I lugged this novel along to a doctor’s appointment, just to kill time in the waiting room (thanks to Covid, even at doctor's offices, magazines are a thing of the past). I was unfamiliar with the author's work, and wholly unprepared for what I found within these covers. From Page 1, I was transported from that waiting room and my workaday world to the Knoll, a summer place on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where a couple named Liz and Luke Atkinson lease vacation cabins for the summer season. At the heart of the story is their young daughter Annie, a charmingly contrary little girl with a pet crow named Oliver. Through Annie's eyes, readers observe the lives of all the adults in this quirky place: a reclusive artist named Packard Marlboro; a strong but silent handyman named Bo; the cabin dwellers, with all their eccentricities; and Annie's own parents, who harbor secrets they dare not tell. All the characters are richly drawn. The dialogue is astonishingly true to life, ringing true on every page. And I became thoroughly caught up in the story, which follows Annie from adolescent to young adult. What a surprise, to fall into a story so wonderfully imagined, vivid and genuine, and a storyline that carried me along like a tide. My copy is already dog-eared. Novelist Gail Priest has created an indelible world with a winning lead. I can’t wait to revisit Annie and her friends in Parts 2 and 3 of this trilogy.
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