I’m very excited to share this next review; I was contacted in May by author Christine Nolfi with the invitation to read and review her novel, Treasure Me. A finalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards, Treasure Me is a fusion of mystery, romance and history that bounds from the Women’s Fiction genre into unfathomable depths. It’s a triumphant novel that sparks with warmth and honesty, brimming with emotion and leaving the reader with the genuine satisfaction of a remarkable reading experience. I consider myself uniquely fortunate to have had the opportunity to know it. In case it wasn’t obvious, this review will be something of a rave. I truly loved this book!
Treasure Me tells the story of Birdie Kaminsky, a petty thief with a good heart and the desire to live an honest life. Birdie comes from a long line of thieves and con men, but her family history dates back beyond her scheming relations to a well-intentioned plantation owner and the slave woman he loved in Civil War-era South Carolina. He freed the slave, Justice Postell, and sent her north with a treasure. The secret of the treasure spread like a rumor through Birdie’s family and at the novel’s fore we find the lovely thief headed to Liberty, Ohio armed with only a scraggly military jacket and a parchment holding the only clue to the treasure left by Justice: Liberty safeguards the cherished heart. While Birdie hopes to find her ancestor’s treasure and start her life anew, hard-edged reporter Hugh Schaeffer arrives in the small town determined to write a shocking expose that will send Liberty reeling. As Birdie and Hugh struggle with their secrets and burgeoning romance they find that Liberty and its inhabitants present more than just a material treasure waiting to be unearthed.
Deftly and with insurmountable charm Christine weaves the stories of many unforgettable characters into one rich tapestry. Each inhabitant of Liberty that buzzes around the Second Chance Grill, the local establishment where Birdie takes up work – from fiery, pistol-wielding matriarch Theadora to spunky thirteen year-old cancer survivor Blossom – touches the reader’s heart and brings them to a place where family means more than blood. It’s truly an enchanting novel that explores the depth of human kindness and reminds you never to underestimate the worth of a small town.
Treasure Me is currently available for Kindle and a print-on-demand edition is slated for release in July. I will absolutely keep you all posted of that release date, as well as the sequel novel, Second Chance Grill, which is due out this summer. I really can’t recommend Treasure Me enough; and it’s a steal (pun intended!) at $2.99 on Amazon! Don’t have a Kindle? You can download Kindle for PC for free!
Q&A with Christine Nolfi
Christine was kind enough to partake in a small Q&A for you all; here’s what she had to say…
Treasure Me boasts an impressively large cast of characters. Was the process of writing so many different personalities overwhelming?
Writing a novel with multiple points-of-view posed several problems. Each character’s knowledge of Birdie was limited, which restricted elements in the storyline as the plot progressed. Later, after I’d finished revising the manuscript, I had to ensure each character’s dialogue made sense based on what she knew at a particular point of time. Through it all, I had to take care not to lose the reader – I don’t know about you, but I dislike novels that force me rifle back through the pages to try to recall who a character is. All of the POV characters were distinctive so the reader would remember them and to create a richer reading experience.
What was your inspiration behind freedwoman Justice Postell and the chronicle of her life?
My late mother’s family is of French and English descent. My French ancestors arrived in Charleston not long after the Revolutionary War. The history is sketchy, but they may have been plantation owners. Given that, I’ve always wondered if I have black relatives that I’ve never met. This question is dear to my heart because I adopted four children from the Philippines and questions of skin color were common around the dinner table when they were growing up. I hope I portrayed in Treasure Me that “family” has nothing to do with skin color and everything to do with finding people you love, and who will love you in return.
Your sequel, Second Chance Grill, is slated for release this summer. Do you plan to extend the Liberty series beyond that?
With luck, the women of Liberty, Ohio will catch fire with readers, allowing me to extend the series indefinitely. Second Chance Grill will appear on Amazon in June. The third novel in the series, The Impossible Wish, will be released in the autumn or in early 2012. I could easily write ten novels about the town – Meade and Finney have their own stories and romances, and I have a very poignant plot worked out for Theodora and her nemesis, Ethel Lynn. The response to Treasure Me has been wonderful and I’m hoping to write about the town far into the future.
Treasure Me was published in e-book format with a print-on-demand edition being made available this summer. Do you have any advice for blossoming authors who might be weighing the merits of both mediums?
The ease of electronic publishing may tempt a blossoming writer to put her first draft in cyberspace. You only get one chance to be a debut novelist – your first release must offer quality and enjoyment to the reader. Join a critique group and hone your craft before entering the marketplace. Start by releasing an e-book, which can be done with minimal financial investment. Once you build a readership then consider print-on-demand-a more expensive proposition. And never stop believing in yourself, even when your parents or your significant other questions the time investment you make to complete a novel. With enough perseverance, you will reach publication!
About the Author
Christine owned a small public relations firm in Cleveland, Ohio. Her articles and press releases have appeared regionally in The Plain Dealer, The Akron Beacon Journal, Cleveland Magazine and other media outlets. Her short story, Night Hour, appeared in Working Mother magazine.
Christine closed the firm fifteen years ago after she traveled to the Philippines and adopted a sibling group of four children. She has been writing novels fulltime since 2004.
Thank you again, Christine!