKenzie Devin bought Brewster Book Store at 2648 Main St. with her partner Sue O’Malley.
“Like me, she is super excited to be building upon the store’s history so that the community continues to have a wonderful place for all things book-related,” Devin says.
Devin’s mother and aunt were the store’s sole employees many years ago, and Devin, along with her siblings and cousins, also worked there. Devin describes herself as a “passionate reader” since childhood. So, buying the store was something of a homecoming. While the bookstore regularly hosts summertime events such as two or three author signings per week, this event with food, drink and an author speaking, is new. The Snowy Owl is obtaining a one-day beer wine and beer license for the event, and food will also be available.
Last week Devin was putting the final touches on the evening’s details. She adds that the event will be conducted in a safe manner in light of the pandemic. “The Good Son” will be released on Jan. 18, two days before the event, and Mitchard will sign copies. Also available at the event will be Mitchard’s older books.
The Brewster Book Store will celebrate its 40th anniversary in April, “a big marker for the store,” Devin says. She wants to “give back to the community that has given so much to the bookstore.”
To register for the launch of Mitchard’s “The Good Son” on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 6 p.m., visit www.brewsterbookstore.com or www.socoffee.co or call the Brewster Book Store at 508-896-6543. You can also pre-order “The Good Son” through the bookstore. The event will be held at Snowy Owl Coffee House at 2624 Main St., Brewster.