Discovering Nantucket Dreams

Learn about this popular New England island, the setting for the new Guideposts Christian fiction series.

By Jon Woodhams, Memphis, Tennessee

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Some of my very favorite vacations have taken place at the seaside, on both the West and East Coasts. There is nothing like the sound of waves or the tangy sea air to soothe the soul and put life in its proper perspective.

This is exactly what the Marris sisters, the main characters of Guideposts Books newest Christian fiction series, Nantucket Dreams, discover when they arrive on the island—and it changes their lives forever.

What is it about Nantucket that so captivates our imagination? Perhaps it’s the name itself, which means either “place of peace” or “faraway island.”

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Perhaps it’s the island’s history. Nantucket was a whaling center from the 1700s till the mid-1800s. Fueled in part by whale oil, the Great Fire destroyed many of the buildings on the island in 1846. Because of the conflagration and the whaling industry’s severe decline, the island’s population dwindled.

Partially due to the decreased population and Nantucket’s isolation, its pre-Civil War buildings were preserved. In the 1950s, developers “discovered” the island and began buying up land with plans of reimagining Nantucket as a vacation wonderland.

They were successful insofar as the year-round population of about 10,000 mushrooms to as many as 56,000 people during the height of the tourist season. Thanks to its colonial architecture and ancient cobblestone streets, the entire island was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Perhaps what captivates our imaginations are Nantucket’s three lighthouses. Brant Point Light is the second oldest lighthouse in America, first constructed in 1746. Great Point Light is located on the northeast tip of the island. Sankaty Head Light, built in 1850, had to be moved about four hundred feet in October, 2007, to prevent it from succumbing to the erosion of the bluff where it was originally built.

Then there’s the feisty Nantucket spirit. Although cars were forbidden on the island until 1918, one postmaster was known to have his car towed by a team of horses to circumvent this ordinance.  And prompted by a change in the Massachusetts constitution that reduced their representation in the Massachusetts General Court, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard attempted (albeit unsuccessfully) to secede from Massachusetts in 1977.

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Whatever the reasons, Nantucket, in both fact and fiction, is a fascinating, inviting place, and Nantucket Dreams has been a delight and a challenge to create.

As I worked on the wonderful stories of the three-book set, I was often reminded that no story can be born without the efforts of a talented author, and I’ve been blessed to work with four of Guideposts’ finest to bring you this series. Patti Berg, Barbara Andrews & Pam Hanson, and Camy Tang brought a spirit of joy and enthusiastic collaboration to the project as they worked together to bring the main characters—Caroline, Gracie, and Sam—to life.

A unique element to the series’ creative process is that Barbara and Pam are a mother-daughter writing team.  “Writing can be a lonely process,” says Pam, “so collaborating like this is a real treat. My mom and I both enjoy writing because we get to do it together.”

I have so enjoyed working with them to create the compelling story lines and intriguing historical mystery that surround the Marris sisters and the stately, charming Misty Harbor Inn. I had a great time getting to know Caroline, Gracie, Sam, Jamie, Shirley, Bill, and the other lively characters, who populate our vision of Nantucket, and it’s my sincerest hope that you will too.

Jon Woodhams is associate editor, Guideposts Books.

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Your Comments (19)

My Mom and I recently read the Nantucket series. They are wonderful and hard to put down. We found it hard to cook or clean or go anywhere because we were so busy reading. This was a great series. Thank you.

Just wondering is there are going to be anymore books to the Nantucket Series. Would like to pass these on to someone, but don't want to if there is going to be more books to it.
Thanks!

Hi Jan. For now, that series is complete at three books. There's a chance there might be an additional book or two at some point in time, but that's not yet been decided.

Just finished all three book of Nantucket Dreams, really enjoyed each book. I could read another series like this by these authors. Thanks and the Cranberries muffins are really good...

I want to order the books '' Nantucket Dreams. please e-mail me a phone number for Guidepost Thank you Brenda K. Handy.

Brenda, you can order the book from our online shop - just follow the orange Shop link on the upper right.

I truly enjoyed the wonderful Nantucket Dreams series. There was a recipe with the promotional information on the series, not the Blueberries muffins. This recipe had OJ, yogurt, dried cranberries and was very tasty. After I finished reading the series I passed it on, now my granddaughter would like to make the muffins again and I no longer have the recipe. Is it possible to have someone send it to me?
Thank you and God Bless

Here's the recipe, C.F. Nantucket Cranberry Lemon Muffins Ingredients 2 cups flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 cup butter, softened 1/4 cup light brown sugar 1/2 cup regular sugar 1 cup yogurt, vanilla 2 eggs 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 6-ounce package dried cranberries Zest of 1 lemon DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a large 12 muffin pan with paper muffin liners. Next, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add yogurt, eggs, and lemon juice; mix well. Stir in dried cranberries and lemon zest. Add to dry ingredients. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Place batter in muffin cups filled to the top. Bake 18-20 minutes until top becomes light brown or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Enjoy! Makes approximately 12 muffins.

I ordered this set of books by mail with a tear out card from some publication on May 7th and they haven't arrived yet. When can I expect them? The only numbers on the card are 1205-11-NTC. Have no idea what that means. If you have no record of my order I will gladly order them from your website. Thank you, Florence Ruggiero, 53 Averyll Ave., Wolcott, CT 06716

Hi Florence. Please contact our customer service department at (800) 431-2344 or by email at csinquiry@guideposts.org. They will be able to assist you.

I just finished the set of books. I really enjoyed the story. I was so happy to see you added people from the other Guideposts novels. I think this is the best set I have read. The authors are some of my favorites. Thank-you so much

My set of N Dreams were marked in correct order in which to read them. They were delicious. You could taste the foods, smell the smell of the ocean and the flowers, feel the ambiance of the Inn. I wish the writers would continue the story of the Marris sisters.

This series has been a true delight to read. The ability to picture everyone and the progression of restoring the Inn was captivating. I was sorry when I finished the series.

I have truly loved and enjoyed reading these books. Will there be additional books in series available similar to the Nantucket Dreams series?

Natucket Dream book series is great! I love the mysteries involved in the stories.
Please post or send pictures and a little story of the 3 sisters again. I would love to have that along with the book.

In what order should Nantucket Dreams Series be read in?
Thank you

Linda, see below.
Here's the order, Elaine: Book 1 – Seaside Harmony Book 2 – Sunflower Summer Book 3 – Whispers on the Deck

We just received Nantucket Dreams; it would be nice if the books were marked 1,2, & 3. Which one is 1st, 2nd, and 3rd?