Lea Wait

Discussion Guide: Shadows on the Coast of Maine
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Author’s Note:

In each Shadows book I’ve played a little with different styles of classic mysteries. In Shadows on the Coast of Maine I’ve paid light homage to the gothic, with Amy and Drew Douglas buying an old house Amy believes may be haunted. I set the book in my own home, which was built in 1774 on an island and moved to the mainland in 1832. The original fireplace, pictured here and described in the book, was walled up when the house was moved, and uncovered by my mother, grandmother, and I when I was a child. Although we found the original crane and a great deal of dirt and debris, we did not find the box Amy and Drew found in their fireplace!

Questions and Topics for Discussion

One reviewer wrote that reading Shadows on the Coast of Maine was “like a vacation Down East!” What did the author do to make the reviewer feel that way? Does the setting of a book influence your choice to read it?

Amy and Drew Douglas purchased a house over 200 years old that had never before been out of the original family. That house is very important to many of the Mainers in Shadows on the Coast of Maine. Is family identity with a place, or with a house, important to you or your family? To people you know? Is it a tradition to be valued, or something old-fashioned; something in the way of progress?

Today issues of infertility and adoption are no longer family secrets; they are on the news. Celebrities parade their adopted children for the media. In Shadows on the Coast of Maine Maggie, Amy, Drew, and Will all share their feelings about adoption and parenthood. How did their individual experiences shape their current views?

What connections did the prints described at the beginnings of the chapters in Shadows on the Coast of Maine have to the book? The specific chapters?

Fireplace in Lea's 1774 home, the original fireplace in
Shadows on the Coast of Maine

Maggie’s husband had been unfaithful to her. How does that influence how she reacts to Drew? To Will’s confession of his relation to Rachel? Do you think she should have been more upset? Less?

How did you feel when the contents of the box in the fireplace were revealed? How would you have felt if you had found that in a house you'd purchased?

Aunt Nettie says, “At my age, where and what I eat isn’t a quarter as important as who the company is I’m eating it with,” and, although she does say she’s “sorry about little Crystal,” almost immediately afterward asks, “What are we going to have for dinner?” Did you like her? Do you think that was a realistic reaction for her to have?

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