Sep 12, 10
lovers of character-based fiction
Holly Weiss has done what I find highly unlikely: She got me immersed in a small-vacation-town-America historical fiction, which is usually not my cup of tea. Her eye for the telling detail is superb, but even better is her handle on character – just when I figured I knew what somebody would do, predictably, they'd take off in a new direction. Real people doing real stuff.
I know the area, living about 20 miles for Eagles Mere, PA, which does not, on the whole, associate much with the rest of the surrounding county. In the 1920s era of "Crestmont," it was the hangout for the (often obnoxious) rich vacationer. But I know plenty of likable Eagles Mereans (Eagles Merites?), and these are the ones that Weiss documents.
Her heroine is a down-at-the-heels but beautifully centered young arrival from Allentown, where she has broken almost all ties with her family and her youth. Serving as a maid and waitress at Eagles Mere's Crestmont inn, she comes to know herself and know the wider world. Best of all, she keeps her dignity no matter what the situation and continually learns from experience, good and bad.
These are good people, portrayed with love. There's the occasional snark, but Weiss makes a good case for their snarkiness being well earned.