Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 5, 2019)
This very engaging story has several major characters, but the plot really revolves around Nell. She is reeling after losing a baby in the third trimester, as well as the guilt she feels over what she has hidden from her husband, Josh, about money spent on fertility treatments. Desperate to find a job and start paying off the credit card debt, Nell sees an ad for a job as a director for a new nonprofit called the Mansion Hill Artists’ Colony.
The colony is the brainchild of the late, unconventional society dame Betsy Barrett, who left behind her vast fortune and a killer collection of modern art to establish an artist-in-residency program to be run out of her lakeside mansion where she had spent most of her life. Three artists have already been approved for the first session, and Nell has little time to prepare for their arrival after being given the job and the keys to the mansion the same day she interviews with the attorney handling the trust.
Each of the artists has personal issues to work through while at the Colony. Odin a metal sculptor from Minnesota is trying to get past his grief over the death of his soul-mate who was so much more than just a girlfriend. The grief stands in his way like a giant, blocking Odin’s attempts to get past it.
Paige, a gifted visual artist who has no confidence in her work, or herself, struggles to find a way to believe in what she is capable of creating. She is also trying to figure out why she scuttles every personal relationship she has ever had.
Annie, the oldest of the trio and a successful artist who has let work languish for a few years, is determined to do her art her way. Her medium is photography, and she is working on a project that she has been advised to abandon to work on something “safer.” She has been taking pictures of people who are dying as part of her photography retrospective about death, and she makes this observation to support her interest, “Isn’t that what art is all about? Trying to create just a snippet of something real and true and permanent?”
Another quote that I found meaningful was one from Betsy Barrett, who said, “Art is like life. It’s fragile, but that doesn’t mean you should never take a risk.”
In addition to wonderful lines that made me stop and smile and ponder, there were so many other life lessons in this book about love, relationships, and what it takes to pursue a creative endeavor and stick with it.
As the story progressed, I really enjoyed seeing the way the characters’ lives touched and how that touching gave them each something they needed. It was real, and intense at times, but so satisfying to a reader.
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That’s all for me for today, folks. Check back on Sunday when I will have another book review. Be safe. Be happy.