I was recently introduced to a trilogy of books: Seashell Bay novels. While in the genre of romance novels, Long Islanders would be interested in reading this series that takes place on an island in Casco Bay called “Seashell Bay” (which seems like kind of an odd name for an island, but whatever).
Written by V. K. Sykes ( the husband and wife duo of Vanessa Kelly and Randy Sykes) the first book, “Meet me at the Beach” is dedicated “For Phil and Anne Kelly, who showed us the way to Seashell Bay.” In the acknowledgements, they write “Seashell Bay is a fictional place, of course. But there is certainly a Casco Bay, and it provided us with much inspiration for our series. Grateful thanks go to the residents of one small island in particular, especially Bob Stack, Liz and Robin Walker, and Harriet Davis and her two wonderful girls, Claire and Annie (thanks for finding the missing angel, Claire!).” Turns out Vanessa is the daughter of Phil Kelly and his first wife Flora. As most of you know Anne’s sister is Liz, and her niece is Harriet. So, the Davis family was Vanessa’s introduction to Long Island, and inspired her setting her trilogy on our fair island.
Reading through “Meet me at the Beach” is great fun for a Long Islander, trying to glimpse familiar places. In some ways Seashell Bay seems to be a bigger island, perhaps more like a Peaks Island. But there are common themes to Long Island – dances, the VFW, trying to control development, local kids leaving home to get as far away as possible from the island, local kids who choose to stay, the lobstering life, family feuds, generations of Irish American families, alcoholism, a Catholic Church, and the pros and cons of having a car ferry. I’m eager to read the other two books in the series: “See you at sunset,” and “Summer at the shore,” both of which follow the story of two of the friends of Lily, the heroine in the first novel. It’s always fun to read about your hometown, even under the guise of romance novel/beach reads.