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The Widow Down By the Brook: A Memoir of a Time Gone By by Mary MacNeill (1999)



Hardcover in Very Good (VG) condition. Please see our guide to book conditions for more details.

With their two children grown and away from home, Mary and Wilmot MacNeill led a simple life together in a tiny house in Hartford, Connecticut. But when they learned that Wilmot's cancer would soon take his life, he insisted they build Mary a home in the country, where she could learn to live on her own and take care of herself, once he was gone.So begins the transformation of a dilapidated barn on a scrambled thicket of Connecticut countryside into a beautiful, fruitful home, along with the metamorphosis of a proper librarian and wife into a strong, independent woman who's not only making the tea but also shoveling the manure and facing the elements. The inevitable happens -- Wilmot dies -- but the woman he leaves behind is forever changed. With the help of many friends and neighbors, Mary finishes the house, lives there for many years, and becomes a vital and happy member of the rural community.

Written in 1952, The Widow Down by the Brook is a splendid time capsule, depicting the simplicity of rural New England life in the 1950s and offering up one woman's hands-on experience with the changing gender roles this century has witnessed. This heartwarming piece of Americana is also the perfect bridge across generations for Mother's Day.