Undoing Eleanor is a magical-realist novel about discovering and recovering identity. Spanning nearly four hundred years of American history within the microcosm of Jasper’s Point, it explores what happens when one woman dismantles her entire life in order to discover who she really is.
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Cape Cod, 1625: Twelve people arrive on the shores of the Cape, miles from the nearest British settlement. They are Marshall Garrick, the illegitimate son of a nobleman’s mistress; Mr. and Mrs. Hardwicke, whose union crosses religious and ethnic barriers; Dr and Mrs. Cleve and their seven children; and the Maudsleys, a Puritan couple who claim to be members of the congregation recently settled at Plimoth.
Within three months a man will be outcast, a woman hanged and every child dead.
Jasper’s Point, 2018: Four weeks to the day before her wedding 30 year-old Eleanor Hardwicke realizes she’s not in love with her fiance. Breaking off her engagement leads her to question every other facet of the life she’s constructed for herself, and whether or not it ever belonged to her. As Eleanor begins to dismantle her identity she finds herself changing in other unsettling ways: beset with nightmares, hallucinations and delusions. Frightened by the stranger she’s unleashed within herself, Eleanor takes refuge in the only place which brings her peace: the past. Together with Shelby Whittaker, an archivist hired by the Jasper’s Point Heritage Society, Eleanor begins to piece together what happened during the year of 1625, in the process uncovering the name of a settler which had been erased from history: Jane Grey. But when the women reveal their discovery to the Town Selectmen it’s greeted with less excitement than they had anticipated. Finding themselves subject to an investigation which becomes increasingly invasive, Eleanor turns to the only friend she has left: Jo Maudsley. Jo is one of two surviving members of the Maudsley family which settled Jasper’s Point, and she hopes to be the last. But when Eleanor Hardwicke comes knocking on her door, wanting access to her father’s library, Jo must confront her own past as well as her family’s.
Together these three women will uncover the rotten core at the heart of their quaint New England town: the lies they lived by and the lengths men will go to to hide from the truth.