A young woman is hurled back to 1954 to spend a week with Marilyn Monroe.
Together, they embark on their own personal journeys — one a coming-of-age — the other, Marilyn’s journey, a struggle to reconcile with her past and perhaps change the future.
A delightful and enthralling read! Elyse Douglas captured magic and put it on the page. —Ambling Bookworm Reviews
Loved the book as it transported me to the 1950’s. I have not lived in that era but reading this book made me appreciate the era my parents grew up in, and I could relate some of the descriptions in the book to the experiences that my parents have shared with me before.
The main character in this book, Darla, deals with the death of her mother by falling back to the things that she loves in life, and one of them is Marilyn Monroe. The adventure with Norma Jeane (Marilyn) begins when Darla went in search of her missing dog and bumps into Norma driving a car with the number plate “1954”. This is when Darla travels time backward and brings us all along the journey.
I love the way Darla channels her focus on the things that she loves when facing the adversity of life.
A mysterious man from the past steals the time travel lantern. When Eve and Patrick find it, they destroy it. Eve’s life is shattered. She must return to the past, where secrets await.
In the third novel of THE CHRISTMAS EVE series, Eve and Patrick Gantly are living a normal life in 2019 New York, preparing to celebrate the Christmas season. Patrick is taking courses in forensic psychology and Eve continues to work as a nurse practitioner. To their delight, she is three months pregnant.
Despite their happiness, Eve is having premonitions that something dreadful is about to occur. Concerned about the future and the safety of their child, she insists that they destroy the time travel lantern. Patrick is more cautious.
One afternoon when Patrick is out, a sinister man breaks into the apartment and forces Eve to give him the lantern. In many ways, Eve is relieved the lantern is gone. She hopes they can now live a more normal life. A day later, Patrick shadows a woman who has been staking out the Gantly’s brownstone apartment, and he confronts her. To his and Eve’s utter shock, they learn that Lucy Rose is from 1924 and that she time-traveled with the man who took the lantern. He returned to 1924, but she chose to stay behind. She offers to sell the lantern back to Eve and Patrick, and they reluctantly agree, hoping to keep it out of unscrupulous hands.
Convinced that the lantern is a threat to their future happiness, Eve and Patrick decide to destroy it.
But the lantern has more power than they could have ever imagined. Once the lantern is destroyed, Eve’s life is completely changed. She must set off on an adventure, in a struggle that will return her to the past, where she will learn the secret of the lantern’s origin and delve into the farthest reaches of her heart.
This is book 3 of ‘The Christmas Eve’ series and it can be read as part of the series or on it’s own but I believe when all three is read, you get the idea of how one character is connected to the other in detail.
Time travel is perhaps a genre that everybody enjoys reading and I am no exception in this case. Being a fan of chicklit books and those that highlight the lives of women, I have to say that I enjoyed the part where Eve and Partrick were brought back to 1884, where oppression against women was greater than it is now.
I love how Eve puts in effort to make sure that she doesn’t lose Patrick and although she finds it uncomfortable to be transported back in time, she eventually gets used to it. I love the way the authors weave the story, in a simple, yet enjoyable manner.
I would rate this book an easy read as you get hooked on to the story rather quickly.
Elyse Douglas is the pen name for the married writing team Elyse Parmentier and Douglas Pennington. Elyse grew up near the sea, roaming the beaches, reading and writing stories and poetry, receiving a master’s degree in English Literature. She has enjoyed careers as an English teacher, an actress, and a speech-language pathologist. She and her husband, Douglas Pennington, have completed numerous novels including The Other Side of Summer, Christmas for Juliet, The Christmas Eve Letter, Christmas Ever After, The Christmas Town and The Christmas Diary.
Douglas grew up in a family where music and astrology were second and third languages. He has worked as a graphic designer, a corporate manager and equities trader. He attended the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music and played the piano professionally for many years.
Elyse and Douglas live in New York City.
Describe yourself in five words: A couple who write novels.
What fact about yourself would really surprise people? Doug is a vegetarian and I am not. Dinnertime is interesting in our house. We usually eat the same starch and vegetables, but Doug cooks a soy product or veggie burger and I eat chicken or fish.
How do you work through self-doubts and fear? We support and encourage each other. We meditate, acknowledge the self-doubts and fear and then replace those thoughts with more positive ones.
What scares you the most? For me it’s not being able to eat three times a day. For Doug, it’s not having decent music available.
What makes you happiest? When we remember to live in the moment and appreciate what is around us.
Why do you write?Because we have to. It’s as simple as that.
Have you always enjoyed writing? Yes and no. It’s hard work, but it feels wonderful when you express well what you want to say, and when others like the work.
What motivates you to write? The prospect of the end product… and having other people read our stories.
What writing are you most proud of? Doug really loves “Wanting Rita.” I especially love “Time Change.”
What are you most proud of in your personal life? That we’ve sustained a good relationship for more than 30 years.
What books did you love growing up? I loved “Little Women.” Doug loved “Lad, a Dog” and “By Wagon Train to Oregon.”
What do you hope your obituary will say about you? That we lived ethical, loving and creative lives.
Location and life experiences can really influence writing, tell us where you grew up and where you now live? We live in New York City, where we met. I originally came from Massachusetts and Doug from Ohio.
How did you develop your writing? We give each other honest and constructive criticism. Our readers often do too!
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing? All three are difficult. At this point, we don’t start a novel unless we know how we will market it. And since we’ve gone the self-publishing route for many reasons, getting published is difficult only insofar as we have to do the mechanics of that process ourselves, working with designers, programmers, etc. Writing remains refreshingly challenging!
What marketing works for you? We have a mailing list. Also, BookBub Featured Deals, Facebook ads and Amazon ads are helpful.
Do you find it hard to share your work? Not at all.
Is your family supportive? Do your friends support you? Some do, some don’t. We have friends and family members who have read every book, some who have read one, some who have read none. People have their own taste and expectations for novels, so we don’t pressure anyone to read our books.
What else do you do, other than write? We do some consulting work in other professions, but our main activity is writing and producing the books. Doug walks and hangs out in cafes. I swim and take Tai Chi and Pilates classes.
What other jobs have you had in your life? Doug has been a musician and corporate manager. I’ve been an actress, English teacher and speech-language pathologist.
If you could study any subject at university what would you pick? Since I’ve spent my life reading, I would probably explore the opposite: sciences like geology or entomology. Doug loves history.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?Right here, in NYC, with vacations in Montauk, NY and Maine.
Tell us about your family? We have nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews and the siblings who produced those.
How do you write – lap top, pen, paper, in bed, at a desk? Doug usually writes at his desktop computer. I often start with pen and paper, often outdoors or on a couch, then move to my desktop.
How much sleep do you need to be your best?Seven to eight hours a night.
Is there anyone you’d like to acknowledge and thank for their support? Doug’s father was a huge supporter of our writing. The most avid reader of our books on my side of the family is my sister.
Every writer has their own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you? At this point, we measure success in sales and positive ratings. We want readers to enjoy our books and spread the word about them. Luckily, they have!
Tell us about your new book? Why did you write it? Our readers expressed an interest in a sequel to Book 2, The Christmas Eve Daughter. They wanted to series to continue. This novel is another adventure for Eve and Patrick Gantly (characters we introduced in Book 1,The Christmas Eve Secret). The themes are redemption, self-discovery, and love at first sight that grows and endures.
If you could have a dinner party and invite anyone dead or alive, who would you ask? We’d probably go for Shakespeare and Gandhi at the heads of the table, and then George Elliot, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Clara Schumann on one side. On the other side? John Steinbeck, Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax? We read. If our eyes are tired, we listen to recorded books. We also love to take walks and travel.
What do you hope people will
take away from your writing? How will your words make them feel? We
hope our readers have enjoyed the journey we’ve taken them on and end up feeling
positive about themselves and the world.
What do you write about? Our books are basically about love and the
power of love. But it sometimes takes
our characters a little time to have their hearts opened.
Do you have a specific writing style? We aim for a good, clean narrative style and
dialogue that advances the plot and reveals character.
What are obstacles that come in the way of
writing? Nothing gets in the way. We are quite disciplined. It is a job, and we write six or seven days a
What’s the most memorable thing asked/said by
a reader about your work? “This is a story of life; heartbreak, grief and finally peace
and love. A story to remind us to be
good to ourselves and those around us, and that in life when doors close, windows
open.” A reader’s review about Christmas
How long have you been writing? I’ve written in a journal since I was eight years old and wrote my first novel in my thirties. Doug started writing novels in his twenties.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer? It’s been my goal since I read about Jo in “Little Women.” For Doug, it was a result of listening to his grandfather, a gifted storyteller from Kentucky.
What is your work schedule like when you are writing? We both work about five hours a day.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk? Doug loves to have the cover designed before
he begins to write a novel. The cover
might be changed, but having it visible keeps him focused on the plot he’s
already worked out in his head. I’m more
exploratory and indirect in my approach.
I write scenes and then gradually understand where I’m going.
How long does it take to write a book? At this point, it takes three to
six months to write it and then at least another two for the rewrites, copyedits,
Do you have suggestions on how to become a
better writer? Write nearly every day. Read every day. Analyze the writing of writers you
admire. If you feel like your plot
weighs 500 pounds and you’re struggling to keep it up, scrap it and try a
What challenges do you come across when
writing/creating your story?
The greatest challenges are to create likeable characters and then keep
the plot moving. Subplots can also help to
enhance the tension and keep the mystery alive.
What do you think makes a good story? The best story is one that keeps the reader
interested. The characters must be likeable
and real, even if their situations are fantastical (like time traveling to 1884
by way of the light from an old lantern).
Also important is to have a good antagonist. They help drive the story.
Do you have anything specific you’d like to
tell the readers? Thank you for being readers, and thank you for
reading our books!
you first consider yourself a writer?
We’ve always thought of ourselves as writers, but when your books start
to sell and you’re making a steady income from them, then it’s easier to say it
out loud with confidence.