Lisa Duhaime, Innkeeper and Romance Reader
by Cheryl Serra
By Sunday of Reader Weekend 2015, the weather that held off for the Saturday trip to Block Island had arrived. But dark, dreary and drizzly didn’t stop Lisa Duhaime from coming to see Marie at her book signing in Newport, which capped off a fantastic Reader Weekend. In fact, Lisa’s husband, Rick, even drove her to the event from their home in Dartmouth, MA. He knew how important it was for Lisa to attend. He sat outside the book signing room working on his computer while Lisa waited for her time with Marie.
With her retirement and her husband’s opportunity to redefine his professional life in place, the pair converted their vacation home in Bartlett, New Hampshire into a bed and breakfast which they call The Mountain Chalet (this certainly has elements of the Green Mountain’s mountains and the Gansett Island Inn, doesn’t it?). One of their first guests was a couple with a service dog named Gustav and a group of six teachers from Maine who were fans of a romance writer from New Zealand. Lisa often tells her romance-loving guests about Marie’s books.
“We’ve met some amazing people,” Lisa says of her second career as an inn operator.
She recalls she downloaded Maid for Love, which is offered for free, and read it the night she received it. As so many other readers before her had learned, the book would initiate a near-addiction to a magical place and a love affair with people with whom she wanted to continue to spend time. She downloaded Fool for Love and got up to read it at 5:30 a.m. And on and on it went. Lisa read every available-at-the-time Gansett Island book in one weekend, she said. And she’d come to Reader Weekend to meet the mastermind behind the series.
“I feel like when I’m reading [Marie’s books] I’m reading about a family and you get a peek at the feelings I think everybody would like to have, the ups and downs,” she says. “I want to know what happens in this sweet little world.”
More recently, Lisa preordered the recently released Love After Dark and read it right away.
“I was so touched by Marie’s tenderness towards her characters with Alzheimer’s,” she says. “My mom also had it. That’s one of the many qualities that make Marie’s work magical. “
It is these qualities that prompted Lisa to send Marie a note after Reader Weekend.
“I really went to meet her but most importantly I stood back as an observer to see how she interacted with her audience,” she recalls of her time in Newport.
“Marie is everything one would hope to see in a very caring author. As a teacher, you hope that all your students make their dreams come true. On that Sunday I saw it in her. Everyone in her audience felt it. She smiled, she laughed, she listened and she was totally in love with all of it. What a great joy to be a teacher and to be a part of that moment. And that’s why she has her family support, her fans and her great new deal. From a quote from an old movie, The Replacements, ‘you need heart’”.
Cheryl Serra is Marie’s director of publicity—and one of her bridesmaids 23 years ago!