Title: Love in the Catskills (Eras of Love #1)
Author Name & Publisher: B.L. Miller (Rose Quartz Publishing)
Publication Date & Length: September 16, 2015 – 268 pgs
For young Mary Chandler, the splendor and natural beauty of the Catskills and its famed resort, Catskill Mountain House, gives her more than fresh air and awe-inspiring sights. It gives her Hester, a lifelong gift greater than all the riches in the world.
For young artist, Hester Van Wyck, meeting Mary turns out to be a life-changing experience, expanding her rural horizons and enriching her life.
As the summers go by and the world changes around them, Mary and Hester’s relationship grows. From dolls and play to dealing with their loved ones as the country is torn asunder by the Civil War, the one constant is their devotion to one another.
Love in the Catskills is the first book in the Eras of Love series, each novel focusing on the strongest of all forces against the backdrop of the progressive eras of American history. The trials and tribulation of Mary, Hester, and their descendants are certain to enthrall the reader as these women fight, not only for their unique place in the world, but also for the ones who hold their hearts.
Ten year old Mary goes to the Catskills every summer to escape the heat and oppression of New York city. Her rich family mix with the likes of the Astors and even in the Catskills they socialise with other families just like them. One summer she meets nine year old Hester, the daughter of a poor artist who scrapes a living painting portraits of the socialites who holiday there. The girls becomes inseparable and are both desolate when they have say goodbye at the end of the summer. As they years pass they meet every year and their devotion to each other grows.
I loved this book and could not put it down. The author told a beautiful story of ever deepening love, set against the background of the looming Civil War. Life changes for both rich and poor when the war comes and the girls throw themselves into helping the war effort in their own ways. The changes in society brought by the war make it easier for them to avoid the question of marriage. As they were devoted to each other, having to marry would have been truly awful for either of them.
The love story grows over the years and as they become young women it is obvious that they are meant for each other. They have to hide their feelings and I found myself worrying that they might be caught. The descriptions of both the Catskills and New York City were magnificent and so evocative. It was an amazing read, full of joy and totally successful at immersing the reader in a time gone by.