The bookshop was bigger than Celeste remembered. It had been over a year since she’d been inside, though she’d dreamed about it countless times. It was the sort of place she’d lost herself in on countless occasions.
Books and Bobs was a bookshop that had belonged to her grandmother Gwen, and now belonged to her.
Emotions bubbled inside Celeste as she walked amongst the rows of bookshelves. The place held that antique smell — musty, but not in an unpleasant way. The rows between the shelving units were like a maze, and each shelf was loaded with books of all kinds. It was hard for Celeste to believe that all of it was now hers.
Celeste’s grandmother had been like the matriarch of the town of Bristol in Rhode Island. Her door had always been open for anyone who needed help. She’d always listened, never judged, and had a way of making everything better. Gwen had cared for others over herself and had persevered through dire straights like no one else Celeste knew.
Her grandmother’s story was incredible. When Celeste was a young girl, her grandfather had died in a tragic boating accident. Despite her grief, Gwen had gone on to pursue her dream: to open a bookshop.
Celeste couldn’t imagine what it must have been like to lose a husband in the manner that her grandmother had. Up until now, Celeste had been fortunate enough to have never experienced that kind of loss. Due to the death of her beloved grandmother and the ending of her relationship, Celeste found herself feeling a heaviness inside her she’d never felt before.
A sense of betrayal and anger was left over from the night she’d caught her boyfriend in bed with another woman. Celeste had returned to New York one night earlier than she’d intended. He had to ‘work,’ he’d claimed, so she’d spent the previous week in Bristol grieving the death of her grandmother, attending the funeral service and visitation, and shaking the hands of nearly every person in town — only to come home to more grief.
What bothered Celeste most about her failed relationship with Jack was that deep down, she’d always known he was cheating on her. The suspicion had lurked in the back of her mind. Jack was constantly absent; he’d often stay up late texting ‘a friend.’ Celeste had been too scared to confront him, and now she was dealing with the emotional consequences.
At times, Celeste could feel the grief consuming her, negating all of her passion and energy until she was left feeling like an empty husk. It was memories of her grandmother that inspired Celeste to push through the pain.
Grandmother Gwen had left Books and Bobs to her. She’d trusted Celeste to keep the place as magical and revitalizing as it had been when she’d owned it, so it was Celeste’s duty to do just that. She was confident she could, though there was a seed of doubt that nagged at her.
Celeste had lived in New York City for the past decade, having moved in with her boyfriend and finding a job as a manager of a chain bookstore. And when it came to books, Celeste knew her stuff. Whether it was fiction or non-fiction, classic literature or contemporary — no matter the genre — she could always recommend a good read. It had been her grandmother who’d gotten her into reading in the first place.
Writing, on the other hand, was a passion of her own. Celeste had a vivid imagination and she liked to make use of it. During her downtime, she wrote fiction, both prose and poetry. She’d often dreamed of having her works published, but the fear of rejection stood in her way.
In particular, a memory haunted her from her days in college, when Celeste had written a story for an assignment. She’d been proud of it and had hoped to enter it into a competition for a chance to get it published in a magazine. One day after class, she went to her professor to announce her decision to participate. His response had been heart-crushing. He’d laughed at her, asserting that her story didn’t have a chance in hell. Since then, Celeste kept her writing to herself. The only person she’d shared her work with had been her grandmother, who’d been wonderfully encouraging.
The memory of ranting to her grandmother over the phone about her asshole professor remained clear. Grandmother Gwen had told her not to let some stuff-shirted know-it-all bastard discourage her from doing what she loved. She’d said people like him lived to tear others down to make themselves feel higher. Her words had made Celeste feel better, though they had been able to eliminate both her fear of failure and the tough critic that lived in her head.
“God, I have so many books,” Celeste mumbled to herself as she continued to unload box after box into the store.
One of the many interesting features of the bookshop was the fact that there was an apartment located on the upper level of the building. This was where grandmother Gwen had lived before she’d fallen ill a year before her death. Celeste recalled her grandmother mentioning the tenants to whom she’d rented the place. Those tenants were now gone, and the apartment was all hers.
Most interesting, though, was that Books and Bobs was housed in a historical building dating back to the turn of the twentieth century. One could certainly tell by looking at it that it was no modern piece of architecture. The façade included balconies on the ground level as well as the upper level, along with a hipped roof and pillars. Her grandmother had managed to preserve all the endearing architectural features that made the building particular to another time, while also giving it her personal touch with a coat of sage green paint.
Many people associated vintage residences with hauntings, but there was something about old creaky houses that charmed Celeste, which was why she was excited for the opportunity to live in one. Her grandmother, too, had held an appreciation for antiques. This was likely the reason she’d begun her career restoring historical artifacts for the town’s museum. The building was one of the many things she’d managed to restore.
Initially, it had been an eyesore in Bristol. It was located in the downtown area, and, before grandmother Gwen’s intervening, had been a dilapidated structure on the verge of condemnation. Celeste remembered her grandmother showing her pictures of it before it was renovated. The pillars had been rotten and buckling, the roof had been sinking inward, and the exterior was a ghastly stained white. If grandmother Gwen hadn’t purchased it and worked with a team to restore it, the house would have been torn down and replaced with a greasy burger joint.
She could have installed an elevator, Celeste thought as she climbed the stairs, carrying one of her boxes. Although she was young and in good shape, Celeste knew her back was going to hurt the next day from lugging so many boxes of heavy books up the staircase.
The third box had her panting when she reached the top. Thankfully, the place came furnished. It wasn’t a big space, but it was certainly cute. She’d stayed on the futon there in the past and had always slept like a baby.
Celeste took a glass from the cupboard in the kitchen and placed it under the tap, filling it to the brim with cool water. Everything that had previously belonged to her grandmother — the dishware, the cutlery, the toiletries, the furniture — had all been left inside the apartment. What belonged to Gwen belonged to everyone who’d lived there.
The kitchen and living area were one combined space, open and inviting. Celeste felt a satisfying instant relief when she plopped herself down onto a couch. After draining the glass and taking a moment to stretch, she marched down the steps to continue her haul.
“Need a hand?”
Celeste almost jumped out of her skin when she saw a man standing at the foot of the staircase, and he quickly apologized for startling her. He was incredibly handsome and appeared to Celeste like a prince with his wavy dark hair and elegant bone structure.
He was dressed top to bottom in black — a color that only managed to accentuate his slender form.
“I don’t mean to be impolite,” Celeste said, “but who are you and what are you doing in my grandmother’s bookshop?”
Upon the mention of her grandmother, the man’s face lit up. “You must be Celeste,” he said. “Your grandmother was a wonderful woman. She hired me as a book conservator. I’m Clyde.”
His voice held an airy quality, light and easy on the ears. Something about it gave Celeste the sense that she could trust him.
On top of selling books, her grandmother had worked to repair old tatterdemalion books, as well, in a little workshop in the basement. Celeste figured this must be the man Gwen had hired to take over once she began stepping back from all the day-to-day work at the store.
“If I had known you were coming, I wouldn’t have let myself in,” Clyde stated. “I have a key to the shop and come after hours some days to work. I am sorry about Gwen’s passing. I should have attended the funeral, but I… erm… couldn’t make it.” He groaned as he lifted one of her boxes. “Please allow me to make up for it by helping you move in,” he added, his voice strained.
Celeste tried to think if her grandmother had ever mentioned Clyde. She couldn’t recall, though Gwen hadn’t been the sort to talk much about her life. There was so much Celeste didn’t know about her and she regretted not coming down to see her more often.
Something about New York City made one forget there was a world outside of the concrete island. It was easy to become short-sighted while studying or working there. People were everywhere, all with an iron-clad focus, and the environment had more often than not been stressful for Celeste. That was why she’d depended on her grandmother. The woman was someone she could rant to and the town of Bristol a place she could retreat from the chaos.
At the funeral and visitation ceremonies, Celeste had been introduced to countless people she’d never met before, all of whom had been touched in some way by her grandmother’s life. She’d even briefly met three of the individuals who were employed at Books and Bobs. There had been a bald, beaky man with glasses, who had taken over the managerial responsibilities of the store when Gwen had fallen ill. Then, there had been a middle-aged woman who loved reading as much as Gwen did, and a high school girl who worked there part-time.
Celeste racked her brain in an attempt to remember their names, but she couldn’t. She’d met so many people that day that the names had gone in one ear and out the other. She was looking forward to getting to know her staff more. She missed the people she’d worked with alongside in New York. A part of her had been hesitant to move from the city altogether. Ultimately, the incident with Jack and his other woman had been the event that had convinced her to leave.
The moving process quickened with Clyde’s help. Despite his delicate appearance, the man was quite strong and managed to carry the majority of Celeste’s belongings up without much of a struggle.
“I have yet to add my personal touch,” Celeste said, “but it is cozy, nonetheless.”
“I always loved this space,” Clyde remarked. “It’s modest, but full of character. Your grandmother would sometimes invite me up for dinner before she got ill and rented the place out.” It was then that Clyde commented on Celeste’s substantial book collection. “How apt that you — a new bookstore owner — would be a book fanatic.”
He went on to say Gwen had often talked about her, which made Celeste blush a little and miss her grandmother all the more.
“She once said you were the only person she knew who could devour a book as fast as she could,” Clyde said. “Then, she met me.” His smile was picturesque, though it held a sadness that intrigued Celeste. “Of course, why would one choose to work in a bookshop if one does not possess an insatiable appetite for literature?”
Celeste shrugged. “Some people just need money,” she answered honestly.
Clyde sighed. “Yes, I suppose that’s true,” he said. “But if you don’t have a passion for what you’re doing, then what good is the money? I would rather do something I enjoy and make a mediocre salary than work a well-paying job that I hate.”
“I’m sure everyone has some goal in mind,” Celeste responded. “One may choose to work at a bookshop just for the money as a means to further their education so they can pursue their dreams at full speed. The reality is, sometimes you have to work jobs you don’t like so you can afford to do the things you do like.”
“Right you are,” Clyde agreed, and what he said next pleased Celeste to the core.
“I think you are very much like your grandmother.” He gazed at her with his dreamy brown eyes as though he was looking at a fine piece of artwork. “I’ve only known you for a mere manner of minutes, and already I can tell you share the same spirit as her.” He paused before going on. “That, and the same lovely springy hair.”
Celeste could feel the blood rushing once again to her cheeks. Her unruly curly hair was a trait she’d never particularly liked. She’d often opted to straighten it or visit hair salons to have it chemically flattened. The fact that a man as gorgeous as Clyde thought it to be lovely in its natural state made her feel like a teen girl who’d just been winked at by a member of her favorite boyband.
Thankfully, Clyde looked away before he could see her turn bright red; the sound of rain pattering against the window made him turn his head. “I do believe the heavens are welcoming you to Bristol,” he declared. He went on to mumble something about how he regretted not wearing a jacket.
Celeste wanted to get to know Clyde more — she wanted to get to know the people of Bristol more. In a small town, this was possible. Living in the city, Celeste had grown accustomed to ignoring the people who surrounded her. This was her chance to be bolder in seeking out and forming meaningful relationships. Connecting with people had been something grandmother Gwen had excelled at; she’d been gregarious until the end. She’d been the kind of person to bring out the best in others and Celeste wanted to be just like her.
Without thinking too hard about it, Celeste invited Clyde to have coffee with her. She was rarely the person to initiate such outings, but she knew if she didn’t, she might end up alone. Besides, Clyde had done all the heavy lifting for her, sparing her the backaches. At the very least, she could buy him a coffee. Sure, he might say no, but she couldn’t let this possibility deter her.
The invitation seemed to resonate with Clyde oddly. His expression told Celeste he didn’t get asked out very often, which was peculiar as he was striking both in personality and in appearance. Fortunately, he offered an explanation.
“You know, I almost reflexively declined,” he began. “I’ve been so busy as of late, I haven’t had the time for things like coffee and conversation. I’m so accustomed to turning people down, I almost did it out of habit.”
“If you’re busy, I can take a rain check,” Celeste said. She didn’t want to pressure the man. After all, she was essentially a stranger to him.
His response pleased Celeste. “Nonsense!” he proclaimed. “It’s always raining here this time of year. Waiting for the rain to stop is futile. I would be happy to join you.”
Hope was finally blossoming within Celeste. Her future was looking brighter, despite the dreary rain. It was her first day in Bristol and already she’d made a friend.
“One of the disadvantages to living in a small town are the short hours merchants keep,” Clyde commented. He’d offered to drive her around. “Most places are open strictly from nine to five.”
Celeste sat in the passenger’s seat, feeling like a fool. It was nearly six in the evening. Big cities were always awake, but small towns were sleepy. She was about to apologize when Clyde continued.
“That being said, I know of a place that serves as an exception.” The exception to which Clyde was referring was a diner called Dippy’s. “Just to warn you,” he added, once they were parked along a side street, “it’s a little bit fifties in there.”
He wasn’t kidding. The place was a run-of-the-mill 1950s-style diner with its turquoise booths, jukebox, and black-and-white checkered flooring.
A young server dressed in a retro uniform rushed over to greet them. “Hi, Clyde!” she called excitedly. Clyde’s greeting was less enthusiastic.
“Hello, Veronica,” he replied, looking uncomfortable. Upon introducing Celeste, he informed Veronica that the two of them would be having coffees to go.
Coffees in hand, they exited the diner, at which point Clyde apologized for imposing the decision to leave on her.
“Here you are, offering to be my caffeine supplier for the day, and I go and ruin it by forcing us back into the rain,” he said. He explained that Veronica was, to put it delicately, a bit of a handful.
“You don’t have to be sorry,” Celeste told him. “The color turquoise gives me a headache, anyway.”
There was a litany of other interesting shops along the downtown strip of the main street. Celeste had often accompanied her grandmother there to assist her with the shopping, and she remembered entering bakeries and butcher shops — the kinds of places that didn’t exist in the same way in the city. She should have been more familiar with them. She should have made visiting her grandmother more of a priority over the last couple of years.
“Regret is not a good look on you,” Clyde proclaimed. “Though I can’t say I’ve met a person who wears it well. I believe it to be universally unflattering.”
Celeste was astounded he’d been able to tell what she was feeling. “I was just thinking about how I wish I’d visited here more,” she admitted.
“It’s that pesky thing called life,” Clyde remarked, “it gets in the way of everything.” He courteously opened the passenger side door for her before getting in the car himself. “I know a place where emotions like that cease to exist. It’s peaceful.”
The place to which Clyde was referring was the beach, home to the historical lighthouse called the Bristol Ferry Light.
The gray sky gave the beach an eerie atmosphere, but Celeste found it more romantic than scary. She preferred the beach setting shrouded in darkness. For one, it was barren, save for the seabirds. She could see no one else for miles along the stretch of sand. It made her feel as though she and Clyde were the last people on earth.
And against the melancholic background, the lighthouse was like a place of refuge. The white structure had a small house attached, with a black roof. Clyde and Celeste sat on the rocks bordering the lighthouse and stared out at the esoteric seascape.
A chill wind blew in from the water. The rain was holding off for the time being, though, and the rocks were dry enough. Even so, Clyde was a shivering mess.
“I deserve this for neglecting to dress appropriately,” he said, wrapping his slender arms around his shoulders in an attempt to stay warm. “I shall grin and bear it.”
“You will do no such thing,” Celeste responded, offering him her scarf.
“No, I can’t!” he refused. “Then you’ll be the one shivering. What sort of gentleman would I be if I allowed that?”
“It’s okay,” Celeste assured him. “I’ve got this thick turtleneck sweater to keep me warm.”
Clyde graciously accepted the bulky strip of warm fabric and issued a sigh of relief upon wrapping it tightly around his neck. He gazed wistfully at the rolling waves on the water before asking, “Where exactly is it that you originally hail from?”
Celeste chuckled. Not only did Clyde look like a prince, but he also spoke like one — eloquent. Never had she met someone who used old-fashioned terms like ‘hail.’
“I’m from New York City,” she answered. “My grandmother moved to Rhode Island with my grandfather after my mother went off to university. The two of them had a family cottage here where they often spent the summers. Once they became empty-nesters, they winterized it and chose to live here permanently.”
“I don’t blame them,” Clyde said. “A city as monolithic and as highly populated as New York sounds like a maddening place to live. A visit now and again is invigorating, but permanent residence in a place so congested would drive me to near suffocation.” He followed his statement with a sonorous laugh before continuing, “Not just figurately, either. The city is literally suffocating due to the poor air quality.”
He went on to ask Celeste a series of questions, all to do with her previous life in New York. She told him about the bookstore she managed as well as the schooling she’d undergone in creative writing.
“I can already feel the phrases coming together as I sit here soaking in this wondrous view,” she said.
It was true. Bristol was a place that inspired Celeste to write. There was something about the atmosphere — the history it held, the spectacular sights — that gave Celeste the spark she needed to thread together words.
“I’ve dabbled in writing myself,” Clyde told her. “As avid a reader as I am and as articulate as I may sound, though, I am a piss-poor writer.”
“I doubt that,” Celeste replied.
“It’s the truth!” Clyde insisted. “The ideas and the words exist in my head and my head only. Whenever I try to transfer the stories into something tangible, a barrier develops. I have the utmost respect for writers such as yourself. It is an enviable skill and not nearly given enough appreciation.”
As tickled as Celeste was by Clyde’s comment, it made her feel somewhat ashamed for having not pursued a career in writing harder. Clyde asked if she’d ever published any of her works, to which she responded with the truth: she hadn’t, and it was all because she was terrified of rejection.
Clyde hummed in understanding. “It only takes one cruel critic to crush a dream,” he said. “There is no sense in feeling embarrassed. It’s normal to fear failure and rejection. If it helps, I too struggle with this fear.”
His words did help. Before she knew it, Celeste was communicating everything she was feeling with a man she’d only just met. There was something about Clyde that made her feel comfortable. He listened and he could relate.
“I can understand the feelings of uncertainty. You’ve just undergone a big change in your life. Moving away from your friends and family is no small feat,” he stated.
Celeste confessed that she did miss many of the aspects of her life in New York, especially her friends and family, though there was one person she didn’t mind leaving behind — her cheating ex.
To her surprise, Celeste found herself opening up entirely about the failed relationship. She told Clyde about Jack’s secret late-night excursions, his distracted nature, the texting, and finally the event that shattered her heart — finding him in her bed with a half-naked woman.
Clyde was empathetic, implying that he too had suffered heartbreaks in the past. “Experiencing loss is a strange, all-consuming hollowness. One must resist the urge to carelessly fill the void. A support system would be beneficial to you, I think, and I know just the one: the town’s book club. Gwen was a part of it, naturally. She was the one who invited me.”
The notion of joining a book club most definitely appealed to Celeste. Clyde explained that the meetings were held on Wednesday and Friday evenings at the town’s library. “I typically attend at least one of the meetings per week, though it all depends on Delores’ mood,” Clyde said.
“Yes. She’s the head of the book club. She also works at Books and Bobs,” Clyde informed her.
Now Celeste remembered the name. She’d met Delores at grandmother Gwen’s funeral. As she recalled, the woman had been retired and chose to work at the shop as a means to keep busy. Celeste wondered what Clyde meant when he’d said his attendance at the book club depended on Delores’ mood. She was about to ask but stopped herself when Clyde spoke again.
“Do you ever place an unnecessary level of pressure on yourself?”
His question was astute. Celeste had always tended to place a lot of responsibility on herself, but now that her grandmother had left Books and Bobs to her, she was especially feeling the pressure.
“I do,” she answered. “I hold myself to high expectations in everything I do. It’s both a good thing and a bad thing, I think.”
Clyde agreed. “On one hand you excel at your craft, on the other hand, you exhaust yourself. Being such a perfectionist can also be a hinderance in terms of going after one’s goals in life. For example, do you find yourself writing something only to avoid publication based on it not being good enough in your eyes?”
Clyde couldn’t have been more on the nose about Celeste. She had to hand it to him, he had good insights.
“Your grandmother was of an unimpeachable character,” Clyde continued. “She owned a bookstore, she restored many of the precious historical artifacts that make this town what it is, and she helped anyone who asked for it. Without her, I’m not sure where I would be right now. She taught me everything she knew about book conservation.”
Celeste sighed. “Those are some big shoes to fill,” she said.
“Undoubtedly,” Clyde affirmed. “But you don’t have to fill them all at once, or even at all. You are not your grandmother, and therefore should not be held to the same expectations. Additionally, you have endured a lot as of late.” Clyde looked as though he had more to say, but he stopped himself. “Listen to me, rambling on as if I know how you feel. Forgive me. I have a horrible habit of wanting to place everyone I meet under a microscope. You’ve only just moved in and already I’m playing psychologist.”
“Do you have a background in psychology?” Celeste inquired.
Clyde shook his head. “Even so, I could be a psychologist. I’d just have to change my name to Sigmund Fraud.”
The pun had Celeste guffawing. Her reaction made Clyde smile, and his smile was heavenly. “You know,” he said, “I scarcely know you, yet I feel you share the same spirit as your grandmother. You even laugh just like her.”
Clyde and Celeste sat on the beach until the sky turned so dark, they couldn’t see their feet. It seemed the two of them could converse for an eternity. Celeste enjoyed being in his company so much, she didn’t notice how cold she was until Clyde dropped her off in front of Books and Bobs. It also completely slipped her mind to ask for her scarf back.
With a dreamy sigh, she collapsed onto her bed. Her stomach growled and it was then that she realized how little she’d eaten during the day. Apart from some dry foods, Celeste had no groceries.
Trail mix it is, she thought in disdain.
Thankfully, Celeste had the next couple of days to settle in before her work overseeing the daily matters of the bookshop would begin.
As she did most nights, Celeste opened up her laptop and began to write. Writing at night helped her to express all the worries on her mind so that she could sleep more readily. It would make sense for Celeste to write about her uncertainties regarding her future in Bristol, but instead, she found herself typing paragraphs about the dashing man she’d met.
She groaned upon realizing she was becoming infatuated. Clyde was like a character from a fantasy novel. Celeste decided to stop her nightly blurb when she began to feel her heart throbbing. It was too soon for her to be falling for another man. This she could recognize. She’d felt the same way when she’d first encountered Jack at the bookstore where she’d worked in New York. He’d approached her to ask about a book he needed for his studies.
His look was academic, but in a sophisticated sort of way as opposed to dorky. It was his intelligence that had intrigued Celeste. He’d always had an aloof disposition, similar to a cat’s. That was another aspect about Jack that had reeled Celeste in — she had a thing for the brooding type.
Alas, Jack was not the man she’d thought him to be. That man was a character she’d created inside her head, just like she was creating a character for Clyde now. Even so, she couldn’t help but feel there was something different about Clyde. His countenance was warmer—more inviting. Normally, Celeste didn’t open up to people right away, but that night on the beach she’d felt inclined to share everything and anything with Clyde.
In all likelihood, he was too good to be true. A man couldn’t look like an angel and be one, could he? Wasn’t the devil supposed to appear disguised as a god?
Before eventually closing her eyes and falling asleep, Celeste pontificated whether there was a connection between moral ambiguity and physical attractiveness.
While at the supermarket the following day, she overheard something that gave her a potential answer to this pondering.
Celeste was wandering the aisles, collecting the plethora of items she had on her grocery list and lamenting the fact that she probably wouldn’t be able to cook any of the ingredients to taste as good as they were meant to, when she noticed a pack of high school girls emerging from the cosmetic aisle. She wouldn’t have paid them any attention had they not been led by the waitress from the night before.
“Oh my god, guys, guess who came into the restaurant yesterday?” Veronica said. She was the quintessential popular girl with her carefully curled long blonde hair and trendy clothes. Clyde had referred to her as a ‘handful.’
Curious, Celeste subtly followed the group of girls into the snack aisle. She’d never been one to gossip in high school, but she had gotten amusement out of hearing some of the ridiculous prattle that had circulated.
Veronica was surrounded by three other girls. “Was it that old creep Mr. Shiganshima again?” a red-haired girl guessed.
“Ew! No. I’ll give you a hint: he’s the hottest guy who ever lived,” Veronica replied.
It was then that Celeste felt her mouth go dry. Was she talking about Clyde?
A girl dressed entirely in black groaned. “Would you shut up about him already? The dude is like, twice your age.”
Veronica scoffed. “No, he’s not! I snuck a look at his driver’s license once when he was giving me a ride home.”
“Anyway, he came in with this lady who’s the new owner of the bookstore where he works,” Veronica continued. “I swear to god I’ll die if he starts dating her instead of me!”
“Holy shit, Veronica!” the girl in black exclaimed. “You’re underage! You can’t date him. Get over it.”
“I’m close enough,” Veronica argued. “Besides, you guys know what he did to my sister, right?”
“The one that goes to Roger Williams?” This time, a girl with short sleek hair spoke.
“Yeah, Chelsea. She was my age at the time. Clyde got her into a club and then got drunk and totally groped her. I’m honestly so jealous of her.”
Celeste had heard enough. Without any hesitation, she turned her cart around and swiftly completed her shopping.
She felt a heavy sensation weighing inside of her. She wanted Clyde to be the pure prince she’d painted him to be — but if what Veronica said was true, he was worse than Jack.
“A Deadly Book Club” is an Amazon Best-Selling novel, check it out here!
When Celeste inherits her grandmother’s bookstore, she decides to start fresh in Bristol, after discovering that her boyfriend is cheating on her. While dealing with feelings of loss from her grandmother’s death and from her failed relationship, she also needs to find the strength to move on. Joining Bristol’s dedicated book club seems like the perfect way to meet new people and escape her thoughts for a while. Little does she expect that the seemingly innocent book club that is about to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary will bring chaos in her life. For this special occasion, the town hosts a party at the local library where a renowned author is scheduled to do a book signing, and everyone is thrilled to see their favorite writer. Unfortunately for them, they’ll never get a chance to meet him… alive.
During the festivity, the guest of honor, novelist Stew Michaelis, is found lifeless in the library’s washroom. After the police determine his death to be the result of murder, they arrest a member of the book club named Clyde, a man encapsulated in mystery and rumors. Even though everyone in town appears dead set on blaming Clyde, Celeste is not that easily convinced. Clyde was the first man she met upon her arrival and she believes him to be innocent, so she takes the investigation into her own hands. Soon, she’ll learn shocking secrets about Clyde and the other book club members–secrets they would rather keep hidden. Celeste is determined to find out who killed Stew Michaelis and why people are so quick to believe in Clyde’s guilt. Is she really ready to face the truth though, or are some things better left buried?
Celeste will boldly face rejection and uncover each and every layer of Clyde’s mysterious demeanor until she learns with certainty that he has nothing to hide. Despite the challenges she faces from others, as well as the inner saboteur that wreaks havoc inside her mind, Celeste will push forward with a tenacity her grandmother would be proud of. Will she manage to find Stew’s true killer and learn the truth about Clyde’s identity, or will a seemingly innocent man be sent to prison?
“A Deadly Book Club” is an intriguing cozy mystery novel of approximately 80,000 words. No cliffhangers, just pure captivating mystery.