In search of something she can’t quite put a name to Mary Lane returns to the place her family has called home for almost two hundred years. Some would say she was looking for a new beginning, and others who thought they knew her well would insist she was starting over. All that mattered to Mary was that she was once again in the city nestled along the mighty Mississippi. And in returning to Burlington she feels as if she is finally coming home.
But as she takes on the long project of restoring her grandmother’s small house the privacy she thought she long desired isn’t turning out to be all she expected it to be. Then before she knows it her cousin Casey arrives at her door desperate to find refuge from the high pressure job she can no longer sell her soul for…and live with. The price has become far too high. But unlike her cousin Mary she knows exactly what she’s looking for. A new beginning that allows her to look in the mirror each morning and like who she sees.
Together as they grapple with the changes in their lives the two cousins discover long hidden answers to old family secrets. Secrets that lead to a family mystery neither ever anticipated and worry what the answers they may find will mean. The family saga seems never-ending as new answers seem only to lead to more questions.
But it is Mary’s unplanned ownership of the family ancestral white elephant down the street that brings even more family members unexpectedly to her door in the middle of the night. Her Aunt Charlie arrives to once again walk through the home she’d grown up in. More…she came longing to be free of the cloistering and often smothering concern of her grown children. Traveling with Charlie is her young granddaughter, nineteen-year-old Mallie, who wanted to make sure her grandmother got where she was going safely and who dreams of something far different than what her parents dream of for her. Not long after that Mary’s cousin Carrie arrives in search of her missing mother. Though the mother-daughter relationship between her Aunt Charlie and Carrie is a sometimes uneasy one Mary knows her cousin is guided primarily by her deep love for her mother. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of Carrie’s brothers. With their arrival Mary finds her small house is once again crowded the way it had been in the years of her childhood when voices filled the quiet of the night and laughter reigned over the everyday concerns of life.
Before long the five women find new purpose for the elegant family home down the street and a new business venture they all have a part in. Joining them is a new friend whose own connections to their family unexpectedly goes back generations. Together the women persevere to reach common goals and in doing so each find deep wells of strength, determination, and resolve.
Return to Cedar Hill is the story of family. Both the family we grow up with and the family we find along the way. It is the story of where we go when we need support in our best and worst moments. Where we turn to when life throws all it can at us. Then more. It is the realization that the where we go in these times is the who we go to. Family. Mary Lane knows in coming back to Burlington she is coming home again. And while so many of the family that brought her there in the past are gone their spirits live on in the city they never stopped calling home.
Return to Cedar Hill, the first of the Hills of Burlington series, is the story of six contemporary women, family and friends of different generations yet drawn together at a time when all are at a crossroad in their lives…and searching for something they’ve not yet found.