mantel(24K)

Antoinette's Christmas Mantel: Season Three

Note: This pictorial eBook contains large images and is designed to be viewed on an actual tablet, such as an iPad. Viewing it on a tablet will allow the images to be enlarged and explored. It can also be viewed on a Mac with iBooks.

If you've been to my Home Page, then you know I've begun to convert my out-of-print novels into eBook format. It's no coincidence that in November I released KEEPSAKE, a novel of romantic suspense, for all the e-reader formats out there. Much of the novel takes place during the Christmas season, so I decided to recreate its opening scene in my mantel village this year.

Almost everything you see in my mantel villages is from before World War II. The cardboard houses were all made in Japan, most in the early 1930's. The little flat figures, called "zinnfiguren," are from Germany. The street lamps are -- what else? -- Lionel. The bottlebrush trees are faded and rusty but carry their age, like everything else in this miniature world, with grace and panache. It's deeply satisfying to know that through most of the last century, other dreamers arranged these very same toys to tell their own stories. May it ever be so.

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Christmas in Keepsake

My novel is set in a Connecticut village called Keepsake. When the story begins, it's nearly dark and it's snowing. Tonight is the annual tree lighting, and the village center is bustling. Holding court in the town's charming gazebo, Santa Claus is welcoming young ones and hearing their wish lists. Children are everywhere -- waiting on benches, perched on fences, arriving by horse-drawn sled. Santa's deer (borrowed from a petting zoo for the evening) are waiting in a nearby pen for their next handful of feed from some eager child. People are chatting, shopping, skating, enjoying hot drink and food. Keepsake loves Christmas.

And that is the scene that Quinn Leary, the hero of my novel, comes upon after an absence of seventeen years. Quinn is a townie, the son of an estate gardener accused of a slaying he didn't commit. Gardener and teenage son had fled Keepsake one step ahead of an arrest, and now Quinn has returned to clear his father's name. At first Quinn doesn't notice a charming shop in Keepsake called "Miracourt". It's a newer shop, filled with beautiful fabrics -- and it's owned by Quinn's old high-school rival, Olivia Bennett. Olivia is the daughter of the wealthiest man in Keepsake, a mill owner and a man who was able easily to afford to keep Quinn's gardener father full-time. Olivia's little shop also has a place on my mantel this Christmas. For the rest of their story.

But in the meantime, the regular cast of characters from mantel villages in years gone by are all still here, and their latest chapters continue in this season. And remember, just double-tap on any of the images in this book to explore them in detail.





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