In all the excitement of having The Abandoned Heart coming out earlier this month, I don’t want to forget about Charlotte’s Story coming out in paperback today. Okay, I wouldn’t really forget. That would be like forgetting one of my children.
Charlotte’s Story is the second Bliss House novel. I re-read Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca twice as I wrote it. I really wanted it to have that mid-20th century feel to it–though Rebecca was released in 1938 and Charlotte’s Story takes place in 1957. I think of the central Virginia countryside as not being so different from rural England (okay, without the sea…). There’s a sense of remoteness, but also a sense of long history (okay, maybe Virginia has only been inhabited for 12,000 years compared to England’s 780,000…). Both Charlotte and Rebecca’s unnamed newlywed are haunted by a woman from the past (yes, Charlotte is haunted by an actual ghost, and Rebecca’s newlywed is pretty much just being gaslighted…). You can see that the books are not similar in plot, but I was terribly inspired by the atmosphere of DuMaurier’s masterpiece. I tried to capture that sense of a young woman’s isolation in an unfamiliar place. Of vulnerability, and the insecurity that comes with being young and in love. But also the idea that it’s tough to be an adult when you don’t have a lot of experience of the world, and the people around you are keeping dangerous secrets.
Charlotte Bliss is one of my favorite characters. If you haven’t taken a look into her world, I hope you will.