In this sweet romantic novel, Mary Margaret Masters, known as “Maggs” to her friends, has a chance to re-invent herself at the ripe old age of 52.
The wife, mother and grandmother is given a second chance at love and life when her beloved Aunt Eleanor suddenly dies. Maggs inherits Myrtlewood, a stately historical home near Charleston, South Carolina. The terms of the will require her to spend a month there, assessing whether she wants to keep the home in the family — uprooting her own life in Mobile, Alabama — or whether it’s time to sell the elegant property full of childhood memories.
Despite a busy life in Mobile, Maggs is experiencing the vague discontent of middle age. “This Wednesday…began, as had so many others before it, another in a long succession of days filled with endless minor details…which left her feeling that she had run all day and had little to show for it.” She and her husband have a marriage that’s comfortable but unexciting. The conflict arises when she meets someone new and falls in love during her stay at Myrtlewood. Should she upend her life or accept the status quo?
Although set in present day, the book oozes with the Southern charm of a more genteel era. Myrtlewood comes complete with idyllic caretakers, Tom and Molly. Molly was Aunt Eleanor’s best friend and confidante, the kind of woman who scolds and cajoles while serving Maggs breakfast in bed.
The novel brings up the sort of issues that only people who have no “real” problems have the luxury to fret over. It tends to lag in places, and the characters’ emotional reactions are overly forgiving. In other words, this is not the stuff of real life. But if you’re the type of reader who wishes life were a fairy tale, Pritchett’s novel will provide several pleasurable hours of romantic escape.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.