my opinion is that the characters were all one-dimensional. Sidney started out OK, with the father she loved passing away too soon, and left with her awful mother. She really wanted to be someone different then what she grew up with, but as she ages, she just turns into another run-of-the-mill demanding rich woman who summers in Maine.
I gave this three stars because the idea of the story was interesting, I just don't think it was executed as well as it could have been. The two stories just didn't fit together, and the ending was confusing.
Leeway Cottage, made me think of a relative who fought in World War II and brought home a foreign bride who, for an unknown period of time, suffered in Hitlers concentration camps. The couple raised three children and maintained a union for more than five decades. Sometimes, curious family members often wondered how their marriage sustained such length. I felt this book gave me insight about how love during war and after can survive. It is the same with the story of American-born Annabelle Sydney Brant Moss. Her marriage to her Danish-born husband during the war results in a Danish resistance story (which Im really into right now) and brings to mind how men and women from the WWII generation seemed to be able to maintain lasting marriages (50+ years) despite the horrors of war, separation from their families and the changes that happen to them after surviving such danger.
The backdrop in Leeway Cottage takes the reader to places such as Maine, New York City, Denmark and Sweden. I particularly like how the book reveals what happens in their marriage as they parent three children together and later enter old age.
Without revealing some of the horrendous and unspeakable war crimes contained in this book, you should know I privately cried and prayed for more than an hour after putting this book down. I prayed for every person known to me and unknown who has suffered in any way, been tortured or carries emotional hurts or physical scars from unthinkable acts.
I loved this book.It was a wonderful read.
Really interesting and not at all what I thought it would be. Starts out about family and home in a beautiful old home on the Maine Coast and suddenly you're in occupied Denmark during the Nazi period..very interesting way of putting the two together and very ineresting about Denmark's courageous rescue of its Danish Jews during the wr.
For me the first part of this novel is historical fiction light. The first part of Leeway Cottage spans the American Great Depression. The novel skips over how the Brant family was affected by the depression. I wanted more specific details about the depression from the various characters' viewpoints.
In a sentence or two the father of Annabee, the heroine, of Leeway Cottage turns from an nice guy into an alcoholic and then promptly dies. His transformation and death felt too abrupt for me.
Similarly, in 1941 when Laurus is in London working with CarlJohan Bruhn, a man Laurus 'has come to regard ... with profound affection.' is dead within five pages. I wanted to get to know this fellow Bruhn. But no, Bruhn is dead by the end of the chapter.
Candace, Annabee's mother is painted broadly as a self-centered and uncaring mother. The love-hate relationship between Annabee and her mother seems somewhat superficial. I wanted both characters to have a bit more depth and complexity.
Annabee, now named Sydney, is said to have 'enjoyed the war ... there was plenty to like.' This characteristic of the heroine is odd and unearned.
Gutcheon doesn't seem to own this material. I suspect she may have relied on an assistant to help with the research for this story.
I read 130 pages and decided to stop because I didn't care about what happened to any of Gutcheon's characters.
Beth Gutcheon is one of my favorite authors. This was a very poignant story which combined narrative of life in mid-20th century America and life during WWII in Nazi-occupied Denmark. I was a little unhappy about the evolution of the main character, Sydney, because I saw her as an unhappy child with a cruel mother who was surviving and setting herself free, only to turn into the same kind of woman her mother was once she married and had children of her own. The only reason I did not end up hating her was that I believe she was result of her upbringing. At the same time, she did stick to some of the things she believed in, such as her reaction to society mavens pressuring her about her husband's desegregation of the YMCA. That was priceless, and so unlike her current incarnation that I thought "WOW - she still has some redeeming qualities!"
Toward the end of her life, suffering from (possibly) Alzheimers and with a husband who cares for her, a choice is made by someone (by whom is never clear), which I believe is a fitting and peaceful end to the lives of two people who suffered in different ways and yet found peace with each other in their old age. It is not a classic love story, but a story of two people in a long marriage who accept each other and make a life together.
I highly recommend this.....
This was the first novel that I read that was written by Beth Gutcheon. I found her to be the type of author that I will now seek out and read everything that she has written. Provocative, insightful, and important prose are her trademarks. Nothing shallow here, she is a keeper.
Well woven story line, interesting details about WW2 and Jewish people moved from Denmark to Sweeden for life saving.
I loved this book. Very well written -- absorbing, coherent; and full of historical fact as well. I am off to look for more books by this author.
Am ready for the second book to come out. Hoping that 2nd book completes the story.