“They have decided that each of them will take home one thing from Leeway for the winter, for comfort. They are going through the house somberly, saying their goodbyes in their different ways, each looking for one object that will keep the dead alive and close a little longer.”
It is interesting that I read this book right after reading The End of the Point. Both books center around oceanfront cottages and the families that inhabit them, but the books couldn’t be more different. Leeway Cottage is a more traditional family saga. The house by the sea setting is less integral to the story here, but it provides the foundation or backdrop for the story.
Gutcheon is a wonderful storyteller, from the family history of the owners of the Elms and Leeway Cottage, to the children with their dreams and how their families affect them. There’s really two stories here, that intertwine as families are joined. Sydney Brandt rebels against her mother and moves to New York City, determined to be independent and follow a career in music. There she meets Laurus Moss, famed pianist and Danish ex-pat. They fall in love and marry, but World War II casts a dark shadow over their marriage as Moss’s Jewish family is threatened when the Germans occupy Denmark. Story one is the struggle between Sydney and her mother and her desire to become her own woman. Story two is the struggle of Moss’s family (and Denmark) to achieve independence from Nazi tyranny. In the midst of both are the ties that bind Sydney and Laurus to their families and their homes.
I loved the history and Gutcheon’s excellent story-telling. This was a wonderful novel.
4 stars (out of 5)
Published in 2005