Love is a leitmotiv threading its way through Mind the Gap – whether a son’s love for his mother, a widow’s memory of her late husband, unrequited love, guilty love, fantasy love with a chimera, conspiratorial love or romantic attraction….
But love in a swamp? How does that come about?
I am not going to give the story away, but I will say the story takes place in and around Montreal, and in London and Paris.
And of course on Cape Cod, where Grandmother Grieve has a big cedar shingle house on the ocean, featuring “a pitched roof with end gables, a large central chimney and two end-chimneys, plus a lovely garden full of blue, pink and white hydrangeas, daffodils and star flowers.”
The house has several nicknames – from the rather grand “Grieveton” to the quite silly “Windshack” – and is the theatre of many encounters: a direct hit by a hurricane, revelations of family secrets, comeuppances, the stirrings of friendship and mutual discovery….
Further up the coast, the beach at Wellfleet is the scene of a car accident, and the White Cedar Swamp a magical place where time stands still and young lovers find their native place … and each other.
If you think swamps are warm wetlands filled with alligators and pythons and creepy frogs, think again. Here is how Richard Grey, the narrator of Mind the Gap, describes the Atlantic White Cedar Swamp Trail:
“It was a winding trail, away from the thundering surf, up over a hummock of sand, past swamp azalea, blue huckleberry and sweetpepper bushes, and then along a wooden boardwalk, deep into an enchanted forest of stunted oaks and cedar, covered with lichen and moss. The trees sheltered us now from the wind. Spattered here and there, fallen oak leaves trailed idly across pools of black water that had collected in the hollows. A red dragonfly drifted by. It must have been an autumn meadowhawk….”
Places are important in Mind the Gap. They come alive and play key roles in the story. The St. Lawrence River is pretty much a substitute mother! And Cape Cod is a witness of a family’s struggles to overcome challenges, against all odds, and make their way through to a happy result!