Gifts by the Shore (Part 3) by Marilyn Brant — 24 Comments

    • Patty,
      You are an excellent guesser! (I won’t say which one is right, but you’re on it!!) And I’m so glad Ellen is someone you can relate to. She’s an incredibly capable woman, but it’s sometimes hard for people who are known for their strength to let others in… 😉
      Thanks so much for reading & commenting!

  1. Just now getting caught up on all three chapters. How did I miss this?? I’m from Sarasota, born and raised, so I like the story so far. Maybe I went to school with Gil. 😉 I’ll be looking forward to more of your story.

    • Kris,
      I’m delighted you’re liking the story so far!! Thank you!
      And how cool that you got to grow up in Sarasota — it’s just *beautiful* 😀 . I’ve only been able to visit a few times, but my husband introduced me to Siesta Key when we were first married, and I fell in love with the area…

  2. I wasn’t sure I would relate to this sister, but now that we have been formally introduced, I like her a lot. I love the way she thinks about snacks! I no longer eat sugar, so I will live vicariously through her when she has a snack attack. Of the two sisters, I like Ellen the best and am interested to hear more about her. Loved the pictures of New Haven; they really added to the story. You have really hooked me with this one. Is it available on Amzon yet? The two sisters are different from each other, but I think they will find their way back together and in the process, find out things about themselves. Love love love this. And to think I almost passed on reading it. I am so glad I didn’t.

    • Mari,
      Yay!! I can’t tell you how pleased I am that you loved this and are hooked on the story now 😉 . Thank you!
      Getting to know characters is a lot, I think, like getting to know real people. The deeper we go into their point of view, the better sense we have of the way they see the world and why they react the way they do to stressors or to other people in their lives. I’m so glad you found yourself able to relate to Ellen…and her snacking habits, LOL.
      As for the story being available on Amazon — not yet!! I’m not finished writing it 😀 . It’s a lengthy women’s fiction book (probably closest to my 2011 novel A SUMMER IN EUROPE in genre), and I’m nearing the midpoint. But I promise to post a notice *everywhere* when it’s done! This is a story I’m very excited about finishing and sharing!!

  3. Ummmm…there are some aberrations but…I don’t remember being interviewed for this character??? LOL Back pre-stroke that was me. Now, not so much. Everyone knows my issues so it’s no secret but I do still try to keep the planet organized and my little sister is still the poster child for PTA mother of the year and worrying about every little thing. Really enjoying this story Marilyn!

    • LOL, Stephanie!! You’re very funny 😉 . Perhaps I have been interviewing you in your sleep in hopes of eliciting deep character insights and sister secrets?!
      We have quite a number of Type A personalities in my family (*raising hand*) and it’s so hard to unlearn those behaviors. As I get older, I’ve been trying to be more laid back and to breathe more deeply, but… 😀
      And thank you! I’m so pleased that you’re enjoying the story thus far!!

  4. First thought was: Ellen was affected by her phone call with her longtime client, Stephen. As the symptoms kept getting worse and nausea was involved, I thought maybe she is pregnant?! Now wouldn’t that put a spanner in her very organized controlled life! The more I read of this wonderful story, the more I see myself and my sisters rolled into these two characters. I would have to say, I relate more to Ellen. My sisters know I’m a bit of a control freak and organization is paramount! Well, maybe I’m more than a bit…however, I am also a worry wart (mostly over my kids…33 and 26 respectively). I think that has to do with the fact that I no longer can ‘control’ circumstances in their lives. My middle sister is alot like Marianna, not only that she has been divorced and raised her son on her own, but she too is a worry wart and overly concerned with him (30 now). Yes, I’m really relating to this story…can you tell! Loving the comments too!

    • Carole, thanks so much!! I loved reading your insights and I’m truly grateful for your kind words.
      I’ve been keeping my fingers crossed that readers who have sisters or who have shared some of these life experiences would be able to relate to Ellen and Marianna — they are characters who feel very real to me 😉 . One of the many things I’ve always loved about Austen’s writing was her ability to create characters on the page who felt human and who were complicated enough to have a range of traits and even be inconsistent sometimes, just like people I knew in real life… So, I consider it a huge compliment that there are elements of Marianna and Ellen that remind you of yourself and your sisters!! Thank you! 🙂

  5. Something is definitely wrong with Ellen. Though she dismissed it after her breathing is normal, I wouldn’t bank on it that she is 100% fit. Maybe it’s a panic attack and she needs more complete rest and less worry and stress in her life. If not her health will decline in the long run and she may even suffer stroke or heart attack.

    What a waste to throw away her blouse. Perhaps it can be donated to a thrift shop if she really doesn’t want it.

    • Lúthien,
      You’re right! There is definitely something wrong with Ellen, and she’s fooling herself into thinking she can “handle it” without help… More on that in future chapters!
      And your comment about the blouse was an interesting one — it’s definitely NOT the way her sister would have dealt with the situation! But money isn’t a concern in Ellen’s life…pride is, though 😉 .

  6. I’m enjoying the story very much. It could be, and yes I read the above posts, but will add some possibilities anyway…..anxiety attack, panic attack, heart problem showing signs, symptoms of stress, or as was said above: to bring chaos to her obsessively organized life-pregnancy. Many options. And definitely to proud and controlling to ask for help and too foolish to return the doctor’s call. Looking forward to the next chapter on Nov. 11, Marilyn. Definitely type A (a lot of me, but I’m trying to temper it a bit).

    • Deborah,
      Oh, thank you! As always, I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to share your thoughts on the story, and I’m so glad you’re continuing to enjoy it!
      Your impressions of Ellen and the potential issues she may have are right on target 😉 .
      Can’t wait to get to share the next part with you all!!

  7. I was kind of expecting not to like Ellen (I mean, who ever heard of first impressions being wrong, right?) My first thought was: panic attack. Actually that was my second thought. My first was that she was maybe involved w the client she was talking to and he broke it off. (I know, I’m so suspicious). Then I was like no, probably panic attack or hot flashes. But during a panic attack, your heart doesn’t actually race, it just feels like it does, at least that’s what I’ve been told. And hot flashes don’t make you tremble, do they?

    I’m so not type A. Except my blood type – that’s an A. lol

    • Ha Ha!! Yeah, Monica, I’ve never heard of *anything* in literature about incorrect first impressions… 😀
      Loved reading your suggestions about what’s been happening with Ellen, and you almost made me wish I’d come up with something as steamy as an affair with a client (!!), but no…it’s more physiological. Maybe in my next story, though…
      And I envy you not being a Type A in personality! Just think of all the stress-related habits, intensities and catastrophic thinking to won’t have to unlearn. 😉 In my next life, I’m going to insist (at least as much as an ex-control freak can, LOL) on being an uber-relaxed beachcomber!

  8. Poor Ellen! I vote for a stress-induced panic/anxiety attack. I think with the demands on her life, she is one of those people that tends to try and avoid or subdue her stress, and now it’s catching up with her. To think she’s got an idyllic vacation home that she can use to decompress!

    • LOL, Kathy!!
      Yes, Ellen’s *got* that idyllic vacation home, but will she ever use it?! 🙂
      You’ve absolutely understood her personality, by the way. She’s definitely as you described…and she seems to be taking an extra-long time figuring out what’s best for her!

  9. I am thinking Ellen is not old enough to be in menopause but I do know someone who had early menopause. My first thought was that she was just informed (on the phone) that she lost the account of this client, Stephen Gage Bartholomew, and thus is indeed having either an anxiety attack or a panic attack. It doesn’t sound like the symptoms for a stroke or heart attack, which I read up on frequently due to my age.

    I cannot relate to Ellen as I am not a Type A Personality. And life didn’t deal me the hand Marianna has been dealt so can’t say I would know what she is went through. Although I did live with my in-laws and tried hard to please them the first year of our marriage as my husband was in Basic Training, AIT and then OCS during that time. I can relate to the chocolate and nuts. I keep Dove Dark Chocolate and dark chocolate flavored almonds on hand, if nothing else. I used to be into the M&M peanuts but tastes changed.

    Demanding to speak to the doctor, refusing to give the nurse a description of her symptoms and then ignoring the doctor’s phone call…I am not sure I am liking Ellen very much. Sounds temperamental!

    I am the type who can do 4 things at once but then I switch off and ignore housework and cooking to read a good book…especially now that I am retired with an empty nest.

    But I am enjoying this story so far and agree that she should have donated the blouse…after dry cleaning it. A little sweat is nothing to a modern day dry cleaner. LOL

    Thanks for the chapter.

    • Sheila,
      LOL!! Yes, yes, Ellen’s behavior definitely falls under the “temperamental” category 😉 .
      It’s so interesting to me to learn more about everyone’s life here — the things that ring deeply true for you all in the story and the ones that don’t resonate as much. I love how they’re different, and I enjoy finding out details like your taste for dark chocolate almonds!! It must have been hard having your husband away so much during your first year of marriage… Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the story and, even more, for sharing a little bit about yourself and your own experiences!!

  10. Anxiety Attack major time or pre-heart attack, but I lean towards the anxiety. But your character’s name should have been Karen. You have come so close to describing me at my last job and the pressures I was under.
    There are so many things going on and so many people demanding so much because they know that they can count on you doing it and doing it right. You don’t know how to say “No!”. Perfection is something that you have demanded of yourself you whole life, because that is what is what was demanded of you and then later expected of you. You don’t know how to let anyone down, so you push yourself till you scraped the bottom of the barrel and there is nothing else to give, are still trying to be everything to everybody.
    That is where she is…That anxiety is going to become a heart attack if she isn’t careful.
    Just my opinion… 🙂

    • Karen,
      I think you can read Ellen and her needs *exceptionally* well!! (Perhaps she’s your secret literary twin?! 🙂 XOX) While I’m thrilled that you understand her and that her attitude and behaviors make sense to you, I’m *very* sorry to hear that your last job was so stressful! I had a job like that once. It took me MONTHS after I resigned before I could stop clenching my jaw at night and let go of some of the anxiety those years in that position had created. I didn’t even realized how much stress I’d acquired there and carried with me… I’d like to think I wouldn’t let it all get to me as much now, but I’m honestly not sure. We certainly live and learn, don’t we?! *hugs*

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