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Singing Her Alive: A Fictional Memoir (Shetucket River Milltown Series) (Volume 1) Paperback – January 30, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a three-generation story filled with the richly detailed lives of people I'd like to know. Sarah, who is in her early thirties and single and has a good job in Boston, returns to her home village in the Willimantic River valley in Connecticut for the funeral of her grandmother, Rebecca. This part of the story is set in the Sixties.
Sarah helps her mother, Beatrice, clean out the house Rebecca, Beatrice's father Peter, and a "housekeeper" known as "Aunt Doris" lived in. She finds journals Doris and Rebecca kept from the time they met in 1898 in Willimantic, then a thriving mill town. They were roommates in a strictly ruled house for young women working in a mill. Young farm or small-town women such as Doris and Rebecca sought a mill job because it paid them much more than they could earn for any other work they might do--and gave some of them a desirable independence from men.
As she reads the journals, Sarah comes upon one surprise after the other in the story of her grandparents, Doris, and Peter's friend William, who owned a nearby farm--and their descendants, Beatrice, Sarah, William's son Michael, and Michael's son Harry.
This is also the story of the attempt of the four older people to combat the intolerance of their time with a bold and breathtaking subterfuge.
Even as that story proceeds, Sarah begins a close friendship with Alice, the attractive mechanic who comes out to fix the flat tire Sarah endures at the end of her trip home for her grandmother's funeral.Read more ›
The book opens with Sarah coming home from Boston to join her mother, Bea, to bury her Grandmother who has just passed away. As they are cleaning out the old home, Sarah discovers some old diaries kept by her Grandmother and by her Aunt Doris, who had lived with her. Sarah is intrigued by the house, its setting, and subconsciously by the hint of strange happenings she finds in perusing the early pages of the diaries. She begins to think about buying the house from her mother and, actually quite rapidly, decides to do so. A number of factors aid in her decision. 1) She has never been totally committed to her life in Boston. 2) She has a number of acquaintances and a lesbian couple with whom she is close, but no special friend of either gender. 3) She encounters car trouble in her small town, and a local mechanic comes to help. The mechanic is a very friendly, lovely young woman who had left her business position because she found this more enjoyable. 4) An opportunity for employment opens in the local community. 5) Her mother sends around a pleasant young man who is the local Veterinarian.
To provide more specifics of the story is to do a disservice to the reader. Suffice it to say the diaries slowly reveal a most interesting, albeit complex, manner of life fulfillment for the writer, as well as for her Grandfather Peter and his Friend William. The diaries additionally produce the necessary impetus for Sarah's own lagging decisions about many aspects of her life.
This is a book that ordinarily I would not have selected. However, I should recommend it highly. It is a most interesting and unusual tale dealing with unacceptable activity in another era and of its effect upon individuals' behavior in the present day. Reviewed by John H. Manhold, award winning fiction/non-fiction author.