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Meet the Keller family, five generations of firstborn women-an unbroken line of daughters-living together in the same house on a secluded olive grove in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. Anna, the family matriarch, is 112 and determined to become the oldest person in the world. An indomitable force, strong in mind and firm in body, she rules Hill House, the family home she shares with her daughter Bets, granddaughter Callie, great-granddaughter Deb, and great-great-granddaughter Erin. Though they lead ordinary lives, there is an element of the extraordinary to these women: the eldest two are defying longevity norms. Their unusual lifespans have caught the attention of a geneticist who believes they hold the key to breakthroughs that will revolutionize the aging process for everyone. But Anna is not interested in unlocking secrets the Keller blood holds. She believes there are some truths that must stay hidden, including certain knowledge about her origins that she has carried for more than a century. Like Anna, each of the Keller women conceals her true self from the others. While they are bound by blood and the house they share, living together has not always been easy."--
As they renovate a historic Memphis house together, three cousins discover that their spectacular failures in love, career, and family provide the foundation for their future happiness in this warm and poignant novel reminiscent of The Postmistress and The Secret Life of BeesApproaching thirty and trying to avoid the inescapable fact that they have failed to live up to everyone's expectations as well as their own aspirations, cousins and childhood best friends Lizzie, Elyse, and Isobel seek respite in an oddly shaped, three-story house that sits on a bluff sixty feet above the Mississippi River.As they work to restore the nearly condemned house, each woman faces uncomfortable truths about her own failings. Lizzie seeks answers to a long-held family secret about her father in their grandmother's jumble of mementos and the home's hidden spaces. Elyse's obsession with an old flame leads her to a harrowing mistake that threatens to destroy her sister's wedding. And Isobel's quest for celebrity tempts her to betray confidences in ways that could irreparably damage her two cousins.This sharply observed account of the restoration of a house built out of spite but filled with memories of love is also a tale of friendship and a lesson in how relying on one another's insights and strengths provides the women with a way to get what they need instead of what they want.
In a small town in Northern California, the olives are ripening and the Keller women, a multigenerational family of firstborn daughters, are preparing to send their youngest, Erin, abroad. Although she worries about forsaking her family, she is compelled to take a chance at living her dream. A crisis the day before she is to leave makes Erin question her choice. Is it possible that before she can return to Hill House, she might lose one of her beloved grandmothers? Because, although she has three caretakers--Anna, her great-great-grandmother; Bets, her great-grandmother; and Callie, her grandmother--Erin has no mother. It is an absence keenly felt and never mentioned. Under the Olive Tree offers a tantalizing glimpse into the secrets of the Keller women, which spill out in surprising and heartbreaking ways in the forthcoming novel The Roots of the Olive Tree. Enjoy this early taste!
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