One family's secrets, betrayals, and hopes, woven together through four generations into a brilliant tapestry of memory and love. . Margaret Neal, a junior at Harvard, drops out after discovering she is pregnant. At loose ends, and feeling like a disgrace to her parents and to herself, she has to get away. For the money to buy a ticket out of town, she appeals to her Aunt Nell, the family matriarch, a no-nonsense ex-schoolteacher who seems to have nothing in her life but her cat, her daily bran cereal and prunes, a big old house full of stuff nobody wants, and relatives who covet her money. But when Nell sends the check she also encloses a gift-an odd but cherished souvenir that will lead to the revelation of a series of truths about the family's long and haunted history. A warm, humorous novel of unforgettable power and grace, Souvenir of Cold Springs tumbles backwards in time, from 1987 to 1938, through the voices of four generations of women in an extended family.
Peeling away the layers, bit by bit, these women tell interlocking stories that uncover the painful events that arose from one impulsive act buried deep in the past, and from the misconceptions, rationalizations, and outright lies that followed. Through this expansive exercise of memory, we come to see that this family, like all families, is a rich accumulation, each generation echoing and deepening the experiences of those who have come before them.