When Ellie's mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, she is called upon to help out her father and two sisters with her care. Ellie has always been considered to be selfish when it came to her mother, but past hurts are actually what keep Ellie at arm's length from her. Ellie makes the choice to spend some time away alone with just her mother at the family vacation home in Hilton Head, South Carolina. When Ellie discovers some paintings her mother did years earlier, finally the secrets from the past are revealed. But will they be enough to heal the scars on Ellie's heart, and the relationship between her mother and her? When old buddy from childhood, Ben, is unexpectedly found to be in Hilton Head too, will they discover a newfound love for each other?
THE DWELLING PLACE is a sequel to Elizabeth Musser's earlier novel, SWAN HOUSE, but is able to stand pretty well on its own. Told in first-person narrative from Ellie's point of view, this novel is one of reconciliation and redemption. While Ellie's family sees her as selfish, we see a caring side in her personal life beyond her family associations. Ellie takes in abandoned animals and is kind to her elderly and handicapped neighbors, revealing a compassionate nature. As Ellie struggles with her identity within her family, we are taken along on the journey as she discovers the secrets behind THE DWELLING PLACE. Ellie quickly learns things aren't always as perfect as they may seem.