Holly Weiss
Star Publish

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"A dream, after all, needn't be fueled by particulars, only by desire." So notes main character, Gracie Antes, in CRESTMONT, a historical fiction gem set in the 1920s. Determined to take control of her life, sheltered Gracie Antes leaves her unhappy home in 1925 to pursue her dream of a singing career. On her way to the big city, she accepts a job as a housemaid at the bustling Crestmont Inn. Once there, Gracie finds a life-changing encounter with opera singer Rosa Ponselle, family she never imagined could be hers, and a man with a mysterious past. Relive the 1920s with a colorful cast of characters. Discover with Gracie that sometimes we must trade loss for happiness. Set in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, the story is interwoven with details about the town, the rich history of The Crestmont Inn, and the family who passed ownership from one generation to the next. Many attempts have been made to explain how the mountaintop lake nestled in this tiny town came to be. Crestmont gives a new twist to an old Native American legend, setting the tone of grace around which the story is built. Let the period of the Roaring Twenties spark your interest with its unique social mores, fashion, jazz, and yes, a little bootlegging thrown in for pizzazz.


Crestmont is the story of the eponymous inn, which is located in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania and which had its heyday in the 1920s, the time period featured in the novel.  We’re introduced to the Crestmont Inn through the eyes of Gracie, a young lady who leaves home to become a singer and stops for a few seasons to work as a housekeeper at the Crestmont and save some money.

Meanwhile, the inn itself does a thriving summer business, but needs updates and improvements.  Its owner-operators, William and Margaret Woods, are full of ideas and goodwill but short on cash – until Margaret discovers a letter, left by her late father, directing her to a hidden stash that the Crestmont’s creator put aside for precisely this purpose.  Work begins apace as Gracie joins the local church and begins to make friends – as well as romantic interests – among the Crestmont staff and in Eagles Mere at large.

Gracie wants to be a singer, and serendipity is with her when she meets the legendary opera singer Rosa Ponselle, then star of the New York Metropolitan Opera.  Gracie’s own birth family is drifting away from her, but in the staff and visitors at the Crestmont, she begins to find a family composed of those who love and enjoy her for who she is – or, as Richard Bach put it, one tied together by “respect and joy in each other’s lives.”

Crestmont is ideal reading for those who want to get away to a simpler past and enjoy the relationships fostered by good will and hard work in the Pennsylvania countryside.

Reviewed on 07/23/2011 by Member Dani Alexis Ryskamp

“Crestmont”, is a beautifully compiled novel that not only reflects the changes that occur in the lives of the characters but also reflects that changes associated to the lovely Crestmont Inn, itself. Crestmont is one of those great timeless stories that capture hopes, dreams, and determination all wrapped-up in the cozy embrace of love.

In “Crestmont”, we are introduced to Grace Antes, known through the novel as Gracie. She is a young woman, trapped by a small town life determined to set out on a path to further her singing career. Seeing the advert in the newspaper for staff need at the Inn, she applies then is accepted. Not only do we see the relationships blossom into lifelong friendships and a familial type of connection, we see Gracie blossom with a confidence that she seemed to lack before.
I truly enjoyed this book, not only was Gracie’s story intriguing, but I also enjoyed the back-story of the Inn as well. If you are interested in cozy little books that offer a plethora of emotions then “Crestmont” is the book for you. I would compare this book to a time capsule that was just opened allowing you to peek inside a different time and place.

Once again, I have to say that I loved this book. Although I will say readers, beware because once you have read this lovely novel you will want to book your reservations at Crestmont ASAP.

Reviewed on 09/28/2010 by Member Angela Simmons

I was so excited to read this book - perfect for summer! I enjoyed the setting - the beautiful Crestmont Inn, and the mix of history with fiction. All in all it was an enjoyable book.  I loved the characters, but wished for more depth, more of a connection with them. Mrs. Woods was a very deep character, and I had hoped to find out more about her bout with malaise. Unfortunately, not much was said. Gracie's family too - I had hoped that there might be more information about them once Gracie had left home. I do wish that the story was a bit more substantial with regard to character development. It seemed as though we got a little taste for every character, but not much more. It was a treat to see the "other side" of a summer inn - the staff's antics, politics and loves. Two stories going on at one time! All in all a good summer read. I only wished for MORE. Maybe a sequel???

Reviewed on 07/27/2010 by Member Vikki Gremel

4 stars
Charming and delightful, a pleasure to read.
Step into the lives of Gracie Antes and the Woods family of Eagles Mere Pennsylvania. Gracie, who decided to take control and live her life, left her sheltered family in 1925 to pursue her dreams. Crestmont was a summer job, a way to start earning money in order to follow her dream and sing. Little did she know she would find herself, friends, and a family of her own by taking a job at the Crestmont Inn. The woods own the Crestmont and spend their time keeping the dream of Mrs. Woods’s father alive. The Crestmont is not just and Inn, but a place of happiness and solitude for many guest as well as the charming staff.
As you read this wonderful novel, you will be taken back in time to the 1920’s. You will feel you are part of the Crestmont and its staff. As Gracie’s’ story unfolds you are vividly aware of the decade, its people, pastimes and its trials. The book is truly engulfing. You will not want to put it down. The characters are unique and charming, giving the book a truly small town feel with a get away to dream of. 
I really enjoyed this debut novel. I felt I was actually part of Eagles Mere and the Crestmont Inn. The characters are charming and loveable. It makes you want to visit the modern day Crestmont, though I’m sure you would arrive and be disappointed. The book is a work of historical fiction, combined with actual history, The Crestmont is a wildly entertaining read. Everything is well presented and thought out. The descriptive nature enables you to envision life during this time. The author does a wonderful job at drawing the reader in and making them welcome, wanting to be part of the story and happenings. She has a way of making the business of running an Inn feel charming and delightful. It is a pleasure to read.

Reviewed on 06/23/2010 by Member Tiffany Schlarman

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