Saturday, September 19, 2009
Review: The Widow's Season
If you ask, I'll tell you that I don't read suspense. Nor do I read romance, sci-fi, or stories that don't fit well within my moral boundaries. But if a book really grabs me, those preferences go out the window for the sake of the story.
The Widow's Season by Laura Brodie caught my eye with its beautiful cover and intriguing title. The main character is Sarah, a recently-widowed woman still in the prime of her life. Her hopes and expectations were brought to a crashing halt when her husband came up missing from a solo kayaking trip. Although she wouldn't have said that she defined herself by her marriage, she did. Her inability to bear a child was a burden that weighed heavily on that relationship. Sarah and her husband, though close, were each dealing with the loss of a dream family.
When Sarah begins to see her husband at odd moments -- at the end of an aisle in the supermarket, walking down the hall past her bedroom -- the story takes an eerie turn. Is it a ghost? Is it David, in the flesh, returning after faking his own death? Or is it all Sarah's imagination, a subconscious reckoning with her losses?
There are a couple of places where Sarah's moral choices caused tension for me, but also for her. What if... What if her husband had been so traumatized by his accident that he let the world think he had died? What if his grief over the loss of a dream and the mundaneness of his life caused him to seek a new existence? What if, in her loneliness, Sarah turned to David's brother for substitutionary consolation? Until one has been tempted in such an awful new way, the responses are beyond imagining.
I would encourage you to read this book, not because you'll like it, but because you'll experience it. Ms. Brodie paints intimate pictures of the soul.