‘The Widow’s Season’ an emotional mystery

  Sarah McConnell’s husband had been dead three months when she saw him in the grocery store. He was standing at the end of the seasonal aisle, contemplating a display of plastic pumpkins, when, for one brief moment, he lifted his head and looked into her eyes. There, in his unaltered face, she glimpsed such an odd mixture of longing and indecision that her first instinct was to rush toward him, to fold her body within that unforgettable green flannel shirt. But she was swept by a wave of tingling nerves and pounding blood so cold, her only response was mute paralysis. In the seconds it took to resume her breathing, he had turned the corner at the aisle’s end and was gone.
  With that intriguing paragraph, Laura Brodie begins “The Widow’s Season,” the story of a woman grieving her husband, David, who never came home after a kayaking trip. The police found his wallet and some other items but his body never was recovered. Sarah is bewildered by her loss and not sure what to do next, and after several encounters with David’s ghost, she starts to doubt her own sanity.
  Sarah pushes her fear aside and focuses on what is in front of her: cleaning out David’s closet, packing up their mountain cabin and gathering his paintings for a memorial showing of his artwork. She also joins a widows’ group, where she is assured that it is normal to see the apparitions of lost loved ones. But Sarah doesn’t know what to believe.
  The young widow begins questioning her life, wondering whether she and David married for love or convenience. She seeks comfort in her brother-in-law, but her relationship with him puts her in a complicated situation, which only becomes more complex when David steps out of the shadows.
  “The Widow’s Season” is not only a well-written piece of dramatic fiction, but a mystery and a romance. Sarah must confront what is real and what is not. She also must decide where her future will take her, whether she will put to bed old hurts or live with the ghosts that haunt her. The reader, too, must decide what is reality and what is a grieving woman’s fantasy. And these questions linger like specters through this emotional novel, which is full of twists and turns, until the very last page.

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