SPRING HOUSE - Mary Ellen Taylor
Cape Hudson, Virginia - Early 20 th Century, 2018
Megan Buchanan has taken an important project on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. The hunting lodge, Winter Cottage, was built by her great-great-grandfather in 1901 and had been inherited recently by the grandchild of Samuel Jessop, a merchant seaman. Jessop had been named the unlikely heir when Buchanan died. Now Jessop's granddaughter, Lucy Kincaid owns it and, with the trust left to her, uses the money to restore the old house and surrounding buildings. Megan is now living in Winter Cottage with Lucy and her young half-sister, Natasha, as they ready the Spring House to live in while Winter Cottage is under reconstruction. To complicate matters, however, Megan is heavily pregnant with her late fiance's baby.
Once the Spring House is readied for occupancy, Lucy and Natasha will live there, leaving Winter Cottage empty for restoration, and, eventually, to be an historic local landmark used for weddings. Megan and Lucy begin the arduous task of going through Samual Jessop's cluttered rooms. It seems the old man saved everything. What they find, though, lends mystery to both families.
In the early 20 th century, the family of merchant seaman Isaac Hedrick buried his wife, Addie, who died giving birth to her seventh child. Isaac makes the decision to send his children into the care of different families and returns to the sea. Claire is sent to the Buchanan family, and twelve-year-old Diane to Madame LeBlanc in Baltimore. Diane's life is upended but gets worse when Mr. LeBlanc dies and Madame and her houseguest, Pierre, move to France. It is on the ship that Diane discovers that Madame pretends to "hear" the dead, and she convinces several wealthy passengers to pay her to speak to their late relatives. In Paris, life is even worse, and Diane begins to fear Pierre.
Megan and Lucy find letters between Claire and her sister, Diane, and the mystery deepens about what happened to Diane, and why Samuel kept the letters and other items that make no sense.
In the meantime, Megan has to come to grips in dealing with her late fiancé's mother who has installed herself nearby to monitor Megan's pregnancy. After her only child, Scott, died, his mother is determined to be a part of her future grandchild's life, despite feeling that Megan was never good enough for Scott. What she doesn't know, is the reason Megan broke off the engagement two weeks before the wedding.
There is quite a lot going on in this story. History is Megan's love and discovering so many strange clues from the past sends her on a path to not only uncovering the mysteries but understanding some of her own feelings. She resists help from others, especially Scott's Marine Corps buddy, Rick, now the Port Hudson sheriff. Scott's mother's interference only makes her more frustrated. The Spring House reveals more and more historical details to Samuel's past. How will Megan piece together all the data? And how will that affect her own future?
SPRING HOUSE is a continuation of WINTER COTTAGE with the same characters. Beautifully written and a very intriguing story line.