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The domestic travails of a city family that buys a house on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay and settles down to its first taste of rural life.

In the mid-1960s, Justin Williams felt that he was at a point in his life that made settling down in the country a good option. A computer engineer working for NASA in Washington, D.C., Justin had started a family and felt secure in his job, so he convinced his wife Rosemary to buy a vacation cottage in Sulley’s Point, Maryland, where they could escape the oppressive summer heat with their children David, Anne, and Michael. Sulley’s Point was nothing if not off the beaten track: The nearest store was a good eight miles away, but the area had all the peace and quiet that a frazzled city refugee could require—for a few weeks a year. Problem was, Justin soon decided to go native and stay there year-round. He bought an adjoining farm and began to renovate its Victorian farmhouse to serve as his family’s primary residence, then quit his job at NASA to start his own computer business. While waiting for his client base to expand, he stayed with his mother in Washington—and let Rosemary tend to the children, the farm, and the house. Eventually, the strain of separation wrecked Justin and Rosemary’s marriage—especially when Rosemary discovered that Justin had a blond girlfriend in town. The situation is hard on everyone involved, from the children up to the grandparents, but Rosemary—trapped in a backwater town that she never wanted to live in to begin with—gets the rawest deal. Finally, the house has to be sold, but the circumstances surrounding their departure turn tragic, lending a sinister atmosphere to what had long since become a melancholy home.

An engaging and genuinely moving tale of family grief that acquires a marvelous focus—as well as a poignant metaphor—in its setting.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 2002
ISBN: 0-87074-476-3
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Southern Methodist Univ.
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2002