Title: Stuck in Manistique
Author: Dennis Cuesta
Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
Near the midpoint of the Upper Peninsula, along a Lake Michigan bend of shore, is the town of Manistique, Michigan. Mark had never heard of Manistique before the death of his estranged aunt, but as sole beneficiary of Vivian’s estate, he travels there to settle her affairs. As Mark tours his aunt’s house for the first time, the doorbell rings.
Days after graduating medical school, Dr. Emily Davis drives north, struggling with her illicit rendezvous on Mackinac Island. She never makes it—on the highway near Manistique, her car collides with a deer, shattering the car’s windshield. Stranded for the night, Emily is directed to a nearby bed and breakfast.
Maybe it’s a heady reaction, the revelation that his aunt, an international aid doctor, ran a bed and breakfast in retirement. Or perhaps he plainly feels pity for the young, helpless doctor. Regardless, Mark decides to play host for one night, telling Emily that he’s merely stepping in temporarily while his aunt is away.
As a one-night stay turns into another and more guests arrive, the ersatz innkeeper steadily loses control of his story. And though Emily opens up to Mark, she has trouble explaining the middle-aged man who unexpectedly arrives at the doorstep looking for her.
Will these two strangers, holding on to unraveling secrets, remain in town long enough to discover the connection between them?
I don’t know about you, but most of the time, when I read, I am conscious that I am reading. I am aware that I am flipping pages, that I am following a story on paper, and of my surroundings. Occasionally, there will be books marked five stars that I lose myself in completely, where an hour and 100 pages go by and I don’t notice either. Stuck in Manistique is one of these books.
It’s so easy to imagine how the quaint little bed and breakfast looks, how Mark’s delicious breakfast taste, and how comfortable the beds must be. It’s the type of book that makes you want to visit Manistique because you fell in love with the place through literature, through this story. The atmosphere that seeps through these pages is just completely unreal, in a good way, and left me with a comfortably surreal image of that town.
The story itself seems a little bit cliche at first glance but please don’t be fooled. I wanted a familiar plot to lose myself into, and this novel completely delivers with its crowd of quirky, well-developed characters who each bring something to the tale.
There were some pacing issues that threw me off but I assume that this will be edited in time for publishing (I believe it’s coming out tomorrow, actually) but it was still a nice mixture of slow exposure mixed with quick conversations and rapid developments – probably like working in a bed and breakfast, I suppose.
I highly recommend this book. If the summary interests you, please pick it up, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
I’d like to thank Celestial Eyes Press for the free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.