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.