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UNREMARRIED WIDOW by Artis Henderson Kirkus Star


A Memoir

by Artis Henderson

Pub Date: Jan. 7th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4516-4928-4
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Journalist Henderson chronicles her passionate but unlikely romance and marriage to Miles, a fighter pilot who fit the stereotype, “American by birth, Texan by the grace of God.”

In 2006, Miles’ helicopter crashed in bad weather, and there were no survivors. They had met three years earlier in Tallahassee, when he was still in training. A recent college graduate, she hoped to travel and become a writer. A chance meeting at a bar led to an immediate attraction, and soon they were commuting back and forth on weekends between her Florida apartment and his, near Fort Rucker. He was politically conservative and a regular churchgoer who joined the military after 9/11. The author describes herself as a vehement opponent of the Iraq War, a young liberal “more New Age-light than Biblical.” When Miles was reassigned to Fort Bragg, they decided to live together. The author describes the difficulties of her life, as he was frequently reassigned, and she could only find minimum-wage jobs and felt little in common with the Army wives she met. Despite this and his frequent absence on deployment, the growing bond between the two was deepening. She called her mother for help, describing her frustration and posing the question of whether she was wasting her education. When her mother asked, “Do you love him?” her reply said it all: “I love him more than anything.” They married in March 2006, and he deployed to Iraq in July. Henderson writes movingly of his poignant, last letter to her, to be delivered should he be killed. She recounts how he urged her to pursue her dreams and relates her struggle to do so, despite her grief. Henderson, who graduated from Columbia University’s School of Journalism and now works as a journalist, first shared her story in the New York Times “Modern Love” column.

A beautiful debut from an exciting new voice.