Sarah’s husband David has been dead (killed in flash flood) for three months when she sees him in a grocery store. Then she starts meeting him more often – even talking to him and letting him make her ham sandwiches. Is he ghost? Did he fake his death? Or is Sarah creating an elaborate alternate reality in her head to deal with his passing?
Not only does this novel present the reader with the engaging mystery of David’s existence – or lack thereof – it also presents a searing portrait of a marriage that had grown stagnant, a cage for both Sarah and David.
Sarah always wanted a child, but at 39, and with multiple miscarriages behind her, she blames her body for letting her down and withdraws from an increasingly controlling David. Meanwhile, David felt trapped in an unfulfilling career, and would’ve liked to quit. However, he probably never acted on these impulses because of Sarah’s negative vibes:
“Sarah liked to imagine that she would have been supportive (…). But truthfully, if David had come to her in the past year and said that he wanted to give up his job to become an artist, she wouldn’t have tolerated it. Sure she might have acquiesced in a muttering way, but all the while she would have held him back – a nagging, resentful anchor.” (p 114)
It’s a great psychological exploration of grief, marriage, and the mysteries of life. I found myself thinking about it a lot, even when my attention was supposed to be on other tasks. I especially liked the dynamic between Sarah and David’s dashing brother Nate. The widow’s group also added a nice spark to the story. And of course I can’t forget Sarah’s cat Grace. She seemed very comforting and sweet. Would be perfect for book clubs.
THE WIDOW’S SEASON is available in paperback now. Find out more about it on the author’s website.