Blogs by Holly Weiss
Pacific Book Review Loves Crestmont
9/10/2010 11:20:33 AM
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Thank you, Beth Adams, for your kind review of Crestmont.
Dainty as crochet doilies placed under a crystal bud vase next to a velvet draped curtain around a curved bay window in an old Victorian Inn, Holly Weiss transports the reader to a different, unhurried era of the early 1900’s in her masterpiece Crestmont.
With a decorous style of writing, the reader is pleasantly introduced to Grace Antes, known simply as Gracie, a young lady finding her path to her singing career being circumvented for practical reasons of needing more money. Leaving home simply by writing a note to her family, which hints to a saddened upbringing, she sees an ad in a newspaper requesting seasonal staff help at a resort hotel located in the hills of Pennsylvania, a town called Eagles Mere, the resort is the popular Crestmont. Visited by aristocrats and regular customers alike, the Crestmont is a destination for society’s rest and relaxation during the decades of yesteryear. Beautifully appointed in décor, and staffed with professionals each there for their own reasons, Gracie falls into the “click” of the pace and prestige circulating amongst the guests. Her co-workers truly become family to Gracie; they adopt her with welcoming arms seeing the hard working ethics and honesty in her, and accept her into the hotel’s culture. This is a very heartwarming aspect of the storyline, as the reader feels they also are being taken into the confidence and trust of these fine people.
In the economic days where a quarter actually was worth something, and $2 was fair daily wage, Gracie is asked to care for an elderly disabled woman, Mrs. Cunningham, as new challenges are brought forth. Working one day a week, on her day off from the Crestmont, Gracie begins a friendship that brings Mrs. Cunningham into a quasi maternal role. This caused a bit of alienation with Madeleine, her daughter, and the dynamics of this relationship play out in a surprising way.
Set in the mountain retreat, the reader gets acquainted with wonderfully unique cast of characters with “character” – such as her co-worker Bessie who isn’t so keen on Gracie, and Mr. and Mrs. Woods, the proprietors. You have the husband and wife workers, Isaiah the hotel chef and Olivia a seamstress. A dapper young man named PT who attends to many tasks and is proud to be the personal gofer for Mr. Woods. Guests include the flamboyant and famous Rosa Ponselle, an opera singer with a unique kindness. As the reader is taken on the exploits of these marvelous interactions, one feels the relaxed pace, the isolation of a luxury retreat atmosphere and the sense of the times, culture and mannerisms in fantastic detail. The book pages like a period piece with every detail researched for accuracy, consistency and credibility.
Just as traveling to the fresh air of the mountain hotel would have taken time for a person to get there, the book takes time for the reader to “get there” as well. Once “there” you find yourself transported to a place, amongst friends, enjoying a summer holiday in Victorian style, and in a place that unfortunately nowadays can exist only in one’s imagination. The Crestmont is a splendid work of fiction written by a once guest of the hotel, Holly Weiss, while she was looking at the furnishings, observing the details of the building and the grounds, and wondering just what types of people constituted its clientele. As Holly Weiss would close her eyes to think, her written words open our eyes to this splendid place in time.
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Pacific Book Review Loves Crestmont - Friday, September 10, 2010
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Meeting My Characters in Real Life - Thursday, July 01, 2010
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