At last, at last, First Came Baby is in the world!
It’s such a delight to finally be able to share this story with all of you. And yes, it’s a little bittersweet, as this marks the last visit I’ll be making to Comeback Cove. But oh, what a wonderful time we’ve had. And how better to wind up the series than with a book that includes my favorite elements – babies, family, and second chances – while also answering the question of Comeback Cove’s legendary long-lost treasure?
Oh, wait! There is one other special way to celebrate, and that’s by announcing the winner of my most recent contest! Gail H. won the beautiful alpaca fingerless gloves and hat set from Awamaki, the organization which was the inspiration for the group Boone works with in this book. Gail, be watching your inbox for instructions on how to claim your prize!
I have so loved introducing readers to my little make-believe corner of the world. Thank you, one and all, for sharing this ride with me.
With thanks and joy –
In 1924, at the height of Prohibition, Charlie Hebert was the most infamous rum runner in the Thousand Islands. No one knew the river and its hidden coves the way he did. No one could slip through the American patrols as easily. No one else took as much pure joy in taunting the authorities while carrying out what he laughingly referred to as a public service, delivering contraband liquor to the poor thirsty Americans.
And no one else was foolish enough to fall for the daughter of one of those thirsty Yanks. Except Daisy Sheridan was anything but poor. And her father wasn’t nearly as easy to deceive as the authorities.
Charlie and Daisy’s courtship was mostly a thing of the night, of furtive trips to the dock followed by races across the dark waters of the Saint Lawrence to one of the many hidden places Charlie knew. He begged Daisy to elope with him but her grandmother was dying. Much as she wanted to be with Charlie, she could not ruin her grandmother’s last weeks of life. Their compromise was to have Charlie smuggle in a trusted friend, a pastor, who married them in secret one moonlit night. The plan was to spend as much time together as they could until her grandmother’s death and then run away together.
Then Daisy found out she was pregnant.
Dying grandma or not, they had to get away. But Charlie, who had never held back when it came to his own safety, knew that their escape route would take them directly through the American patrols. He never hesitated to play hide and seek when it was just him, but he refused to risk the welfare of Daisy and their unborn child. It was time to play his hidden ace.
During his many days spent exploring the islands in search of places to hide, Charlie had stumbled across something that took his breath away, something so out of his experience that at first he couldn’t even fathom what it was. It took many secret visits before he accepted that he had stumbled across a stash of items looted from the White House before it was burned in the War of 1812.
Charlie had no problem breaking laws he regarded as idiotic, but he had an appreciation of history and knew that the items he had uncovered should be returned to the Americans. When it became clear that he and Daisy would need to flee he sent one item from the trove to the Americans with a proposal: he would reveal the location of the rest of the items in return for safe passage for Daisy and himself.
His proposal was accepted.
On the designated night, Daisy kissed her grandmother goodbye, left a note for her parents, and joined Charlie. What happened next was never fully sorted out, but what no one disputes was that the darkness erupted with gunfire. Charlie pushed Daisy down, shielding her with his body as he raced their boat back across the waters. They eluded the gunmen but it was too late. Charlie had been hit.
Daisy got them to his family in Comeback Cove, but it was too late. Charlie died without ever regaining consciousness. He never got to tell his family that he and Daisy were married. Never saw his son.
Never told anyone where to find the treasure.
For the past few months I’ve spent my Thursday mornings volunteering at my local library, running the little cafe. It’s a quiet job. Thursday mornings aren’t the prime time for the cafe, and most of the library traffic consists of folks heading to story time and others who need things notarized. But in the time I’ve been here, I’ve run into former neighbors, waved at dozens of kiddos, and made some new friends, all while ringing up cups of coffee and tapping out blog posts.
The variety of folks is fascinating. There’s the retired man who hangs out at one of the cafe tables to read the newspaper and spout conspiracy theories in my direction. (Yes, he’s a peach 🙂 ) There are the preschoolers who come with their child care provider, all holding hands in a line and waiting patiently for their turn to push the button that opens the door. There’s the many, many little ones who stop to spin the giant globe standing in the lobby, and the adults with them who patiently point out the various countries and put them in context for the little ones – “That’s China, that’s where Aunt Sophie goes for work.” “That’s England, that’s where Harry Potter lives.” There are folks in wheelchairs and senior citizens and people who need directions and people who simply want a quiet place to get a cup of coffee and be at peace.
It always surprises me when people tell me they don’t use their local library. Not only for the Your Tax Dollars At Work factor, but because there’s such a huge variety of media and programs and events taking place there. Many’s the time I’ve wished I could just spend all my weekdays there, because at least at my library, I could find a book club or a story time or a community meeting or a lecture happening almost every hour they’re open.
For now, though, I must limit my visits. But no matter how long or how short the visit, I always walk in with a sense of anticipation, because the library truly does have it all.
Of course I had a playlist for First Came Baby. I don’t think it’s possible for me to write a book without gravitating toward certain songs and hearing them in my head as I’m writing, or running errands, or sometimes even in my dreams. Some songs show up in multiple playlists. Others are definitely unique to one character, one story. I don’t always understand what pulls me to a certain song, but I do know that when it belongs to a book, I’ll know it. It just feels right.
So which songs called to me for this book?
Four Strong Winds, Ian and Sylvia. This is the song I most closely associate with Boone. He’s not a drifter but he’s definitely a man who doesn’t think he can stay, doesn’t think there’s any real hope for him and Kate to be together, and that they’ll be better off in the long run if they stay apart. The poignancy of the song captures Boone’s essence for me.
A Million Reasons, Lady Gaga. This is Kate’s song. There truly are a million reasons why she and Boone shouldn’t be together – yet she is still drawn to him. She’s hoping against hope but she desperately wants that one reason to stay together, that one factor that will render all the others irrelevant and make the impossible possible.
Cut To The Feeling, Carly Rae Jepsen. Because beyond the facts, beyond the logistics, beyond the reservations and worries and reasons why a relationship shouldn’t work, there are feelings. And sometimes, feelings are what need to be first on the list.
The Rest Of My Life, Sloan. I honestly can’t remember how I found this song, but the lyrics were so perfect for this book that as soon as I heard it, I knew it belonged in this playlist. Because who doesn’t think about the rest of their life? Who doesn’t have questions about how it will play out, who will be a part of it, how it will be spent? Boone thinks he has the rest of his life planned out. He thinks he’s found the place he belongs. But as we all know, plans don’t always unfold the way we expected …
There are a few more songs on the playlist. If you’d like to sing along with all of them, you can find all of them here. Enjoy!