After her life takes an unexpected turn, Lee Baldwin leaves Manhattan for an old mill town in Maine, planning to revel in a tide of solitude and brood about her missing husband. Limmington Mills affects her deeply as she is drawn into the lives of the people she meets, from the grocery store owner (and self-appointed town manager) to a trio of boys running wild, a taciturn welder from Bath Iron Works, and an elderly woman whose fierce grace and grip on life breathe new energy into Lee’s own.
Exploring the isolation—and possibilities—of a time before electronics linked us every minute, Preservation evokes the lives of New Englanders who struggle on the shadow side of prosperity and reminds us that life’s current brings good and bad and sometimes new chances when we think there are no more.
In a voice of stark reality and sincere intrigue, Cynthia Lang builds upon a personal legacy left to her in nine spectacular journeys. In 1806, her ancestor Sarah—mother of Gardner Colby, the benefactor of Colby College—married a successful Maine shipbuilder and lived a life of wealth, even extravagance, until the 1812 war destroyed the business and erased any traces of former fortune. “Having known what such adversity is,” Sarah wrote to a nephew who had fallen on hard times, “I can appreciate the distress you are in.”
Like Sarah’s letter, legacies may be handed on as houses, debts, baseball cards, or silver coffee spoons. Though not all are so tangible; take a journey and nothing may change hands but tickets. But now and then. . . in one story a train ride to Texas connects two orthodox students, each unmoored from their religions. A celebrated computer geek flies to the Caribbean to help his father through a change but finds his own future reprogrammed. The harmony of three musicians is altered for good after the trio accepts a booking at an Edinburgh night club. In Florida, a salvor dives into the deep to make sense of the past, seeking to understand an unexpected treasure.
Nine short stories collect legacies of all forms. Men and women, young and old, poor and privileged, their stories cover 200 years, two continents, and the Caribbean, commingling ethnicities and temperaments to spin a wonderfully interconnected world.