For the avid reader and book lover, there’s a special feeling that comes with entering a cozy bookstore surrounded by shelves of possibility. From poetry to prose such bookstores offer the chance to travel to new worlds, explore infinite timelines, and meet new characters dreamed up by treasured authors.
One such new character to meet is Esme Cahill, the titular heroine of Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly, the latest novel from historical and contemporary fiction author Marie Bostwick. Marie’s works, including The Second Sister, The Restoration of Celia Fairchild, and the Cobbled Court Quilt book series, have appeared on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists. Enjoy Cherokee was granted the opportunity to read a preview edition of Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly and interview Marie in advance of her book release.
Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly
Marie’s latest work introduces protagonist Esme Cahill at one of the lowest points in her life: on the heels of a divorce, having been fired from her job as a publisher in New York City, and grieving the loss of her beloved grandmother, Adele. The series of events and a final request from Adele lead Esme to return to her childhood home, a lakeside retreat her family runs in Asheville, North Carolina.
At the retreat she reunites with her cherished grandfather, George, and comes to terms with her estranged mother, Robyn. Together they set out to revive the once-charming retreat.
Along the way Esme discovers a collection of her grandmother’s quilts tucked away in an attic. The discovery prompts Esme to explore her grandmother’s past and the common threads between her grandmother’s untold story and her own.
Marie expertly weaves the women’s stories together, revealing the ways Adele’s past influences Esme’s future. Her writing style and descriptive imagery make it easy to imagine the shimmering lake, colorful characters, and creative quilts left behind by Adele.
To celebrate the release of Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly on Tuesday, May 30, Marie is set to appear at FoxTale Book Shoppe in Downtown Woodstock for a book signing event.
Situated next to the Park at City Center, FoxTale Book Shoppe is an independent bookstore locally owned by Karen Schwettman, a lifelong avid reader herself.
Karen and her team—Beth Hermes, Hyphen Crossman, Sara Beshara, and Gary Parkes—are known for their welcoming dispositions and spot-on book recommendations for readers young and old. The shop hosts a children’s storytime series called Storytime Live!, book-club meetings, creative-writing classes, and a notable number of in-person author events featuring bestsellers and debut novelists alike.
The late Terry Kay, author of To Dance With the White Dog, was the first author to make an appearance at FoxTale Book Shoppe. Since then the store has welcomed many other well-known authors, including Rick Bragg, Kristin Hannah, Karin Slaughter, Alice Hoffman, James Patterson, Nicholas Sparks, Mary Kay Andrews, Adriana Trigiani, Tom Watson, and more. It has also hosted up-and-coming authors such as Tristan Tuttle, Mia Tsai, and Dawn Major.
The FoxTale team is excited to welcome Marie Bostwick for her first in-person event at the charming shop. FoxTale owner Karen describes Marie’s work as “hopeful and humorous” and expects Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly to be a favorite of local readers in search of summer reads.
Beth Hermes, FoxTale’s writer-in-residence and bookseller, echoes Karen’s sentiments, describing Marie’s work as providing a “glimmer of hope and light in difficult situations, serving as a reminder to readers that when we look for the good, that’s what we find.”
On May 4, FoxTale Book Shoppe celebrates sixteen years of welcoming bibliophiles and best-selling authors through its doors. In honor of this special anniversary, the shop will feature author appearances throughout the week, including Joshilyn Jackson, Patti Callahan Henry, Cindy Morgan, and Michael Farris Smith, one of FoxTale owner Karen’s personal favorite authors.
Celebrating sixteen years of serving the community is a laudable accomplishment for any establishment. For an independent boutique bookstore in the age of Amazon and large chain bookstores, the milestone is even more impressive.
Marie, who will soon be visiting the store in Woodstock, says she recognizes the importance of independent bookstores in celebrating authors and literature of all kinds. She feels most at home in towns where “there are real people who in live in that town, who own that business, and are pouring their heart into meeting the specific needs of that community.” She also shares that she loves independent bookstores because “they know what their customers want.”
She explains further, “The reason independent bookstores are thriving is that the owners of those stores are keyed into their community and what that community wants and how to create community within their stores.”
Of independent booksellers versus online retailers, Marie says, “The great value [is that] you can talk to actual booksellers, and they can make really good recommendations for you. That’s what shops like FoxTale do. It is an irreplaceable service; there’s just no comparison.”
Marie, a lifelong quilter, often features themes of quilting in her works as a way of exploring generational connections, female experiences, and artistic creativity. In Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly, quilter Adele and writer Esme both mirror certain elements of Marie’s creative talents. She is passionate about encouraging creatives to follow their dreams. Her latest work is a heartwarming and pleasant read that serves as an inspiration for creative people who may doubt their talents.
Visit FoxTale Book Shoppe on May 30 to pick up a copy of Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly and connect with the book’s inspiring and encouraging author.
Marie Bostwick’s new novel, Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly, explores the art of quilting and the creative process behind it. You can also explore the crafts of sewing and quilting locally with History Cherokee. On Friday, May 19, visit the Cherokee County History Center in Downtown Canton for a cotton loom demonstration at 11:00 a.m. with Exhibits & Collections Manager Kaylee Johnson. While there tour the Life’s a Stitch: Household Textiles in Cherokee County exhibit on display in the History Center’s Byron Dobbs Gallery through May 29.
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Jaye and her family moved to Cherokee County in 2021 and have embraced the charming community that now feels like home. In addition to being managing editor for the magazine, she is also a freelance resume writer and graphic designer, and was editor of her school newspaper, The Blueprint.