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Books by the Sea 2023

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Calling all book lovers! Bring your book club and join us for a fabulous weekend in beautiful Madison, Connecticut. We'll discuss the best new fiction titles, make recommendations for your next book club read, and spend time with bestselling authors Martha Hall Kelly and Rachel Beanland!

Schedule of Events

Friday, April 21

3:00pm Check-in at RJ Julia Booksellers

Check-in at the bookstore any time after 3:00pm to receive your Books by the Sea badge and tote bag with everything you’ll need to have a great weekend!


7:00PM Keynote Author Event Featuring Martha Hall Kelly, The Golden Doves

(Doors Open at 6:00PM)

Two former female spies, bound together by their past, risk everything to hunt down an infamous Nazi doctor in the aftermath of World War II — an extraordinary novel inspired by true events from the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls.

American Josie Anderson and Parisian Arlette LaRue are thrilled to be working in the French resistance, stealing so many Nazi secrets that they become known as the Golden Doves, renowned across France and hunted by the Gestapo. Their courage will cost them everything.

The Golden Doves

When they are finally arrested and taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp, along with their loved ones, a reclusive Nazi doctor does unspeakable things to Josie’s mother, a celebrated Jewish singer who joined her daughter in Paris when the world seemed bright. And Arlette’s son is stolen from her, never to be seen again.

A decade later, the Doves fall headlong into a dangerous dual mission: Josie is working for U.S. Army intelligence and accepts an assignment to hunt down the infamous doctor, while a mysterious man tells Arlette he may have found her son. The Golden Doves embark on a quest across Europe and ultimately to French Guiana, discovering a web of terrible secrets, and must put themselves in grave danger to finally secure justice and protect the ones they love.

Martha Hall Kelly has garnered acclaim for her stunning combination of empathy and research into the stories of women throughout history and for exploring the terrors of Ravensbrück. With The Golden Doves, she has crafted an unforgettable story about the fates of Nazi fugitives in the wake of World War II — and the unsung females spies who risked it all to bring them to justice.

Martha Hall Kelly is the New York Times bestselling author of Lilac Girls, Lost Roses, and Sunflower Sisters.

Individual General Admission tickets for this author event are also available.

Event Location: The First Congregational Church of Madison, CT; 26 Meeting House Lane.

Books by the Sea ticket holders receive premier seating at this event.


Schedule of Events
Saturday, April 22

9:00pm Books on the Menu: Breakfast Edition

Get the inside scoop on the latest and greatest fiction and recent award winners! Our expert book buyers, Andrew Brennan, Head Book Buyer, and Kelly O'Sullivan, Book Buyer/Merchandising Manager, will present their recommendations.

First up, our "APPETIZERS" — We're serving up bites of hidden gems that you may not have heard of but are definitely worth devouring.

For our "MAIN COURSE" — Literary masterpieces that you can really sink your teeth into. These are titles you don't want to miss!

And then, some frothy fun for "DESSERT" — Light, fun reads that are perfect for enjoying on a beautiful spring day!

A light breakfast will be served.


10:30am Book Club Discussion Workshop

Attendees will receive a soon-to-be-released fiction title, to be read in advance of the Books by the Sea weekend. Please come ready to discuss during this workshop! (Books will be shipped via USPS beginning March 1.)


12:00pm Break for Lunch

Check out Madison's diverse restaurant scene and enjoy some of the local flavor. Don't want to travel far? RJ Café & Bistro has a variety of delicious lunch options!


2:00pm Author Event Featuring Rachel Beanland, The House Is on Fire

The House Is on Fire

Richmond, Virginia 1811.

It’s the height of the winter social season, the General Assembly is in session, and many of Virginia’s gentleman planters, along with their wives and children, have made the long and arduous journey to the capital in hopes of whiling away the darkest days of the year. At the city’s only theater, the Charleston-based Placide & Green Company puts on two plays a night to meet the demand of a populace that’s done looking for enlightenment at the front of a church.

On the night after Christmas, the theater is packed with more than six hundred holiday revelers. In the third-floor boxes, sits newly-widowed Sally Henry Campbell, who is glad for any opportunity to relive the happy times she shared with her husband. One floor away, in the colored gallery, Cecily Patterson doesn’t give a whit about the play but is grateful for a four-hour reprieve from a life that has recently gone from bad to worse. Backstage, young stagehand Jack Gibson hopes that, if he can impress the theater’s managers, he’ll be offered a permanent job with the company. And on the other side of town, blacksmith Gilbert Hunt dreams of one day being able to bring his wife to the theater, but he’ll have to buy her freedom first.

When the theater goes up in flames in the middle of the performance, Sally, Cecily, Jack, and Gilbert make a series of split-second decisions that will not only affect their own lives but those of countless others. And in the days following the fire, as news of the disaster spreads across the United States, the paths of these four people will become forever intertwined.

Based on the true story of Richmond’s theater fire, The House Is on Fire offers proof that sometimes, in the midst of great tragedy, we are offered our most precious — and fleeting — chances at redemption.

Rachel Beanland is the author of the novel Florence Adler Swims Forever


Send Off Party

We'll wrap up a fabulous weekend of book banter and exciting author events. Join us for a meet and greet with author Rachel Beanland; tea and cookies will be served. Browse the bookstore to find your next sensational read — be sure to browse our Staff Suggestions!

A ticket for Books by the Sea is $150.00 per person and includes admission to exclusive Books by the Sea events including Books on the Menu: Breakfast Edition; premier seating at the Martha Hall Kelly event, with a hardcover edition of The Golden Doves; premier seating at the Rachel Beanland event, with a hardcover edition of The House Is on Fire; an advanced reader edition title for the book club discussion workshop (sent via USPS in advance); and a tote bag filled with surprises!

For local overnight accommodations, consider the Scranton Seahorse Inn! Mention you're attending RJ Julia's Books by the Sea weekend and you'll receive 10% off your one-night stay! (or 20% off discount for guests who stay Friday and Saturday night.)

Be sure to check out Madison's diverse restaurant scene and enjoy some of the local flavor. From casual to formal, seafood to sandwiches, Madison has a number of award-winning restaurants for every palette and interest! The Madison, CT Chamber of Commerce offers a number of suggestions on their website. Don't want to travel far? RJ Café & Bistro has a great variety of delicious lunch options.

Event Date: 
Friday, April 21, 2023 - 3:00pm EDT to Saturday, April 22, 2023 - 4:00pm EDT
Event address: 
RJ Julia Booksellers
768 Boston Post Road
Madison, CT 06443
SKU: tBBTS2023

SKU: supportevents
Minimum: $5.00