Effie Crackalbee (a.k.a. Jane Croy), the loving, daring, and generous protagonist of Crane Spreads Wings, is a self-proclaimed T’ai Chi warrior who practices the ancient movements that center her spirit even as she sets out to re-create her life.
When we meet her, she is Jane Croy, and she has just decided to run away from Alan, her husband of one month, because, as she says, he has misrepresented himself. He’s full of hot air—always spouting off—and Jane hates spouters. Nevertheless, within hours, she too, is misrepresenting herself. When she runs into Gled Saltonstall, the bearish, slightly pudgy single father of an adorable little boy, she becomes Effie Crackalbee—indeed her given name—and immediately signs on as the boy’s nanny for the summer, neglecting to mention that she isn’t as single and unencumbered as she appears.
When it turns out that Alan and Gled live in the same summer community on the Massachusetts coast, Jane’s little lie of omission begins to take on enormous dimensions. One fib inexorably leads to another, until there is virtually no one in this moving and vastly entertaining novel who doesn’t at some point bend the truth, whether out of kindness, self-preservation, fear, or love—because at its heart this is a book about love; and about families, from the most conventional to the most bizarre.
By the end of her sometimes dizzying journey of discovery, Effie will have found her balance, creating a new life not only for herself but also for all those she loves—and who love her.