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The Martha’s Vineyard Beach and Book club, Inspired by my Mother’s Stories of Growing Up on Martha’s Vineyard, is on the Way

I’m so excited to share my new novel, coming spring of 2025, The Martha’s Vineyard Beach and Book Club, which was inspired by my mother Joanne Finnegan Hall’s stories of growing up on the Vineyard during WWII.

The story in a nutshell: Mari Starwood arrives on Martha’s Vineyard from Los Angeles after her mother dies. Having found the address of famous painter Elizabeth Devereaux’s waterfront farm in her mother’s belongings, Mari has come to the Vineyard under the pretext of taking a painting class to learn the connection her mother had to the island. Mrs. Devereaux tells Mari the story of the two Smith girls who lived on the farm and how Mari is connected to them, changing Mari’s life forever. It’s inspired by my mother’s life growing up on Martha’s Vineyard in the 1940s and her family, the Smiths, who came to the Vineyard in the 1800s.

Thank goodness I’ve been collecting Martha’s Vineyard ephemera for years since these old postcards helped me bring the book’s settings alive. They’re not all from 1942 when the Smith girls’ story takes place, but close enough. They include the old Bayside Club  (which was called The Bay) in Vineyard Haven on the corner of Main Street and Owen Little Way (my mother’s best friend Betty Cottle, inspiration for Bess Stanhope in the book, used to waitress here). The club members played tennis and used a waterfront recreation center known as the Bayside Casino.

Much of the book takes place, past and present, in Vineyard Haven, one of the two port towns on the Island, where my parents lived. Love this old view of Main Street. It’s not that different today:

Wonderful view of Vineyard Haven harbor as it once was:

The MVY airport has changed a lot. Actually not that much, LOL. The planes though thank goodness.

Emily Post’s house in Edgartown. For some reason there are a million different postcards of her house. I know she was a popular celeb at the time, but still.

 

A fun scene in the book takes place at the Edgartown Yacht Club, below.

Bird’s eye view of fun Oak Bluffs where another one of my favorite book scenes takes place.

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