Today I’m delighted to introduce you to my friend Dawn Crandall, the author of the amazing Everstone Chronicles. I have thoroughly enjoyed her series set during the Gilded Age on the East Coast particularly Maine. You can read my review of her latest novel The Captive Imposter here. Bottom line? It’s my favorite of hers so far!
If you’re like me, you love learning some of the whys behind the story. I asked her if she’d come share some background, and she has graciously agreed. I think you’ll love learning why she picked the setting she did as much as I did — I can’t imagine this book anywhere else.
Selecting the setting for Captive Imposter
As sad as it is, the setting of the high-class resort situated in the rugged mountains of Maine in The Captive Imposter is fictionalized. I debated about doing this since all of the locations in the first two books of The Everstone Chronicles series were very accurately true to real life. However, there was only one hotel I knew of that resembled what I imagined Everston to appear like. For some reason, the idea of setting the story at Mt. Kineo within the heart of Moosehead Lake, central Maine, just didn’t feel right. I think it mainly had to do with the fact that the hotel at Mt. Kineo was now long gone, burned to the ground, and shoved into the lake. Add to it the three predeceasing hotels built upon the site suffered very similar fates. I didn’t like picturing the eventual destruction of such a beloved place as I was about to write about. I liked to instead, think of Everston as one of the very few grand hotels left from the era of the Gilded Age. Still, much about the hotel is very much like Mt. Kineo House—the floorplans, the extracurricular activities for the hotel guests, and the situation of the hotel to a nearby enormous slab of stone. In The Captive Imposter that slab is called Iron Mountain.
I’d thought about using this location for years before actually beginning to write Estella’s book. It was actually while I was still finishing up The Bound Heart that I started researching the next book—I always need to have at least a toe into the next book in order to fully come to grips with finishing the current one. This is the first and best website I found about the area while doing my research:
The summer after deciding this was the place I would set The Captive Imposter, my husband and I decided to visit Moosehead Lake (while we were in Maine anyway to visit his family) so we could experience it ourselves. It was absolutely gorgeous, and everything I’d hoped it would be! We weren’t able to stay on the peninsula (another reason I wanted to avoid using the “real life” locale!—you had to take a ferry to get to it from a town named Rockwood… which is also the name of the Everstone family’s mansion on Mount Desert Island.) While we were there, we even climbed Mt. Kineo so I could experience a little of Estella while I was there—much in the same way I was able to experience a little of Amaryllis and Meredyth while visiting Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island a few years before.
A little known fact? As we climbed that mountain, I was so incredibly tired! And I’d been on plenty of other more rugged hikes than that one before! It ended up that I was just days pregnant with my baby boy (who just turned one this month) at the time!
Sent away for protection, hotel heiress Estella Everstone finds herself living undercover as a lady’s companion named Elle Stoneburner at one of her father’s opulent hotels in the mountains of Maine—the one she’d always loved best and always hoped to own one day, Everston. The one thing she doesn’t like about the situation is that her ex-fiancé is in the area and is set on marrying someone else. Reeling from her feelings of being unwanted and unworthy, Estella reluctantly forms a friendship with the gruff manager of Everston, Dexter Blakeley, who seems to have something against wealthy young socialites with too much money, although they are just the kind of people Everston caters to.
When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer she can’t refuse. She sees no other choice aside from going back home to her family and accepts the position as companion to his sister. Throughout her interactions with Dexter, she can’t deny the pull that’s evidenced between them every time he comes near. Estella realizes that while she’s been hiding behind a false name and identity, she’s never been freer to be herself than when she’s with Dexter Blakeley. But will he still love her when he finds out she’s Estella Everstone? She’s not entirely sure.