The Great American Road Trip
Book: Chesapeake Blue by Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts writes books. Lots of books. And she is very popular with many, many readers. Until now, I had not read any of them. I stumbled across [amazonify]0515136263::text::::Chesapeake Blue[/amazonify] because it sounded like a good introduction to Maryland on our Great American Road Trip. Turns out it is the third in a trilogy about the Quinn Family, each of which focused on a different family member in the small (imaginary) community of St. Christopher on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It sounds a lot like the real life St. Michael’s Maryland, which looks like a great place to visit.
Chesapeake Blue features Seth, an artist recently returned from great success in Europe. He meets Dru, who has fled the life of the pampered rich in Washington D.C. to start a flower shop in St. Christopher. They meet and…well the rest is predictable. Seth’s mother shows up to blackmail him, threatening some unnamed horrible revelation, which turns out not to be so horrible and not to be a revelation to anyone who has been reading the novel. This is my objection to the book. All predictable.
Of course the regular readers are looking for those sex scenes that are hot enough to melt the paint off Seth’s canvas. Excuse me if I sound flip, but I have to admit that over-reaching metaphoric descriptions of sex always give me the giggles. It strikes me as so futile. Why spend time reading about things that are so much more fun doing?
Nevertheless I will admit that Nora Roberts manages to describe the lure of the land as enticingly as she does the lure of love. And her evocation of the seascapes of Chesapeake Bay have me yearning for a different kind of thrill than the painter and the florist find on a bed of rose petals. Early in the book, Roberts writes:
As he drove across the bridge, his artist’s eye wanted to capture that moment–the rich blue water and the boats that skimmed its surface, the quick white waves and the swoop of greedy gulls. The way the land skimmed its edge, and spilled back with its browns and greens. All the thickening leaves of the gum and oak trees with those flashes of color that were flowers basking in the warmth of spring.
I have driven around the inlets and bays and the fishing villages of Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, and can testify to its otherworldly feel. Here, just a stone’s throw from the heavy traffic and frantic rush of the nation’s capitol, life slows to a pace that feels more like the 19th than the 21st century. White board houses with bright colored trim line narrow streets that lead to the docks where fishing boats and pleasure boats pick up the same bright colors of the houses.
Water surrounds life, here. Friends and I visited the historic village of St. Mary’s City, the 4th oldest settlement in the U.S., on the banks of the St. Mary’s River. (That’s not on the Eastern Shore, but on the more visited western shore of the Bay.) We followed the river, driving over spits of land to the very end where a ramshackle pier reached into the water and we sat at a wooden trestle table with steamed crabs spread on paper. We breathed sea air and ate our fill.
It has been many years, and I’m not sure of the exact location, but this PDF brochure of St. Mary’s County can start you exploring. If you only know the Washington D.C. suburbs or Baltimore–time for a road trip to Maryland.
Take a listen to the music for the Maryland road recommendations at Music Road, our partner in the Great American Road Trip. Don’t miss each state we visit on the Great American Road Trip. You can follow the road trip each Wednesday starting with this post about Blue Highways, and Music Road’s the music begins. These photos are compliments of Creative Commons license from Flickr. Click on the photo to see more about each photographer.
Are you a fan of Nora Roberts? Of romance novels? Or a fan of Maryland? Tell all here, and start a conversation with other readers.