Sharing the Escape to Marie’s World of Books
Two Texas women have become new BFFs thanks to Marie’s books. And one of the women is going to help an ill friend during a difficult time by donating her Nook so she, too, can be lost in the stories.
Thirty-three year old Samantha Schexnider is a stay-at-home wife and mother of three who lives in Vidor, TX. Her husband, Chris, is a tugboat captain and is gone a month at a time, so she reads a lot.
For Christmas, 2012, Chris brought Samantha a Nook. Difficult life circumstances prevented her from using it for a while, but when things had settled down the following year, she saw Treading Water was on sale and she bought it.
“I was an emotional wreck through the whole thing, but I loved it and had to see what was to come, so I bought the whole series. I was hooked from there. I have read every book from Marie since. “
In 2013, Samantha sent a private Facebook message to Hezie-Ann Chrysostom. Like Samantha, Hezie was on one of the Gansett Island Facebook Reader groups.
“One day I messaged her about Laura’s twins so we wouldn’t get in trouble for spoilers,” she recalls. “I wanted to know what the babies were going to be (and we STILL don’t know…ugh, can’t wait).”
Thirty-six-year-old Hezie-Ann was born in Trinidad and Tobago and now lives in Houston, where she’s a married mother of a thirteen-year-old son and works as a medical assistant. She had bought her Kindle more than three years ago, was looking for books and came across Maid for Love, which is free. When she read the book blurb, she knew she’d like the book and bought it.
And then she bought all the others in the series.
“I love Marie’s writing,” she says. “She ropes you in with her stories. It’s as though you have become part of the families that she features. There’s emotion, laughter, and parts where you just want to run in the books and slap somebody, like Jim Sturgil!”
Hezie-Ann has read just about every book Marie has written. Her favorite stand alone title is The Wreck.
“Oh my goodness, I cried like a fool reading that book. That’s Marie again,” she says.
After the fateful Facebook message, Samantha and Hezie-Ann began sending messages regularly.
“We started talking all the time,” Samantha says. “Then she told me about a trip to New York she was going on with her sisters. I gave her my number and told her to send me pictures and from there we started texting each other.”
They realized they didn’t live that far from each other–just an hour-and-a-half away. It took them a year to be able to get together.
“My husband wasn’t very happy at first about me making that trip by myself and him being on the boat, not being able to help me if I broke down or had a flat (the worrier he is),” Samantha says with a chuckle.
The pair met at a T.G.I. Fridays and they told their server the story of how they’d met and the server gave them all the time they needed to gab and laugh.
Nowadays, they text or talk nearly every day.
“We share books, recommend things to read, talk about the books as we read, wait for each other to start some, and even cheat and ask what’s going to happen,” Samantha says.
“Hezie and I have become very good friends. She’s one of my best friends!” Samantha says. “She is an amazing person. I love her dearly. She and I have a lot of laughs but also talk about things we are going through. She’s always there to talk to.”
The admiration is mutual.
“I love Samantha,” Hezie-Ann says. “She is someone I’ve come to love and trust. She is down to earth and very sweet. We labeled each other BFFs not too long ago. Our friendship is three years old and counting, and I don’t intend to let it go.”
Of Marie, the woman whose books led to this friendship, she says, “I am a huge fan of Marie. I rarely buy paperback books but the one book I bought was Maid for Love, signed by Marie, and the heroine was me! (Readers were able to buy the book with their name instead of the actual heroine during a one-time promotion.) I bought Maid for Love because that was the first book I fell in love with, and they are also my favorite couple in the Gansett Island series.”
Many FanGirls have said that Marie’s books have provided a much-needed and temporary escape from life’s challenges. They transport readers to other people’s lives and the places they live them, allowing the readers to leave their own for a bit. Samantha is currently one of these readers.
She’s going through a rough time, and she’s loves going to the places Marie writes about and getting involved in her characters’ trials and tribulations. She also likes that the books are reasonably priced.
She plans to buy them all again so she can help another gal pal escape.
“Almost all Marie’s books are on my Nook but I need them on my Kindle because my best friend, Selena, has cancer and is going through chemo,” she explains. “I’m giving her my Nook to have while she’s doing treatment. I’ve told her about Marie’s books and I hope having the Nook to read will help her as much as it has me.”
So do we, Samantha.
Cheryl Serra is Marie’s director of publicity. Share your FanGirl stories with Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org.