To the New Owners
by Madeleine Blais
Atlantic Monthly Press

Madeleine Blais’ son gave her his blessing for this book, but said that if he were to write about their family’s summer home, he’d call it “Not for Sale”. She has rather more to say on the subject, but states her position thus: “We hoped the house would never sell.”

Clarifying that the Martha’s Vineyard property did not belong to her, she then describes how perfectly imperfect was this increasingly dilapidated summer house, which had been passed down to her husband and his siblings from their parents, and was now being readied for out-of-towners, who would demolish it to build something twice the size with, gasp, a pool.

“The new owners had no idea what they were getting,” apart from the 5½ acres, she writes, proceeding to tell them about the human history attached to the house.

Readers are also shown around the playground of presidents and movie stars, and told stories (Jaws was filmed here in 1974) that have added to the island’s mystique and allure. Nostalgia is a given, but the book reads like a memoir one might write to be passed down through the generations, in one’s own family only.