One of the author’s determinedly charming stories, apart from her Mrs. Pollifax series (Incident at Badamya, etc.). Andrew Thale, son of stuffy corporate V.P. Horace, has been asked by his father to look over the property in Massachusetts that Horace had inherited, in the absence of a will, from his reclusive Aunt Harriet Thale five years before. Horace has been paying taxes on the empty house and its 25 acres ever since and is now thinking of selling or developing the property. Andrew, author of two well-received novels, is in a creative limbo and has, in desperation, been writing the newsletter for Meredith Machines, the family business. He dutifully departs in a company car for the remote, potholed road that leads to the Thale farmhouse, which lacks heat, electricity and phone but is far from empty. Living there in contented penury are the strays Harriet Thale collected before her demise: elegant Miss L‘Hommedieu, housekeeper-cook Gussie; passionate Marxist Leo, and beautiful young Tarragon. Andrew gets yet another surprise when he discovers his mother, who’d left Horace seven years ago, living happily in a cottage on the property. There are more odd twists in store for Andrew—the arrival of his father, the discovery of a hidden mill, but most important, the rediscovery of his creative self. A sweetly entertaining fairy tale sure to delight the author’s many fans.