Housekeeping is beautifully written with an absorbing story. For some reason the character of Sylvie reminded me of certain characters in Anne Tyler novels. Particularly Muriel the dog trainer in The Accidental Tourist. Sylvie teaches Ruth and Lucille what it is to be an individual. Here's an extract. Lucille and Ruth are looking up the word pinking-shears in an old dictionary and find it full of pressed flowers:
I opened to P. At that place there were five dried pansies - one yellow, one blue-black, one mahogany, one violet, one parchment. They were flat and still and dry - as rigid as butterfly wings, but much more fragile. At Q I found a sprig of Queen Anne's lace, which was smashed flat and looked very like dill. At R I found a variety of roses, red roses, which had warped the page on each side a little to their shape, and pink wild roses.