By pure chance, just days after I posted the recent blog on my visit to Woodlands Cemetery (September 24), the Philadelphia Inquire (September 27) ran a full-page spread on a new book by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Signature of All Things, a piece of historical fiction set in the Woodlands from 1760 to 1880. Gilbert wrote Eat, Pray, Love in 2006 that sold 10 million copies and was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts in 2010. I was not aware of Elizabeth Gilbert, her books, or even the movie, which says more about my estrangement from pop culture than about her.
You can read the Inquirer article at: http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20130927_Earthy_pleasures_in_Gilbert_s_new_novel.html
The article says Gilbert “found her way to 40th Street and Woodland Avenue and chose the run-down mansion, carriage house, and stables, and the surrounding Victorian-era cemetery, as the setting for her new book, The Signature of All Things,” just as I did, except for writing the book, of course. Big difference. Never-the-less, I have a feeling of camaraderie with her and expect to read it when it becomes available. She chose the Woodlands for the setting over Bartram’s Garden, which she found too modest, and I had visited there also (see 8/24/2012 posting). I understand she has fictionalized the name of the mansion and the characters, but we will know the truth—wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Elizabeth Gilbert will speak at the Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine St., on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. That is too much effort for me, but you may be up to it.
According to the article, the Woodlands recently received a grant of $300,000 to devise a master plan for restoration of the mansion. Wow! If it costs that much to just devise a plan, how much will the restoration itself cost? Will I live to see it?