“Miss Eleanor Bannister owned a house on Florida Street she wanted to stop renting. She wanted to sell it. Or burn it down and collect the insurance, or let it go for taxes. She did not want to scrub the walls again and rake the muck out of the kitchen and lay down linoleum and fix the faucets.”
The house is her parent’s old honeymoon cottage. They died some years ago but ever since, Eleanor has been living the same routine. She used to teach languages at the local school. For forty years.
Eleanor is sixty-nine and three quarters and she has never married; never fallen in love. Abel Brown is a drifter. He may be in his seventies but he has momentarily suspended his wandering to fix the gable roof of the cottage. He persuades Eleanor to fix up the rest of the cottage. She discovers he has a family but isn’t married. What will the neighbours say? What would her parent’s say?
For the first time in her life, Eleanor is experiencing feelings she has not only never felt but which she gave up believing she might ever feel. She finds the experience disturbing, torn between wanting Abel close and wishing he would just go away, Eleanor struggles to find common ground between not only the drifter and herself but between the person she thought she was and the woman she really is: a younger woman in her heart with extremes of longing struggling to break beyond the expectations of advanced years and the ravages of time.
The story of Eleanor learning how to live – and love – again is not only inspiring but wonderfully dramatic and better still, humorous.