Crestmont

( 20 )

Overview

"A dream, after all, needn't be fueled by particulars, only by desire."

So notes main character, Gracie Antes, in CRESTMONT, a historical fiction gem set in the 1920s.

Determined to take control of her life, sheltered Gracie Antes leaves her unhappy home in 1925 to pursue her dream of a singing career. On her way to the big city, she accepts a job as a housemaid at the bustling Crestmont Inn. Once there, Gracie finds a life-changing encounter with opera singer Rosa Ponselle, ...

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Crestmont

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Overview

"A dream, after all, needn't be fueled by particulars, only by desire."

So notes main character, Gracie Antes, in CRESTMONT, a historical fiction gem set in the 1920s.

Determined to take control of her life, sheltered Gracie Antes leaves her unhappy home in 1925 to pursue her dream of a singing career. On her way to the big city, she accepts a job as a housemaid at the bustling Crestmont Inn. Once there, Gracie finds a life-changing encounter with opera singer Rosa Ponselle, family she never imagined could be hers, and a man with a mysterious past. Relive the 1920s with a colorful cast of characters. Discover with Gracie that sometimes we must trade loss for happiness.

Set in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, the story is interwoven with details about the town, the rich history of The Crestmont Inn, and the family who passed ownership from one generation to the next.

Many attempts have been made to explain how the mountaintop lake nestled in this tiny town came to be. Crestmont gives a new twist to an old Native American legend, setting the tone of grace around which the story is built.

Let the period of the Roaring Twenties spark your interest with its unique social mores, fashion, jazz, and yes, a little bootlegging thrown in for pizzazz.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935188100
  • Publisher: Star Publish
  • Publication date: 4/1/2010
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly Weiss was born in New Jersey in 1950. She is a private vocal instructor, retired professional singer and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. A polio survivor, she resides with her husband, Ernie, in upstate New York. She holds a B.S. in Music Education from West Chester University and Master of Music from Northwestern University. An advocate for Eradicate Polio Now, Ms. Weiss was listed in the Marquis Who's Who in America in 2007.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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(16)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 14, 2010

    Swept Away

    "What a treat! What a rare privilege to be able to sit and read such a beautiful and engrossing novel; one that swept me along to a different time and place and left me feeling that I had met new friends and had had a much needed vacation... I offer full and unqualified praise... How wonderful to discover the economic descriptiveness of James Herriot combined with the warmth and humanity of Father Andrew M. Greeley. And, like Greeley. who gives us a moral compass for God's compassion and grace, puts this premier novel firmly in the highest level of writing."

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 9, 2010

    A MUST read

    I've really enjoyed reading this book. The details and descriptions make you feel like you are right there in the book, feeling and understanding what the characters are experiencing. I couldn't put it down. What a fun era and exciting way to experience it. I didn't want the story to end. I highly recommend this wonderful book and will be buying a copy for all my friends and family - a perfect gift that they can just cuddle up with a blanket and escape to different times with wonderful characters.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2010

    Become part of the 1920's world of Crestmont!

    Holly writes with such vivid detail that you literally feel you are a part of the characters lives. I was sad when I turned the last page because I will miss each of the people I came to know. Her attention to historical facts and the way they are woven into the story add such flavor to the book. This may be her first book but you will find yourself wishing there was already a second.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    Harmonious

    "Crestmont is a harmonious story. It opens with an intense and beautiful tale that introduces the town of Eagle's Mere. There is a sense of nature and oneness in the setting, a sense of slowing down, which gives the book a very enticing start. And then the story of Crestmont begins, with its soft, somewhat slow melody.
    The main storyline takes off in 1925 when Gracie, an aspiring singer, begins to work at Crestmont Inn. Gracie is an endearing character. Her emotional depth makes the story really come alive, as do the personalities of those she meets on her journey. As Gracie's journey becomes more about what's within than where she's going, there is a spiritual awakening that occurs.
    I found this book to be carefully-written, almost too much so in places. The story moved slowly at times, and Weiss seems to spend too much time on little details that added very little to the storyline. But, I'll admit, the cadence of the prose might have been purposeful. To my mind, it demanded more deftness from Weiss, in order to keep my interest, which she did. Few novels can slow me down, and it was just this, the slowness, that, in the end, kept me reading. With everything in life going at hyper-speed at all times, coming across a gentle book like Crestmont is rare, settling even

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2011

    Highly Recommended!

    "Crestmont," Holly Weiss's debut novel, transports the reader in style to a bygone era. Young Gracie, blonde and beautiful, flees from an impossible situation and applies for a position at the Crestmont Inn in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania in the 1920's. She hopes to save enough money to pursue a singing career by the end of the summer. But Gracie's fortune accumulates more slowly than her list of friends.

    The story, as it unfolds, explores the special bond that grows between Gracie and the Woods, the family that owns and runs the Inn. It also presents Gracie with options for both a career and romance. The path she chooses resonates with truth.

    Rich natural settings detailed with consummate skill, insightful characterizations and an unpredictable plot set "Crestmont" far beyond the pale. This is not a book to read quickly but to savor in moments of leisure. I will not forget Gracie or the other vivid characters who populate the pages of this exceptional book.

    I highly recommend "Crestmont" to readers who enjoy historical fiction set in the Roaring Twenties. This book is teen-approved for its realistic portrayal of family life.

    ©2010 Janalyn Voigt, author of novel books

    *My thanks to the author for a complimentary review copy of this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2010

    A great relaxing read...by Rita

    Holly Weiss' Crestmont is a book that was meant to be read aloud - the depictions are incredibly detailed and the tone of the story is both peaceful and engaging. It's a book about people and how their relationships shaped who they are. As you read, you find parts of yourself reflected back with startling clarity and not without a generous amount of sensitivity. Gracie, Margaret, PT, and all the other characters have weaknesses that many of us share and strengths we all aspire to. I felt their pain and delighted in their successes. But in the end, the best part about Crestmont is it is purely enjoyable. It was as if I were at the 1920's Crestmont Inn - breathing the fresh air, smelling the newly baked bread, and watching the butterflies flit among the flowers. For the hours I spent reading this book, I was there. And just like the characters, I could sense the healing and tranquility of that place. Even long after I had finished reading, I found my mind traveling back to the solace of the inn. Holly Weiss' book does the heart good and I strongly encourage you to take some time out of your day to relax, remember, and dream with the Crestmont staff.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended read for historical fiction fans!

    The roaring 20's were a time of great prosperity for many American families; finding an excellent family vacation spot was a favoured past-time for the more affluent, American citizens. The story of the Crestmont Inn is set between the years 1899 to the late 1920's and the story unfolds in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania. Although Gracie Antes loved her family and her home, the innocent crush on her sister's fiancé has gone a little too far; unsure of how she would be able to deal with it all, Grace quickly decides to move forward her plans to leave home and become a famous singer. By chance, Gracie finds an ad in a newspaper that offers several positions at the Crestmont Inn. The story includes a cast of well-developed, true-to-life characters who are fascinating and believable at the same time. Crestmont is a smoothly-flowing story with an emotionally-poignant narrative; all of the story elements blend seamlessly together to produce an undeniable echo of a simpler time, gone by. The Crestmont Inn, described in the story, is in actual fact, loosely based on the real Crestmont Inn; if readers wish to enhance their reading experience, they may want to make a visit to the real Crestmont Inn, in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania. At the beginning of the book, readers will find a note, written by the author and a map of the Crestmont Campus; at the back of the book, readers will find an Afterword written by the author, a list of end-notes and a list of research sources for books, websites and other resources. The perfect paperback edition is beautifully bound with well designed and visually pleasing front and back covers. Also available in eBook format, Crestmont is a shining example of historical fiction and its ability to breathe new life into the past. A very highly recommended read for historical fiction fans! Copyright 2011 © Nurture Your BOOKS --- Bobbie Crawford-McCoy

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Fun, Historical Novel.

    You really can't go wrong with this book. Set in the 1920's we meet Gracie, who decides to leave her home in hopes for a singing career. She finds a job at The Crestmont Inn and we come to know some wonderful people working and stay at the Inn. The story is a great getaway and I found myself wondering what it would be like to live during that time period. I highly recommend this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Working and growing up at the Crestmont Inn

    A delightful book that looks at the development of the Crestmont Inn, a summer resort hotel in Pennsylvania, from the point of view of a young girl who worked there. Gracie answers an ad for a housekeeper at the Inn as the first step in her plan to run away from home, go to New York, and become a singer in vaudeville. It is the first time she has ever been away from home and her religiously strict family. It was interesting to see her develop her self-confidence as she learned to work with and care for the people visiting and working at the hotel. The author has included vignettes of the life of the characters throughout the story to show personal character development, family interaction, and to move the story along through time. Although the story is basically about Gracie's time at the Inn during the mid 1920's, the history of how it was built and how it ended are included. The author's scenic descriptions place the reader right at the resort enjoying the beauty of the grounds and the elegance of the hotel. I enjoyed the book, it was refreshing, historically informative, and made one want to visit it and meet the people.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Holly Weiss as part of the book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    1920's lakeside resort PA

    William Warner was a seasoned banker, in need of a new challenge. While conducting business in Eagles Mere, PA 1899, he became mesmerized by the potential of a cyclone devastated hill, at the bottom of which was a small lake. He imagined then implemented his plan, to build a grand Victorian Inn. He had no doubt that many people would enjoy this piece of nature's beauty. The Inn would provide a place where people could come to relax, take respite from their own reality, and where their every need would be met. He envisioned many amenities and activities, laughter and love. That was the conception of the real Crestmont Inn, PA that opened in June1900. The main character of this fictional story is Gracie. She has fled her family home wordlessly to escape her parents' obvious displeasure of her goals, and to avoid a morally wrong temptation. She has her own aspirations. She is determined to work her way to the big city where she would become a famous singer. She has confidence from years of hymn singing at their Moravian Church, that she has a voice to be heard. Her first job is as a housemaid at the Crestmont Inn. Allow yourself to be transported back in time, to the 1920's. This was a time of prohibition, bootleggers and speakeasies, to a time when a length of a hemline mattered. Enjoy the dynamics of many characters composed of guests, owners, staff and a cat. Travel along with Gracie as she learns many of life's most important lessons. Feel the emotion pouring out as hard work, successes and failures lead her and others to a new life. Mentored by the Inn's owners, she grew in mind and spirit. Reading and searching the dictionary, gave her knowledge. Befriended by a famous opera singer star, Gracie is guided to the soul of music. Through PT, she is introduced to jazz and the experience of vulnerability in her first infatuation. Feeling remorse for the way she left home she corresponds with her sister, for a while. She is heartbroken as she wonders why her parents have not even asked about her. With all of her hard work, will she achieve her dream? Does she make amends with her family? The author, Holly Weiss has a fluid, descriptive talent that allows you to become absorbed in the story. She has shown considerable skill in her debut novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2010

    Highly recommended

    While I often enjoy historical fiction it isn't always my favorite genre. However I really enjoyed reading Crestmont. I even found myself dawdling toward the end in order to make it last longer. What made it so enjoyable was the characters. The author weaves together several plot lines involving romance, mystery, and spirituality. The period detail was very interesting without being overbearing or overly descriptive. The universal theme of a naive young person going out into the world to find their own voice would appeal to young adults or teens as well as to older readers. I found myself thinking about the characters long after I'd finished reading. I highly recommend this book and am hoping for a sequel. Please publish as an e-book, too!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 9, 2010

    Pacific Book Review, September 9, 2010

    Dainty as crochet doilies placed under a crystal bud vase next to a velvet draped curtain around a curved bay window in an old Victorian Inn, Holly Weiss transports the reader to a different, unhurried era of the early 1900's in her masterpiece Crestmont.

    With a decorous style of writing, the reader is pleasantly introduced to Grace Antes, known simply as Gracie, a young lady finding her path to her singing career being circumvented for practical reasons of needing more money. Leaving home simply by writing a note to her family, which hints to a saddened upbringing, she sees an ad in a newspaper requesting seasonal staff help at a resort hotel located in the hills of Pennsylvania, a town called Eagles Mere, the resort is the popular Crestmont. Visited by aristocrats and regular customers alike, the Crestmont is a destination for society's rest and relaxation during the decades of yesteryear. Beautifully appointed in décor, and staffed with professionals each there for their own reasons, Gracie falls into the "click" of the pace and prestige circulating amongst the guests. Her co-workers truly become family to Gracie; they adopt her with welcoming arms seeing the hard working ethics and honesty in her, and accept her into the hotel's culture. This is a very heartwarming aspect of the storyline, as the reader feels they also are being taken into the confidence and trust of these fine people.

    In the economic days where a quarter actually was worth something, and $2 was fair daily wage, Gracie is asked to care for an elderly disabled woman, Mrs. Cunningham, as new challenges are brought forth. Working one day a week, on her day off from the Crestmont, Gracie begins a friendship that brings Mrs. Cunningham into a quasi maternal role. This caused a bit of alienation with Madeleine, her daughter, and the dynamics of this relationship play out in a surprising way.

    Set in the mountain retreat, the reader gets acquainted with wonderfully unique cast of characters with "character" - such as her co-worker Bessie who isn't so keen on Gracie, and Mr. and Mrs. Woods, the proprietors. You have the husband and wife workers, Isaiah the hotel chef and Olivia a seamstress. A dapper young man named PT who attends to many tasks and is proud to be the personal gofer for Mr. Woods. Guests include the flamboyant and famous Rosa Ponselle, an opera singer with a unique kindness. As the reader is taken on the exploits of these marvelous interactions, one feels the relaxed pace, the isolation of a luxury retreat atmosphere and the sense of the times, culture and mannerisms in fantastic detail. The book pages like a period piece with every detail researched for accuracy, consistency and credibility.

    Just as traveling to the fresh air of the mountain hotel would have taken time for a person to get there, the book takes time for the reader to "get there" as well. Once "there" you find yourself transported to a place, amongst friends, enjoying a summer holiday in Victorian style, and in a place that unfortunately nowadays can exist only in one's imagination. The "Crestmont" is a splendid work of fiction written by a once guest of the hotel, Holly Weiss, while she was looking at the furnishings, observing the details of the building and the grounds, and wondering just what types of people constituted its clientele. As Holly Weiss would close her eyes to think, her written words open our eyes to this

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Charming and delightful, a pleasure to read

    Step into the lives of Gracie Antes and the Woods family of Eagles Mere Pennsylvania. Gracie, who decided to take control and live her life, left her sheltered family in 1925 to pursue her dreams. Crestmont was a summer job, a way to start earning money in order to follow her dream and sing. Little did she know she would find herself, friends, and a family of her own by taking a job at the Crestmont Inn. The woods own the Crestmont and spend their time keeping the dream of Mrs. Woods's father alive. The Crestmont is not just and Inn, but a place of happiness and solitude for many guest as well as the charming staff.

    As you read this wonderful novel, you will be taken back in time to the 1920's. You will feel you are part of the Crestmont and its staff. As Gracie's' story unfolds you are vividly aware of the decade, its people, pastimes and its trials. The book is truly engulfing. You will not want to put it down. The characters are unique and charming, giving the book a truly small town feel with a get away to dream of.

    I really enjoyed this debut novel. I felt I was actually part of Eagles Mere and the Crestmont Inn. The characters are charming and loveable. It makes you want to visit the modern day Crestmont, though I'm sure you would arrive and be disappointed. The book is a work of historical fiction, combined with actual history, The Crestmont is a wildly entertaining read. Everything is well presented and thought out. The descriptive nature enables you to envision life during this time. The author does a wonderful job at drawing the reader in and making them welcome, wanting to be part of the story and happenings. She has a way of making the business of running an Inn feel charming and delightful. It is a pleasure to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2010

    Great book to escape.

    Crestmont is an enjoyable read. It has interesting Characters whom you would enjoying knowing. It is artfully set in the 1920's with details that made me feel I was there with them. This is an incredible book for a first try. I hope Ms. Weiss will write more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Read on your deck with a beverage and sun screen

    Crestmont is not to be missed. Holly Weiss' choice of the name Grace for her protagonist is as prophetic as it is descriptive. The best word I can think of to describe Grace/Gracie is chainik (Russian for a beginner who's willing to learn). As Grace morphs into Gracie, she becomes a lovable, enchanting mature young woman.
    The Woods family comes alive and becomes your family under the author's pen. Mr. Woods is the energetic visionary and Margaret is his Rock of Gibraltar. The two grow together and grow with Gracie over the years of the novel.
    Most of the characters encounter problems and setbacks, but perseverance and sheer pluck see them through. You'll meet PT, the enigmatic fellow who plays the jazz piano, Isaiah the wonderful black chef and his petite wife, Olivia, the dressmaker. Oh! And Eleanor, one of the Wood's daughters-she's a pistol!
    Ms Weiss' descriptions of life in the '20's are accurate and vivid. Eagles Mere became my town and the Crestmont became my home. In some places, as I was reading, I chuckled to myself, and in a few places I had a lump in my throat. I missed everyone and every place when I closed the book.
    Don't miss the Author's notes and the afterword. They put a nice frame around the book--even a few interesting tidbits there as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Reading Crestmont is like staying at a quaint old inn

    Have you ever wished for a comfy, old-fashioned inn where the staff attends to your every need, there's a nearby lake where eagles soar, and each night there's a fabulous home cooked meal waiting for you? That special place is within the pages of Crestmont, the debut novel of Holly Weiss.

    Crestmont takes place primarily in the 1920s and is the story of Gracie Antes, a young woman who, realizing she has feelings for her sister's fiancé, decides to leave town and find her fortune. Gracie applies for a job at the Crestmont Inn, a "lakeside mountaintop inn," hoping to be hired as a waitress. Unfortunately, Gracie has no waitressing experience and so is offered a job as part of the cleaning staff.

    Gracie quickly settles into working life at the Crestmont Inn, trying her best to fit in with the other employees. Along with Gracie, the reader is introduced to a myriad of inn staff, from PT the easy going "driver, bowling alley attendant and gofer." to Bessie, a rather difficult, temperamental member of the cleaning staff. Upon first meeting Gracie, Bessie boasts, "Listen, girlie, don't think just because you're new Mrs. W'll cut you any slack.she expects perfection from all of us; it's just that those of us who are experienced know how to deliver." It's apparent that Gracie is going to have some problems dealing with Bessie.

    Fortunately, the inn's owners, William and Margaret Woods, along with their daughters Peg and Eleanor, are much more welcoming than Bessie. Indeed, it isn't long before Gracie becomes one of Margaret's confidants, as well as keeper of secrets for the children.

    As Gracie's abilities and strong work ethic are proven, she is offered an additional job on her day off. The job requires taking care of an older woman, Mrs. Cunningham. The elderly woman's daughter, Madeleine is quite happy to have one day a week to escape her caretaker responsibilities. As Mrs. Cunningham and Gracie grow closer, Madeleine and her mother drift apart.

    Crestmont is not just the story of Gracie's life at the inn. It is a study of relationships, some growing stronger over time, others growing more distant. Gracie is treated more like family than an employee by the Woods, while at the same time Gracie loses touch with her parents and sister. She has, in essence, traded one family for another. I was wondering if Gracie would find romance with one of the other employees or townspeople in Eagles Mere, PA, home to the Crestmont Inn. There was a hint of interest with PT, as well as Otto and Eric, two young men who came and went from Gracie's life (might one return?). But this is not a book about romance, it's a story of intersecting lives.

    The author creates a beautifully realistic world of the hustle and bustle at a busy inn in the 1920s. While there is perhaps a bit too much coverage of the more mundane chores (Mrs. Woods quizzing the new cleaning staff to see who could figure out the one thing she forgot to do when cleaning a room), there is plenty within the pages of Crestmont to keep the reader turning the pages. Indeed, by the end of the book, Gracie, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Cunningham, PT and the others are like family members and the reader will want to see what happens to each.

    Quill says: Reading Crestmont is like staying at a quaint old inn, curling up next to the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and an old friend and catching up on the day's events.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Charming

    Charming is the first word that comes to mind when I think about "Crestmont." The second is faithfulness. Holly Weiss skillfully brings to life an era gone by, carving out endearing characters who stretch, grow, and become family in the picturesque Crestmont Inn. When we are introduced to Gracie, an aspiring singer, she is an insecure, frightened, lost girl. Through the love and acceptance of her employers, The Woods, who strive to practice what they preach, we witness her blossom into a gracious, confident woman who finally belongs. Though Weiss paints a vivid picture of setting and daily life, her characters make "Crestmont" a truly remarkable story.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Beautiful Historical Novel

    Holly Weiss has woven a rich and wonderful historical tapestry complete with lyrical descriptions of Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania during the 1920s and a fine cast of complex characters. My favorite was Gracie, a talented young woman filled to the brim with hopes and dreams. And then, of course, there was the Crestmont, the well-loved Victorian inn, which was a character that seemed to breathe a life of its own. This book had a relaxed, laid-back feel that makes for a perfect vacation read. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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