Ruth Coe Chambers

author

“Chambers’ House on the Forgotten Coast left me in awe — of the well-crafted mystery and of the setting, a house filled with history and passion.”

House on the Forgotten Coast
by Ruth Coe Chambers
Fiction | 264 pages
Print: $16.15 | ISBN 978-1-63152-300-7
eBook $9.95 | ISBN 978-1-63152-301-4
She Writes Press
September 2017

 

Like a monarch surveying her domain, the house has stood for over a hundred years in the fishing village of Apalachicola on Florida’s northwest coast. She has known life. She has known passionate love. She has known brutal death. But she has guarded her secrets well . . .

Then eighteen-year-old Elise Foster and her parents arrive from Atlanta in their silver Jaguar, bringing with them their own secrets and desires. Seeking friendship in their new community, they find instead that the townspeople resent their intrusion. But this intrusion on the house’s privacy also provides a pathway for the past and the present to merge—and for the truth behind an unsolved murder to finally be brought to light. As you strive to solve the mystery, you and the Fosters are forced to address two critical questions: What is real? What is delusion?

mystery, suspense, magical realism, ghosts, history,  misfit, drugs, family, 1879, 1987, secrets, emotions, exploration, marriage, love, Forgotten Coast, Apalachicola, Florida, historic house, small-town life, Southern small town, Genre-bender, Gothic Literature, Historical Thriller Suspense, Literary Fiction, Magical Realism, Southern Gothic, Suspense, Thriller, Time Slip and/or Time Shift, Women’s Fiction

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  St. Joseph Point Lighthouse

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  Monument of Constitutional Convention, Port St. Joe

Monument of Constitutional Convention, Port St. Joe

   
  
 
  
    
  
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  Port St. Joe marching band in Florida Governor Fuller Warren’s inauguration

Port St. Joe marching band in Florida Governor Fuller Warren’s inauguration

Literary Works

Chambers has released a reissue of The Chinaberry Album and its sequel, Heat Lightning, a post World War II novel that returns to Bay Harbor and to events that change the protagonist's life. Chambers had the pleasure of launching her books — one reissued, one new — at the 100th birthday celebration of her beloved Port St. Joe. She is currently working on the third novel in the Bay Harbor Trilogy, Receding Tide.
 

The Chinaberry Album
The first book in the Bay Harbor Trilogy, The Chinaberry Album tells a genteel coming of age story set during World War II in a once-sleepy town on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Anna Lee Owens, the young daughter of a deputy sheriff, begins to realize that there are disturbing secrets in her family, that her quiet hometown runs by unspoken rules, and that often the smartest thing to do is to listen to your instincts.  Read an excerpt here.

“In this first novel, Anna Lee's narration is usually true to her age... however, Ruth Coe Chambers uses Anna Lee's point of view artfully as she explores the terror of growing up in a world full of conflicting rules and values. When Chester nearly rapes the girl, and everyone believes his version of the story, Anna Lee's protective silence turns to actual muteness.... But by then Anna Lee and her loved ones have inspired enough affection that even the most pragmatic reader couldn't wish for any other ending.”
— Katherine Burkett, New York Times Book Review

The Chinaberry Album is available from Amazon.com
 

Heat Lightening
Heat Lightening is the second book in the Bay Harbor Trilogy. Bay Harbor wasn’t a picture postcard town. The war was an awkward memory, its trenches returning some to the small Florida gulfport, though not the men they used to be. What Bay Harbor’s residents hadn’t expected was the change and tragedy the soldiers would bring home. No one loved Bay Harbor more than twelve year old Anna Lee Owens, daughter of the deputy sheriff. A livewire too observant of Bay Harbor’s secrets, she indulged in death tours, dreamed of lighthouses, and worshiped the tragic Tyler Rose. She played rascal with Tyler’s cousin T. J. at his father’s funeral home, and longed for the grace of the mercurial Lola. Among the tide of soldiers and unexpected travellers, Anna Lee’s youth teeters precariously; Hilton Fields returns to Bay Harbor. Her father’s best friend, he ignites cataclysmic changes leading to an act of heartbreaking betrayal that changes the course of their lives forever. Read an excerpt here.

Heat Lightening is available from Amazon.com


Drama

Ruth Coe Chamber’s play, Changing Places, took first prize at the First Coast Writer’s Festival, and echoes the voice of Tennessee Williams. A play in two acts set in the mid-1960s South, Changing Places opens on the day of a funeral and examines the twists and turns in the lives of the deceased, his widow and his sister. Grown old hating each other, the widow and sister reveal their true personalities.

A subsequent play, She’s Wonderful, also garnered first prize at the Festival. Both plays have been performed for audiences at Florida State College at Jacksonville as well as the ABET Experimental Theater in Atlantic Beach. 


Magazine Articles

Rosebud
Crimson Love

Water's Edge Magazine
Assorted articles and profiles for the Jacksonville-based magazine