Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ my quantum leap to Nantucket

Nantucket — both the town and the island — is absolutely one of the characters of this novel.  As a matter of fact, the "island girls" in the story didn't provide much drama and the story was wrapped up a little too neatly — everyone lived happily ever after.  Well, not exactly, but it almost seemed that way.  Nantucket, on the other hand, was fascinating.  Enough so, at some point I used Google maps to see if there really was a Lily Street in that town.  Yep, the house where the action takes place is on a real street.
"A storybook house.  A house with many stories" (p. 10).
When I googled it, I discovered the street is so narrow that it's a one-way street.  That doesn't matter so much when most of the time the characters walked wherever they were going.  Occasionally they rode a bike.  And only two cars could fit in their short driveway.  I "walked" up and down Lily Street and could see the limited parking situation.

Several times, characters chose NOT to wear shoes with heels because of the streets.  While exploring Nantucket online, I ran across a Wikipedia article that had this photo (and the satellite image above).  Notice Main Street's cobblestones.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.  In the novel, there's a bookstore in town.  I didn't search to see if it's real.
"They wandered into Bookworks and spent a long time browsing" (p. 247).
They lived on Lily Street and walked to places like Easy Street. I googled it and discovered that's only a half mile walk.  Puts things in perspective, doesn't it.  When I zoomed in to street level on Easy Street, I found myself looking out over a white picket fence at the boats anchored in the harbor.  A couple was standing there in front of me (I was, apparently, standing out in middle of the narrow one-way street).  Nearby was a dark-green bench where I could sit to enjoy the view.  What fun!
"Randall Real Estate was located in a small brick building on Easy Street, facing the harbor" (p. 258).
On my way back to Lily Street (via Google Map, of course), I took another route and discovered the six-columned, white building of the United Methodist Church.  No, it wasn't mentioned in the book, but I'm a retired United Methodist pastor, so I was happy to see the place.  And I highly recommend using Google maps to see where your novels and memoirs take place.  Want to know how it felt?  Like Sam Beckett "leaping" from one time-place to another time-place in the old Quantum Leap television series.  I first felt that when I realized I had "arrived" behind that couple looking out over the harbor.  I also expected them to turn around and ask me, "Where'd you come from?"

Island Girls ~ by Nancy Thayer, 2013, fiction (Massachusetts), 8/10.
To read more about the novel itself, read my Library Loot post.

Cross-posted on my Book Around the States blog, where we're reading books from all fifty states, plus the District of Columbia (Washington, DC).
The Sunday Salon's Facebook page has links to other blogs.


Helen's Book Blog said...

What a great idea to Google maps and Google to see the setting of the novel! I'll do that in my next read.

Vicki said...

I agree with Helen, I never thought of using GoogleMaps to see the area I was reading about, but it's a great idea!
Here's My Sunday Salon/Post

Joy said...

What fun! With Google Street View we can really get a sense of a place.