Posts Tagged ‘Return to the Outer Banks House’

Small but tantalizing morsel from “Return to the Outer Banks House”

February 23rd, 2015

My inspiration for the character Eliza Dickens had a lot to do with the Heart song “Crazy on You.” She’s a rifle-toting, britches-wearing woman that does not suffer fools, does not crack smiles, does not forgive and forget. And the kind of love she had for Ben Whimble still lives, will always haunt her, despite her efforts to forget. When she sees him again at a funeral in Whales Head, that love rears its powerful head once again. (Now cue the song: “Let me go crazy, crazy on you….ohhh…”)

“The sky above was all cloud, but even so it was like someone had shined a sunbeam on this face, just for me. I tried not to stare his way, but I couldn’t help myself. A brass band and gypsy parade could have marched us by, and I wouldn’t have even looked away from him.

He stood there, Ben did, and I hadn’t even seen him come. His face had thinned out since I’d seen him last, but he wore a coat I remembered from the old days. His britches were finely made, the collar of his wool shirt under the coat clean. He had on some leather boots too, not the shiny ilk that the Yanks wore, but nice enough. His yellow hair was combed back off his clean shaven face, and I reckoned he was more handsome than even before. But more than that, he stood so straight now, black slouch hat in his hands. He was a man full grown.

No sign of his wife, I saw.

Had he seen me too? I lowered the ugly black shawl from my head and smoothed out my hair. I knew my cheeks were red from the cold so I wouldn’t have to pinch ’em. I licked my chapped lips good, then looked down at my beat-up boots and Union coat and homespun dress. He’d see I hadn’t changed a lick, be bored with me and we hadn’t even said two words to one another.

Then, as the uncle kept on, I saw those blue eyes meet up with my brown ones. I saw that he saw it was me. He made me a smile, kind of a sad smile for Ben, and tipped his head to me. I kept my face flat though. Didn’t want him to think I was happy to see him.

Which I was.”

Do Eliza and Ben have a reunion of sorts? Or do they go their separate ways, once and for all? I think you know the answer, or there wouldn’t be much of a story to tell! You’ll have to read on to find out who wins Ben’s love in the end…his depressed yet steadfast wife Abigail, or the hot-mess, Eliza Dickens.

The sequel to The Outer Banks House is here!

January 14th, 2015

image004I am so happy and excited to share that my sequel to The Outer Banks House is here! It’s called–and I know this is creative genius–Return to the Outer Banks House, and it’s available on as both a paperback and an ebook. I started writing this book even before the first book got a publishing contract, mostly because I couldn’t let Ben and Abby and all of the other characters, especially Eliza Dickens, go! (And I was able to travel to the Outer Banks, circa 1875, whenever I felt like it…)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I loved writing it! Thank you very much for your support…and let me know your thoughts on the novel! If you are ever in a writing mood, please also consider posting a review for the book on Amazon. I would very much appreciate it!

Here is a very favorable review from Kirkus:


A heartbreaking yet uplifting novel that explores the destruction and beauty of love.

Set between 1875 and ’76, Ducharme’s story—this being the sequel to The Outer Banks House (2010)—is about love and its many faces, from young and reckless to unrequited. Specifically, she explores the unlikely passion that forms between smart, affluent Abigail Sinclair and uneducated, penniless Benjamin Whimble. The people of this tightknit island community on the Outer Banks, off the coast of North Carolina, are connected by their collective poverty and abiding love for the sea. Outsiders are generally unwelcome. When Abigail’s family visits for a summer, she starts teaching Ben, her father’s fishing guide, how to read. His love for literature and for his teacher grows, and slowly he drifts away from longtime girlfriend, Eliza Dickens, eventually leaving her to marry Abigail. Although this new love is strong, tragedy tests it. Seven years later, the worst behind them, the couple picks through their past separately, putting together the pieces of themselves they lost along the way. Meanwhile, all these years later, plucky and independent Eliza has never fully recovered from losing Ben. She fights for his return and learns much more about herself in the process. Supporting characters, many with equally interesting lives, float in and out of the story as well. Ducharme beautifully shifts among love stories, weaving lives together. She also daftly expresses the tensions between economic classes. In her fog of love, Abigail joyfully leaves behind the security of her life at home so she can be with a man who could never financially provide for her in the ways she’s accustomed; only after the wedding does it hit her. “Words had failed us that night, and I’d welcomed the silence,” she thinks. “Words had escaped me the next morning as well but in a different way, when I came to realize that I was married to a fisherman for the rest of my days.”

A study in love, class, and the profound ways people grow and adapt to life’s challenges.


No, I’m not dead, just a mom

October 10th, 2013

No, I’m not dead. You didn’t miss my obit in the paper or anything. I’m just a frazzled mom of three who tries to cram in some fiction writing here and there. Blog writing kind of falls by the wayside, even though I do enjoy it. I swear I do! Probably about as much as I’ll enjoy penning my own obit one of these days! Because my life will have killed me…

But good news! All of my hectic, squirrel-like industriousness has resulted in a stockpile of words–the sequel to The Outer Banks House is now revised and complete and in the hands of my agent!

Ah, happy endings. Don’t you love them? Like in those Ephron movies with people like Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. You actually cry at the end, you’re so relieved and giddy and full of goodwill and optimism. Then you go about your life and you’re like, “Why isn’t my life so lovely and rosy and so darned easy? Where is the jazzy piano music and gorgeous autumn leaves and perfect springtime flowers? Why are people mean to me?” Because despite your best intentions, your whistling while you work, your spring in your step, your perma-smile on your face, life will smack you down anyway and crush its cigarette on your bruised head with its spurred cowboy boot-heel. Happy endings? Only sometimes, if we’re really really lucky and we are sentient enough to realize that something happy has actually happened to us.

Which brings me to the sequel, tentatively called Return to the Outer Banks House. (Clever, right?!) It was gently suggested to me by my agent and a colleague of his that I sort of change my happy ending into a sort of hmmm, shall I say this? An unhappy one. I don’t want to spoil things for you, and let me just say that I balked at the idea at first. Poor Ben and Abby! They have suffered enough! I worked up some tears for them. Happy endings are so…happy.

But just consider this brilliant hypothesis for a moment: think of the times where you’ve read a book that didn’t end quite as nicely as you’d wanted, but even so you put it gently back down on your bedside table and sat back on your pillows and wept for the god-awful truth of it, the way it broke your heart with its damnable accuracy, the way it nailed both the beauty and mess of life in only 250 pages or so. Think of those books, and think of how fondly you remember them, like loved ones that have died or have moved far away, but who still  live on the edges of your consciousness and whisper to you, remind you of the marvel that is life, that you are not all by yourself after all.

Now that I’ve made you cry, do you really need a happy ending? Or do you just need a truthful one? I’m not saying that Return to the Outer Banks House is one of those books–the kind of books that made me want to start writing in the first place–but I am saying that you will want to read it. With a box of tissues. Alone.