A bittersweet story of growing older and letting go of the weight of the past.
In 1955, two fifteen-year-olds with immeasurable optimism shared a summer working as waitresses in the small town of Franklin's flourishing Britannia Hotel. Forty years later, Hannah, now a successful teacher with a younger lover, rushes home from Toronto to find her mother in hospital while Colleen, still living in Franklin and married with five children, copes with her alcoholic father. Both women try to deal with the pain and guilt of admitting their parents to the local nursing home.
Meanwhile, an ambitious young reporter has begun to chronicle the Britannia Hotel’s history and has uncovered the mysterious unsolved death of Charlie Elliot in the summer of 1955. It’s time for Hannah and Colleen to finally talk about what they witnessed that summer in Franklin. They owe it to the memory of Charlie, a gentle soul who worked as a handyman at the hotel and made everyone’s lives easier. By rescuing Charlie’s story from obscurity, both women find a sense of peace with their own lives and the decisions they’ve made.
The sadness and frustration that Hutsell-Manning captures as her characters try to cope with their aging parents will hit home for many, as well as the realization that, while life does not often turn out the way we imagine it will in our youth, the lives we build and the people we come to love will sustain us.