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The Three Naked Ladies of Cliffport: Volume III by Peter Boffey

The Three Naked Ladies of Cliffport: Volume III

by Peter Boffey

486 pages
How, against all odds, can the Lowrie women thrive or even survive as the last pioneer household living in ghost-town Cliffport, California, the one place they know best and love most?

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Category: Fiction:Literary
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About the Book
[Volume I: 1959–1964] Kaitlin Lowrie leaves home to test her mettle in the professional folk singing/songwriting scene taking shape in New York and Boston—or is she secretly abandoning her 4-year-old son to his “Gran'ma” forever? Bruised and shaken by experiences back East, Katie returns home, settling into life within the one household hanging on for dear life in all-but-forgotten Cliffport. Then Jan McLoughlin, long-absent landlady, shows up with one intention—to sell the property—and Elisabeth Lowrie despairs of being evicted from the sanctuary she has created for her grown daughter, her growing grandson, and herself.

[Volume II: 1965] A severe winter storm catches the landlady in Cliffport: she is forced to bivouac in the very house where she was born and raised, and from which she had once definitively fled. Stuck there, kept afloat by tumblers of her whisky and cartons of unfiltered cigarettes, in short bits and long pieces, Jan tells her life story to the feisty Lowrie daughter. Meanwhile, Katie’s mother— “having reached the stage in my life when I was almost your age today.…” and feeling that she has “no other way to share with you many things about my existence before your father and you children came into my life”—retreats to the attic to compose a long letter to her daughter, her own memoir of the first half of her life written in a formal, proper English altogether different from Jan McLoughlin’s outspoken words. As Elise bequeaths the Notebooks to her daughter, it falls to Katie to span the widening gap between the two older women and to resolve their seemingly irreconcilable interests; Katie dreams then schemes how to stay living on the place.

[Volume III: 1966–1975] In the late Sixties, having secured title to a sub-parcel of the land, Katie enjoys an inheritance from deceased Jan McLoughlin, which money funds some long overdue upgrades including a new vehicle, a state-of-the-art greenhouse, and the retention of hired help at her Redwood Coast Nursery. But now mother and daughter must sustain their presence against an onslaught of harassments by their new neighboring landowner: Yo-Mizo-Sata International Ltd. holds the smaller property landlocked and wants the Lowries out so that the greater property can be developed by Monteflores Inc.

The gradual desertion of Cliffport by Donald Duncan, Katie’s teenage son—and his ultimate disappearance into Northern California’s Emerald Triangle—do not help matters on the home front, but the appearance of a Dutch-expat plantsman provides spirited reinforcement and know-how to the struggling family business; Pieter Tuelling’s bonhomie—marbled through with Old-World melancholy—matches Katie’s own moodiness: the education of a nurserywoman evolves into profound friendship.

With Elsie’s eventual death, there is no one left alive to respond to Katie’s reflections upon the curiosity of how—though neither kin nor next of kin—she has become the repository of the McLoughlin clan’s collective memorabilia and the sole guardian of Cliffport’s pioneer cemetery as well as the ancient redwoods of its Chapel Grove. Solo, surrounded by hostile forces on all sides, Katie finds herself in need of regrouping; she retreats, vacating the premises—temporarily.

[Volume III may be read and enjoyed with or without having read Volumes I or II.]


Related Titles
  • The Three Naked Ladies of Cliffport: Volume I by Peter Boffey
    Three single mothers of three bastard children from three generations claim Cliffport - a ghost town on Santa Cruz County's northern coast - as their home. In letters, phone calls, journals, and conversations, we hear the distinct and disparate voices of these strong-willed women - each tough on the outside yet sensitive within.
  • The Three Naked Ladies of Cliffport: Volume II by Peter Boffey
    Three single mothers of three bastard children from three generations claim a ghost-town on Santa Cruz County's northern coast as their rightful home. In letters, phone calls, journals, a memoir, and their conversations, we hear the distinct voices of these strong-willed women-each tough on the outside, yet sensitive within.
  • The Three Naked Ladies of Cliffport: Volume IV by Peter Boffey
    Santa Cruz’ North Coast community finally sours on an unscrupulous developer; fighting the obliteration of all she values, an aging Katie Lowrie, last living member of Cliffport’s pioneer family, becomes reluctant leader of the resistance.


About the Author
Peter Boffey When not out exploring the West, particularly throughout the Pacific States—with a focus on the diverse native plants, birds, geology, and cultural history—Peter lives with his wife, Ophira, in the San Francisco Bay Area, often volunteering as a docent at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek.



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