Guest Hope Clark reviews her fave bookstore in the Lowcountry


This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

The Edisto Bookstore – Edisto Island, SC

             If I owned a bookstore, this is what I’d want. A store just big enough to carry all the appropriate reading material anyone might need on a trip to the beach, and small enough to not overwhelm them with selection. And do I have to say it? It’s at the beach.

Edisto bookstore

Owner Karen Carter established The Edisto Bookstore (http://www.edistobookstore.com/) on Edisto Island, South Carolina about 25 years ago, and she understands the needs of both area residents and the transients that filter through. Not only does she have all the good Lowcountry fiction authors: Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank, Karen White, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Anne Rivers Siddons, and, okay, me, but she also carries nonfiction that addresses topics like Edisto’s history, Lowcountry ghosts, local wildlife, and anything sea island in nature.

In the back you’ll find the used book section for children and young adults to swap books. Off in another section, you’ll find nautical charts and topographic maps of Edisto and the surrounding coastal area as well as road maps and fishing charts. And don’t think Karen can’t talk the charts, either. After making the mistake of underestimating the small, salt-and-pepper hair bobbed lady, people realize she knows the area.

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The signature of Edisto Bookstore, however, is Emily Grace. A stray, silky gray and white cat, Emily Grace lives in the store, open or closed. She welcomes pleasant guests and conveniently dodges the rowdy, staying just out of reach of those who don’t understand the dignity of how to treat a lady. She’s a mainstay and a mascot everyone knows.

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What I love about this store most, however, is the atmosphere. The white walls and beach mural painted behind the tiny two-computer Internet Café ooze coastal, and you’ll find enough non-book items to tempt you dearly. From hand-fired ceramics to stationery, from seashell puzzles to crab decorated aprons, you’ll fall in love with everything Lowcountry. Just like you wish you could stay at the beach forever, the Edisto Bookstore makes the book lover crave to not only visit, but also to work in this store, absorbing the literary beach feel.

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I’ve signed three times at Edisto Bookstore and presented at a book club meeting, each event amazingly successful for such a compact place. This store understands how to handle a signing, from the advertising to supplying the books, with Emily Grace adorning the signing table for as long as you let her. And Karen knows how to attract the authors, too. Mary Alice Monroe is a regular.

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On one hand, I wish the store were a little larger, but then I’m not so sure. The quaint tightness of the place might be a pro instead of a con, since visitors learn to talk to each other as they pass almost elbow to elbow, asking where each other where they’re from and if they own or rent their house. Plus, Karen Carter has marvelous taste in presentation and unique book-stands to capitalize on every square foot. It’s tiny but I’ve yet to find a Lowcountry or Edisto book it does not carry. To me, that tells me Ms. Carter knows what she’s doing. And it’s one of the first places I stop whenever I feel the ocean calling me back to Edisto Beach.

Highly recommended, and highly respected by myself, by island readers, and by the other indie bookstores throughout South Carolina.

 

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest mystery release is Murder on Edisto, a book you’re sure to find at The Edisto Bookstore as well as anywhere books are sold. Hope is also known for her award-winning Carolina Slade Mysteries and her resource website FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com

BLURB from Murder on Edisto:

When her husband is murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan suffers a mental break and relinquishes her badge to return home to South Carolina. She has no idea how to proceed with her life, but her son deserves to move on with his, so she relocates them to the family vacation home.

But the day they arrive on Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor and elderly neighbor murdered. Her fragile sanity is threatened when the murderer taunts her, and the home that was to be her sanctuary is repeatedly violated. Callie loses her fight to walk away from law enforcement as she becomes the only person able to pursue the culprit who’s turned the coastal paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody’s safe. But what will it cost her?

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