The sixtysomething ladies of Covington (From the Heart of Covington, 2002, etc.) are a tad older in this fourth in the series, but still good friends as new challenges threaten to undermine their spirit.
When a summer fire destroys the farmhouse that the three ladies—Grace, Amelia, and Hannah—renovated as a home for themselves after leaving the dreary boardinghouse in Pennsylvania, they learn that rebuilding will be only one of many decisions facing them. All three lost treasured possessions in the fire and must also find temporary housing while they decide what to do. Amelia and Grace move into Bob’s condominium, and Hannah, with daughter Laura, who has been living with the ladies, moves to another family-owned one. Amelia is the most affected, as the fire reminds her of her painful past: the death of her young daughter and the accident that killed her husband and badly scarred her. But the ladies, especially Hannah and Grace, are (no surprise) indomitable, and they begin right away to plan a new house that will incorporate some old features (porches to sit on) and some new (more bathrooms). They find the money, and the building starts, but as the house nears completion their friendship is tested by challenging new developments. Laura plans to marry co-worker Hank but may abort the baby she’s carrying, an idea that distresses Hannah, though she’s delighted about Hank; Amelia, though affected by an encounter with a terminally ill-child, begins to take photographs again; and Grace, whose companion Bob wants her to marry him, is under pressure not to move back once the house is complete. When Bob suffers a heart attack, Grace decides, though she misses her independence, that she can’t leave him. Amelia, feeling better since she saw a psychiatrist, and Hannah, who’s received an unexpected marriage proposal, move into the new home, but it’s not the same without Grace. Will life ever be as good again on Cove Road?
A gentle page-turner, as they say.