From A Happy Marriage
by Maisey Yates
& Interview by Elise Cooper
Secrets From A
Happy Marriage, by Maisey Yates, is her latest book, in a
new genre, but maintaining the same excellent story writing. This
first women's fiction novel has a mystery, some history, some
romance, and a lot of family interaction. It delves into the relationships
between mothers-daughters, and sisters-sisters, where forgiveness,
hope, love, acceptance, and starting over are essential themes.
The story opens
with mail order bride, Jenny Hansen, writing a letter in response
to an ad from the Chief Lighthouse keeper, Olaf Hansen, at the
Cape Hope Lighthouse on the Oregon coast. Readers will get to
know her through letters and find a connection with the current
occupants of the Cape Hope Lighthouse Inn: a grandmother, Wendy,
her two adult daughters, Rachel and Anna, and Rachel's teenage
daughter, Emma. They manage the Lighthouse's bed and breakfast.
Yates noted, "I
see it as a character. I remember looking at this Lighthouse up
on a hill with a beach below. Since it is now a bed and breakfast,
I decided to go there. I took notes. They showed me the Inn and
told me about the history. It was almost like going through the
lives of this house since it has such a rich history. The story
could not have been told if it was set in another place, and I
could not have told the story if I had not visited it. I love
the idea we are connected through history and how the history
of this house contained generations of people."
Each of these four
women is keeping secrets, having their issues, problems, and grief.
Wendy is a single parent of two daughters. Many years ago, when
her daughters were young, in a tiny little Oregon town, she won
a contest to fix up the Lighthouse and turn it into an inn. Now
decades later, they still run the place. She's done things she's
not proud of, things she desperately wants to keep from her girls,
yet keeping quiet is now not an option.
herself off to protect herself from her past that included a toxic
affair. Wendy passed on her own issues to her daughters. Because
she wanted and never was able to become safe and happy, Wendy
put pressure on her daughters to marry, thinking that would make
Rachel has been married
to her high school sweetheart, the love of her life for over twenty
years. She never really dated since they became married at a young
age. But Jacob has been slowly dying from a variety of illnesses
leaving Rachel to become his caregiver. Yet, through all the hardships,
they still maintain true love. Unfortunately, he succumbed to
his illness, leaving Rachel to ponder what will become of her
life. She feels her family is falling apart, losing Jacob to death,
and her daughter Emma to college.
"I think I
am most like her. She was married from an early age, just like
me. We both never really dated and just had our husbands. Rachel
is complicated, not perfect, and a typical older sister. She must
make a new life for herself considering her husband has died,
and her daughter is leaving to go to college."
Emma realizes that
her beloved father won't be at her high school graduation or even
for her 18th birthday. She realizes it is possible to have a relationship
with someone she has had a crush on, a 21-year-old car mechanic
and high school dropout, Luke. Emma must also decide if she wants
to go across the country to her dream college with a great Marine
Biology program. Besides dealing with grief over losing her father,
she wonders what her choice of college will do to her relationship
with Luke and how her mother will handle not having her around.
her father, which put a freeze on childhood. I consider her an
old-soul Writing teenagers scares me. I wanted to show that her
friends did not know what to do when she was sad. I spoke with
people who handled grief over the years. Someone told me they
lost a parent as a teenager and gave me a lot of insight on what
it was like to lose a parent at that age. I was so uncomfortable
writing Emma's love scene since I consider myself a prude. I think
she was very protective of her mom, but more like her Aunt Anna."
Anna is Rachel's
sister, the one with the supposed picture-perfect marriage. The
popular pastor in town, Thomas, has been her husband for more
than 15 years, yet she has felt him pulling away from her and
becoming ever more distant as time has passed. Anna has tried
to speak with him, but with no response. Feeling unloved and ignored,
she makes a shocking and life-changing decision that affects everyone
“She has choices and options to figure out who she is. Anna
did not need a man to make a life for herself. Throughout the
story, she comes into her own. Overall, she is determined, a bit
disconnected, strong, and resilient."
People will question
what they would have done under similar circumstances. The plot
is very realistic, and the characters come to life. A range of
emotions, from sad to happy, will be experienced by readers because
of the deeply emotional, thoughtful, and heartfelt story.
and MyShelf.com would like to thank Maisey Yates for joining us