Launch of debut novel, “Shadow of Whimsy,” set for July 14 in St. Michaels

St. Michaels, MD — Local author Ann Hymes has written her debut novel on the challenging issues of a struggling marriage, unfulfilled needs, and buried family secrets in Chatham, Massachusetts.  Theresa Alston Crandall is suffocating in her marriage when she receives an unexpected inheritance of a bizarre oceanfront house called Whimsy Towers.

Leaving Virginia with her dog and her beloved father’s ashes, she sets out to unravel family stories about her mother’s tragic death at sea and her dead grandmother’s strange house filled with art, romance, and secrets.  And she hopes a brief separation from her husband will give clarity about the future of their marriage.

Theresa meets three men who offer unexpected insights about relationships and self-worth, and being at Whimsy Towers enables her to make decisions on how best to move forward through temptation and predictability.

Hymes, a retired real estate broker who has published creative nonfiction and earned a master’s degree from Washington College, says that Whimsy Towers and the story are fiction, but fiction is tinged with truth!  The book does reflect a time when the author went to Cape Cod to examine her own life.

Although not an historical novel per se, Shadow of Whimsy is set in 1980, “a time when women were finding independence, but not always eagerly.  Divorces skyrocketed.  And I wanted Theresa’s grandmother Theodosia to be a rebellious product of the 1920s, which were not too distant.”

There are differences as well as similarities between 2016 and 1980, Hymes acknowledges:  “No cellphones, no Internet!  The tensions and challenges of marriage are still the same, but women’s expectations on how to resolve them have certainly changed.  Patriarchal hierarchy is a slow-moving power shift; some men can adapt and some are left behind.”

Hymes says that reading the book has provoked intriguing discussion. “I know two couples who said they read the book aloud to each other.  Men see how the narrator deals with what is lacking in her marriage, and they can hold up a mirror to their own.  Expectations for a meaningful marriage are increasingly demanding gender balance, and men see new rules for success in this fictional example.”

ABOUT THE BOOKShadow of Whimsy: A Cape Cod Love Story, 256 pp, will be released by Secant Publishing (www.secantpublishing.com) on June 15, 2016.  It will be available from Ingram, Amazon, and other select bookstores in trade paperback ($16.95), hardcover ($23.95), and e-book ($5.99) formats.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Ann Hymes is a retired real estate broker, mother of two daughters, and grandmother of three.  She has a B.A. in English from Mills College in Oakland, California, and an M.A. in English from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland.  Ann is an active international volunteer teacher, including Peace Corps service in the 1960s.  She lives in St. Michaels, Maryland.  Write her at whimsytowers@gmail.com.

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