Shenandoah Album #1
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Tessa MacCrae feels as if she's facing a prison sentence
when she reluctantly agrees to spend the summer helping her
mother and grandmother clean out and repair the old family
home in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. She is prepared for
inevitable anger and tension — the only emotional bonds
they've ever shared. The three women have never been close,
but Tessa hopes that time away from her husband — no matter
how trying — will help her find the answers she desperately
seeks and come to a decision about her failing marriage.
At first the summer is filled with all-too-familiar
emotional storms. Helen, the family matriarch, is
domineering, sharp-tongued and incapable of sharing feelings
— except negative ones. Widowed at a young age, she has
struggled her whole life, hanging on to the family farm by
sacrificing everything, particularly love. Fiercely
independent, Helen resents her daughter and granddaughter's
intrusion, too angry to admit that she needs their help.
Nancy, Tessa's mother, appears to be little more than a
hand-wringing social climber, who spends her days
entertaining and courting Richmond's wealthy elite. What
Tessa can't see is the woman so ashamed of her roots and
desperate for acceptance that she would do anything to be
loved, or the anxious wife trying to hold on to a marriage
on which she has never had a firm grasp.
But with the passing weeks, each of their lives begins to
change. Here in her grandmother's house, Tessa comes
face-to-face with the family and the history that has shaped
her. As Tessa restores a tattered wedding-ring quilt pieced
by her grandmother and quilted by her mother years ago, the
secrets that have shadowed their lives unfold in a drama of
discovery, hope and healing. For the first time, Tessa can
look past the years of resentment and regret and see her
mother and grandmother for the flawed but courageous women
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