Rated 4.20/5 based on 5 reviews
Gracie Antes leaves an unhappy home to pursue her singing career dream. Big city bound, she accepts a housemaid job at the bustling Crestmont Inn. There, Gracie encounters opera singer Rosa Ponselle and finds family she never imagined could be hers. Step back into the 1920s and experience life at The Crestmont Inn. Discover with Gracie that sometimes we must trade loss for happiness. More

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About Holly Weiss

Holly Weiss was born in New Jersey in 1950. She is a private vocal instructor, retired professional singer and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing. A polio survivor, she resides with her husband, Ernie, in upstate New York. An advocate for Eradicate Polio Now, Ms. Weiss was listed in the Marquis Who's Who in America in 2007.


Crestmont - the novel by Holly Weiss
Do you need a vacation? Have a peek at the lives and love of the staff at a busy summer inn during the 1920s. Hope Crestmont leaves you refreshed.

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Review by: Barbara Waite on Nov. 25, 2011 :
I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful creation of characters combined with an actual location that seemed to come alive as I read. I loved the blending of the real people who lived and worked in this quaint and historic Inn, and the author's development of characters who might have been much like those who were on staff in the 1920's. This is a book about the development of relationships, friendships and mentoring. I loved the multiple yet subtle mentoring that went on throughout the story. There was no need to tie up all the loose ends of what happens to characters. Many people are touched in our own lives that we never know the end of their story. I enjoyed watching the Woods family develop into the strength behind the success of this Inn. It was a delight to view the emerging personality of Gracie. It seemed as if you could feel her maturing and discovering her "own voice." The ending was what it needed to be, the passage of time zooming along to what actually took place. Just delightful!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: Shelley Stout on Nov. 24, 2011 :
Two women—separated by class, bound by duty— CRESTMONT delivers a multi-layered, appealing read.
In Holly Weiss’ debut novel, 22-year-old aspiring singer Gracie Antes discovers the meaning and the rewards of hard work. She applies for a position as housemaid at the lakeside Crestmont Inn in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania in 1925. Her employer Margaret Woods, daughter of the creator and designer of the inn, sees something special in the young, naïve Gracie. During the next two years, these vastly different women bond in a special way through hardship, family strife, and responsibilities.
Gracie has one goal in mind—to earn enough money to fulfill her dream to become a singer. At first, she saves her meager earnings, but soon discovers life away from home comes with expenses. Gracie must find a way to fit in and slowly makes friends with her coworkers, but when Margaret Woods takes a fall, breaking her arm, Gracie leaves the staff dormitory to live with Margaret, her husband William, and their two young daughters. While there, Gracie learns what it takes to manage and run the Crestmont Inn, and her dreams must be put on hold.
Weiss creates distinctive characters through realistic description and believable dialogue. The staff at the Crestmont Inn includes unique individuals, from whom Gracie learns and matures as a young woman. When Gracie becomes the caregiver to a neighboring older woman in poor health, she discovers her own inner strengths.
Further, Weiss does a superb job of creating a distinct narrative world for the reader. Her details are authentic and engaging, invoking the aromas of the massive inn kitchen and the beauty and grandeur of the Pennsylvania countryside. One can almost see the morning sun reflecting off the lake, “like tinsel on the trees near the shore.” The building and grounds create the canvas for this finely woven tapestry—the inn itself becomes one of the main characters.
CRESTMONT is a debut novel for the history buff or for anyone who enjoys entering a past world and remaining there. An enjoyable stay at the inn, with ample staff to meet your needs.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: WilmaReader on Nov. 22, 2011 :
I read Crestmont quickly (couldn't put it down, actually), but the distinct and appealing characters stayed with me a long time after I finished the book. I liked the story lines where Ms. Weiss gave hints of what may have happened, but didn't hit me in the face by explaining everything. I like an author who makes me think and use my imagination to fill in the gaps. I will read Crestmont again at any time of the year not just during the summer.

I loved that Crestmont was set in the 1920s because there is not much written about that intriguing time period. There are a few chapters set in earlier time periods explaining how the lake was created when the inn was constructed, and one back story about a character, PT, but these were well laid out and I didn't have any trouble following the plot. I also appreciated that the inn where the book was set seemed to act like a character in the lives of the people who worked there. Ms. Weiss did her best job as a wordsmith in developing the characters.

In the chapter set in 1899, the man who brainstormed the Crestmont, William Warner, said that he wanted to build a summer inn for the enjoyment of people "pummeled by the stress of everyday life." The book, Crestmont, did just that for me. As a tired member of a book group plowing through an endless procession of murder mysteries, abused women stories, and Middle East commentaries, I found Crestmont a very refreshing book that gave me a break from the anxiety of my very full life. I plan to recommend it to my book group and to use the downloadable reader's guide I found on the author's website.

Highly recommended
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: EliPenn on Nov. 22, 2011 :
Crestmont is not to be missed. Weiss's choice of the name Grace for her protagonist is as prophetic as it is descriptive. The best word I can think of to describe Grace/Gracie is chainik (Russian for a beginner who's willing to learn). As Grace morphs into Gracie, she becomes a lovable, enchanting mature young woman.
The Woods family comes alive and becomes your family under the author's pen. Mr. Woods is the energetic visionary and Margaret is his Rock of Gibraltar. The two grow together and grow with Gracie over the years of the novel.
Most of the characters encounter problems and setbacks, but perseverance and sheer pluck sees them through. You'll meet PT, the enigmatic fellow who plays the jazz piano, Isaiah the wonderful black chef and his petite wife, Olivia, the dressmaker. Oh! And Eleanor, one of the Wood's daughters--she's a pistol!
Ms Weiss' descriptions of life in the `20's are accurate and vivid. Eagles Mere became my town and the Crestmont became my home. In some places, as I was reading, I chuckled to myself, and in a few places I had a lump in my throat. I missed everyone and every place when I closed the book.
Don't miss the Author's notes and the afterword. They put a nice frame around the book--even a few interesting tidbits there as well.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Review by: PB on June 18, 2011 :
A very G-Rated, romancy-ish coming of age story of a young adult (21 at the start of the book) with serious confidence issues.
The characters of this story have no depth, no history, no future. They just are, at the moment, and they are only if/when needed. They disappear when not needed….even if their story is incomplete.
Not a complete “romance” because….seriously….romance entails more than singing together at talent shows, a few conversations and one kiss. It's all very chaste.
The story at times seemed disjointed and odd……it’s difficult to put into words but the conversations, situations and resolutions just weren’t quite true to life. Everything was clean and “nice” and good. It would have been nice if someone had done something wrong or bad or rude or inconsiderate or anything but good.
This book reads as Christian Fiction with continual mention of church services, hymns and prayers. This isn't a bad thing and explains the goodness and lack of badness of the characters.
(reviewed 31 days after purchase)

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