Thursday, July 24, 2014

Secrets of Hallstead House


Title: Secrets of Hallstead House
Author: Amy M. Reade
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.
Pages: 255
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Format: Kindle

Purchase at AMAZON

“You are not wanted here. Go away from Hallstead Island or you will be very sorry you stayed.”


Macy Stoddard, a nurse from Manhattan, comes to Hallstead Island in the North Country of New York to escape a haunting pain.  It is here that Macy discovers secrets that were not meant to be shared – secrets that reach back into Macy’s past and that will change her future and the futures of the people on Hallstead Island.  There are those, however, who will stop at nothing to keep the secrets that are hidden there

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Book Excerpt:

My journey was almost over.

It was raining, and I looked out through the drizzle across the

blue-gray water of the Saint Lawrence River. Only a few boats were

out on such a raw and rainy day. From the bench where I sat on the

Cape Cartier public dock, I could see several islands. Each was covered

with trees—dark green pine trees and leafy maples, oaks,

birches, and weeping willows. In the chilly late September air, the

leaves were already tinged with the colors of fall: yellows, reds, oranges,

browns. I could glimpse homes on the islands, but I didn’t see

any people. It was beautiful here—so different from the city I had

just left behind.

Even though twenty years have come and gone since that day, I

can still remember the calm that settled around me as I waited for my

ride to Hallstead House in the middle of the Thousand Islands. My

nerves were still ragged, but the river had an immediate and peaceful

effect on me. I was only twenty then, but I had been through so much.

Though I had been traveling for just a few hours, my journey to this

place had begun six long weeks earlier.

As I listened to the raindrops plunk into the river, the sound of the

motor from an approaching boat cut into my reverie. It was an older

boat of gleaming mahogany with a large white awning covering most

of it, protecting the cabin and the pilot from the rain. It puttered up to

the dock slowly and in a few moments had pulled alongside, close to

where I sat. The pilot moved to the stern and climbed out quickly, securing

the boat to the dock with a thick rope. He turned to me with a

questioning look and said, “Macy Stoddard?”


He shook my hand curtly. “I’m Pete McHale. I work for Alexandria

Hallstead. She sent me here to pick you up. That all the luggage

you brought?”

“Yes, that’s it.”

He shot me a disapproving look and said, “I hope you brought

some warm stuff to wear. It starts getting cold up here pretty early in

the fall. It’s colder here than it is in the big city, you know.” He


Determined to stay positive, I ignored his look of reproach and

replied that I had plenty of warm clothes. Once he’d stowed my two

large suitcases in the boat under the awning, he helped me on board,

where I chose a seat in the front so I could see where we were going

and stay dry. I had been in a boat once as a child when a furious storm

blew up, and I had hated boats ever since. Still, though I was unhappy

and nervous to be riding in one, there was absolutely no other way to

get to my island destination. Pete untied the boat and we slowly

pulled away from the dock. As he scanned the river and began turning

the boat to the north, I glanced at his profile. He looked like he was

in his mid-thirties—medium height, with light-brown, windblown

hair, and green eyes with creases in the corners that made it look like

he squinted a lot. He wore faded jeans and a Windbreaker.

When he had steered the boat out of the small, sheltered bay at

Cape Cartier and into the more open channel, he glanced at me and

said, “We’ll be at Summerplace in about ten minutes.”


“That’s the name of the house on Hallstead Island.”

“Oh. I thought it was called Hallstead House.”

“Its official name is Hallstead House. The people who live on the

island just call it Summerplace.”

We sat in silence for several moments, and finally I asked, “Why

is it called Summerplace?”

Pete sighed. Evidently he didn’t relish playing the role of tour

guide. “It’s called Summerplace because it used to be a summer retreat

for the Hallstead family. Now Miss Hallstead stays there for as

much of the year as she can. In early to mid-October she moves the

household over to Pine Island and spends the winter there.”

To keep my mind off my abject fear of being on the water, I turned

my attention to the islands we were passing. Each one had a home on

it, and all of the homes were beautiful. Some looked empty, since

their occupants had probably left after the summer ended, but some

still had boats tied to docks or housed in quaint boathouses. The

homes themselves, most of which were huge and had large, welcoming

porches, were surrounded by the ever-present trees. Several had

bright awnings over the windows.

In the face of Pete’s apparent ambivalence, I had determined not

to ask any more questions. But as I sat looking around me I forgot my

self-imposed rule. “Are there really a thousand islands in this area?”

I blurted out.

“There are actually over eighteen hundred islands in the Thousand

Islands,” he replied. To my surprise, he seemed to warm to this

subject and continued. “In order to be included in the count, an island

has to be above water three hundred and sixty-five days a year and

support at least two living trees.”

I continued to draw him out, asking, “What do you do for Mrs.


His attitude changed again, becoming colder. “It’s Miss Hallstead.

She never took her husband’s name.


Meet the Author



Amy M. Reade is a debut author of romantic suspense.  A native of upstate New York, she grew up in the Thousand Islands region and was inspired by the natural beauty of that area to write her first novel, Secrets of Hallstead House.  She now lives in New Jersey with her husband, three children, a Bouvier des Flandres named Orly, and two rescued cats who refuse to answer to their names of Porthos and Athos.


Having practiced law in New York City, Amy soon discovered that her dream job was writing.  In addition to volunteering with school, church, and community groups, Amy is currently working on her second novel, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, set in the area around Charleston, South Carolina.


Though Amy lives within sight of the Atlantic Ocean, she is partial to the blue waters of the Pacific and spends as much time as possible on the Big Island of Hawaii, which is the setting of her as-yet-unwritten third novel.


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1 comment:

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