How would it feel to go overnight from living in a trailer park to a twelve-room apartment overlooking Central Park in a landmark Victorian building?
This is what happens to housecleaner Tina Finn, who, with her sisters, Alison and Lucy, suddenly comes into possession of the Livingston Mansion Apartment at the Edgewood. The Finn sisters inherit the $11 million property from their estranged alcoholic mother, but they aren’t the only siblings vying for it. Their mother’s wealthy second husband, Bill—who died just three weeks before Tina’s mother—has two sons. And they are furious at the thought of losing the apartment that’s been in their family for generations.
Tina moves into the nearly vacant, palatial space to solidify her claim to it, but she soon discovers that Bill’s sons aren’t the only ones who want her out. The building’s other residents are none too pleased by her presence either. In fact, the co-op board has designs on wresting control of the apartment from both sets of children.
As Tina fends off all the people who want to evict her (or worse), she starts to get involved in her neighbors’ complex lives. There’s the mercurial, eccentric botanist who may be either a friend or an enemy; the self-absorbed, randy son of the co-op board president, whose friendship without benefits Tina tries to curry; the large, chaotic family whose depressed teenage daughter becomes Tina’s ally and spy; the ghost Tina hears crying at night in her apartment’s secret room . . .
In this entertaining yarn by acclaimed playwright, screenwriter, and author Theresa Rebeck, we follow Tina Finn—a woman both comical and compelling, well intentioned and a bit of a thief—as she begins to love her new home, discovers traits to admire in people she’s only just met, and realizes, finally, her place in her family and the world.
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THERESA REBECK is the author of the novel Three Girls and Their Brother. Her plays include Our House, Bad Dates, Omnium Gatherum (a Pulitzer finalist), The Scene, and Mauritius, which won Boston’s prestigious IRNE and the Elliot Norton Awards and premiered on Broadway in 2007. Rebeck lives with her husband and two children in Brooklyn, New York.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I was actually standing on the edge of my mother’s open grave when I heard about the house. Some idiot with tattoos and a shovel had tossed a huge wad of dirt at me. I think he was perturbed that everyone else had taken off, the way they’re supposed to, and I was standing there like someone had brained me with a frying pan. It’s not like I was making a scene. But I couldn’t leave. The service in the little chapel had totally blown—all that deacon or what ever he was could talk about was god and his mercy and utter unredeemable nonsense that had nothing to do with her—so I was just standing there, thinking maybe something else could be said while they put her in the earth, something simple but hopefully specific. Which is when Lucy came up and yanked at my arm.
“Come on,” she said. “We have to talk about the house.”
And I’m thinking, what house?
So Lucy dragged me off to talk about this house, which she and Daniel and Alison had clearly been deep in conversation about for a while, even though I had never heard of it. Which maybe I might resent? Especially as Daniel obviously had an interest but no real rights, as he is only Alison’s husband? But I was way too busy trying to catch up.
“The lawyer says it’s completely unencumbered. She died intestate, and that means it’s ours, that’s what the lawyer says.” This from Lucy.
“What lawyer?” I ask.
“I have a hard time believing that that is true,” Daniel said.
“Why would he lie?” Lucy shot back at him.
“Why would a lawyer lie? I’m sorry, did you just say—”
“Yes I did. He’s our lawyer, why would he lie?”
“You just said he was Mom’s lawyer,” I pointed out.
“It’s the same thing,” she said.
“Really? I’ve never even heard of this guy, and I don’t know his name, and he’s my lawyer?”
“Bill left her his house,” Lucy told me, like I’m some kind of total moron. “And since she died without a will, that means it’s ours. Mom has left us a house.”
This entire chain of events seemed improbable to me. I’m so chronically broke and lost in an underworld of trouble that a stroke of luck like an actual house dropping out of the sky might be true only if it were literally true and I was about to fi nd myself squashed to death under somebody else’s house, like the Wicked Witch of the East. Surely this could not mean that. I continued to repeat things people had just said. “Bill left her his house?”
“Yes! He left her everything!” Lucy snapped.
“Didn’t he have kids?”
“Yes, in fact, he did,” Daniel piped up. “He has two grown sons.”
“Well, did he leave them something?”
“No, he didn’t,” Lucy said, fi rm. Daniel snorted. “What? It’s true! He didn’t leave them anything!” she repeated, as if they’d been arguing about this for days.
“The lawyer said it wouldn’t matter whether or not they agreed to the terms of their father’s will,” Alison noted, looking at Daniel, trying to be hopeful in the face of his inexplicable pessimism about somebody leaving us a house.
“If the lawyer said that, he’s a complete moron,” Daniel informed her. “I called Ira. He’s going to take a look at the documents and let us know what kind of a mess we’re in.”
“It’s not a mess, it’s a house,” Lucy said, sort of under her breath, in a peevish tone. She doesn’t like Daniel. She thinks he’s too bossy. Which he is, considering that we didn’t all marry him, just Alison.
So we took a left out of the cemetery in Daniel’s crummy old beige Honda and went straight into Manhattan to the lawyer’s offi ce. There was no brunch with distant relatives and people standing around saying trivial mournful things about Mom, which I didn’t mind being spared. It would have been hard to fi nd anybody who knew her anyway,
but I did think that the four of us would at least stop at a diner and have some eggs or a bagel. But not the Finns. We get right down to business.
Before noon we were squashed around a really small table in a really small conference room in the saddest Manhattan offi ce you ever saw. The walls were a nasty yellow and only half plastered together; seriously, you could see the dents where the Sheetrock was screwed into the uprights. The tabletop was that kind of Formica that looks vaguely like wood in somebody’s imagination. I was thinking, this is a lawyer’s office? What kind of lawyer? The overweight receptionist wore a pale green sloppy shirt, which unfortunately made her look even fatter than she was, and she kept poking her head in, fi rst to ask us if we wanted any coffee and then about seven more times to tell us that Mr. Long would be right with us. Finally the guy showed up. His name was Stuart Long, and he looked like an egg. Seriously, the guy had a really handsome face and a good head of brown hair, but the rest of him looked like an egg. For a moment it was all I could concentrate on, so I was not, frankly, paying full attention when Lucy interrupted him in midsentence and said, “Can you tell us about the house?”
“The house?” said the lawyer, seriously confused for a second. And I thought— of course, they got it wrong, of course there is no house.
“Bill’s house,” Alison explained. “The message you left on our machine said Bill left Mom a house, and the house would be part of the settlement. You left that, didn’t you leave that—”
“Well, I certainly would not have left any details about the settlement on a machine— I spoke to your husband, several times actually. Is that what you mean?”
“Yes, we spoke, and you told me about the house,” Daniel interrupted, all snotty and impatient, like these details were really beneath him. I could see Lucy stiffen up, because Daniel clearly had told her and Alison that he had gotten “a message,” when in fact he had been having long conversations with this lawyer that he had no right to have, much less lie about.
“You mean the apartment,” Egg Man insisted.
“Yes, the apartment.” Daniel was still acting above it all, as if he had a right to be annoyed.
“So it’s not a house,” I said.
“No, it’s an apartment. Olivia was living there. Up until her recent death.”
“Recent death— that’s an understatement,” I said.
“Yes, yes, this is I’m sure overwhelming for you,” the lawyer said.
He had very good manners, compared to everyone else in the room.
“But I take it from your questions that you’ve never seen the apartment?”
“Bill didn’t like us,” I said. “So we weren’t allowed to visit them.”
“He was reclusive,” Alison corrected me. “As I’m sure Mr. Long is aware.”
“Mom told me he didn’t want us to visit because Bill didn’t like us,” I said.
“That’s ridiculous,” said Alison.
“Could we get back to the point?” Lucy said. “What about this place— this apartment? We’re inheriting it, right?”
“Yes, well, the apartment was directly willed to your mother,” Egg Man agreed. “Because her death came so soon after her husband’s, the title was never offi cially transferred, but that will most likely be considered a technicality.”
“And it was her house,” Daniel reminded him. He was really stuck on this idea that it was a house.
“Technically it is, as I said, specifi cally included in the estate,” our round lawyer repeated. “Why don’t you let me walk you through this?”
“Why don’t you just tell us how much the place is worth?” Lucy threw in.
Mr. Long blinked but otherwise ignored her poor manners. “Obviously it’s not possible to be specifi c about the worth of the property until we have a professional evaluation,” he informed the room.
“You really don’t know?” Lucy persisted. “Like, it could be worth ten dollars or ten thousand dollars or a million dollars, but you don’t know?”
Before Egg Man could answer, Daniel tried to rip control of the meeting back to his side of the table. “She’s just a little impatient,” he said, smiling. “Sweetie, maybe we should let Mr. Long—”
Lucy rolled her eyes at this. “Just a ballpark, Daniel sweetie,” she shot back.
Mr. Long cleared his throat, clearly uncomfortable. “Well, I guess I could—”
“Yes, why don’t you,” I said, trying to be nice, because I was feeling a little embarrassed by the way the others were acting. Also, I really wanted him to give up a number. “Just a ballpark,” I said, smiling brilliantly, sometimes that’s all a sad, round lawyer needs: a pretty girl smiling at him. I thought Lucy was going to gag, but it did the trick.
“A ballpark. A ballpark,” he said, smiling back at me. “I don’t know— eleven million?”
There was a big fat silence.
“Eleven million?” I said. “Eleven million what?” I know that sounds stupid, but what on earth was he talking about? Eleven million pesos?
“Eleven million dollars,” he ...
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Book Description Harper, 2011. Book Condition: New. Ships from the UK. BRAND NEW. Bookseller Inventory # GRP70074649
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When a rich man you never knew dies and his opulent apartment is left to you, you d think it was the answer to your dreams. But perhaps it is the start of a living nightmare.a sharp, intelligent and dark tale from the creator of hit series SMASH. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Or is it? Tina Finn was standing at the edge of her mother s newly-dug grave when she first heard about her inheritance. Until this moment she d been scraping by, living from one pay cheque to the next. But all that was about to change.Now she s the proud owner of a huge luxury apartment overlooking Central Park. Things couldn t get much better, right? Wrong. Her half brothers, left out of the inheritance, think that she has no right to the apartment and they want her out - by any means necessary. So that s how Tina went from standing on the edge of her mother s grave to squatting in a twelve room apartment in the centre of New York. Now she has it all, is she prepared to fight to the end to keep it?. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780007256334
Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2010. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When a rich man you never knew dies and his opulent apartment is left to you, you d think it was the answer to your dreams. But perhaps it is the start of a living nightmare.a sharp, intelligent and dark tale from the creator of hit series SMASH.Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Or is it?Tina Finn was standing at the edge of her mother s newly-dug grave when she first heard about her inheritance. Until this moment she d been scraping by, living from one pay cheque to the next. But all that was about to change.Now she s the proud owner of a huge luxury apartment overlooking Central Park. Things couldn t get much better, right? Wrong. Her half brothers, left out of the inheritance, think that she has no right to the apartment and they want her out - by any means necessary.So that s how Tina went from standing on the edge of her mother s grave to squatting in a twelve room apartment in the centre of New York. Now she has it all, is she prepared to fight to the end to keep it?. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780007256334
Book Description Harper, 2011. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # GH9780007256334
Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; When a rich man you never knew dies and his opulent apartment is left to you, you'd think it was the answer to your dreams. But perhaps it is the start of a living nightmare.a sharp, intelligent and dark tale from the creator of hit series SMASH.Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Or is it?Tina. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780007256334_rkm
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