Were you to cross George Howe Coltâ€™s recent classic, The Big House: A Century in the Life of an American Summer Home, with John Groganâ€™s beloved Marley & Me, you might end up with what Brenda Gilchrist has created in Waltzing With Bracey: A Long Reach Home.In this brave and thoughtful memoir, Gilchrist tells the story of learning to claim her place in the worldâ€”Deer Isle, Maineâ€”and the wonderfully bossy little corgi, Bracey, who helps her to do so. After a girlhood spent abroad in various world capitals, Gilchrist has never felt entirely at home anywhere, or indeed, particularly confident about who she is. Her familyâ€™s Deer Isle summer cottage might qualify as an anchor of sorts. But there are so many ghosts up thereâ€”so many august forebears to live up to.As a middle-aged New Yorker she confronts her Aunt Eleanorâ€™s bequest of the Deer Isle property. Moving to Maine full-time with her corgi puppy in tow, she sets out to claim not just this big, rambling, shingle-style pile of a house but also her own life. Bracey is vital to this process, serving as companion and example. There is a great deal to learn from this energetic little alpha, who seems never to have known a self-doubt in his brief, well-furred life.Here is a love letter to the glories of the Maine Coast and to the human/animal bonds that can so enrich a life.