Ms. Blandings builds her dreamhouse, in this case a funky, falling down wreck, filthy and vermin infested, along the banks of a New Jersey stream. Coudert, like most Manhattanites, needed a weekend retreat, from urban irritations, a place as accessible to the pocketbook as to the city, and GoWell was a find -- even if the final renovation was to come to three times the initial $7,500 purchase price. It's not all septic systems and Sears kitchens (although there's that kind of practical how-to as well), and a reader shares Coudert's aesthetic satisfactions as she begins to learn to read the land and tries to give the house a past (her partner would have preferred to give it a future). A book as bright and light as a newly washed window. . . good Advice From a Failure (1965).