Hilltown - A Novel
novel by Phyllis Smith Webster
Smith Webster is a playwright who has had two plays produced
by the Miniature Theatre of Chester, Calebs
Stones and John and Teddy. She has also
had a reading of her latest play about Robert Frost, Something
Like a Star at the Jones Library in Amherst.
is married to the Rev. John Webster and they were long time
residents of Williamsburg, Massachusetts. Currently they
are living in Mrs. Websters home town of South Hadley.
Hilltown is her first novel.
different times of most days for the 14 years I have
lived here beside the Middle Branch of The Westfield
River in Chester, Western Massachusetts. I walk alone
between the wooded mountain and that scenic river. On
my way I pass a tiny private graveyard that has two
perfectly preserved gravestones. One of them is dated
in the early 1800's for the young wife buried there.
The other is for a very young child who died in the
late 1700's. I think about them and the other people
who knew and loved this beautiful region long before
me. I try to recreate their thoughts, their struggles and
their lives. I always fail. I had almost given up in
irritated frustration when along came Phyllis Smith Webster,
one of my favorite contemporary playwrights, with her
Phyllis gave me a few years
ago one of the very best, important and successful new
plays we have done in the Chester Theatre Company "John
and Teddy." As a novelist, to my delight and yours,
I believe, she brings a moving country tale, set in these
hill towns in her Grandparents' time. She brings to us
her rich, loving sense of character, her accurate, sensitive
ear for dialogue, her playwright's economy in storytelling,
and her lifetime's love and experience of life in these
hill towns of western Massachusetts. To this she adds
her perspective as a Minister's wife, her awesome abilities
in historical research, and a deep feminine understanding
of the human heart and spirit. As long as these hill
towns exist and human beings live here, Hilltown should
have a place in every bookcase.