Edwards recalls many warm years with his wife and the strength she showed in her battle with cancer.
In this loving if sentimental portrait of a happy marriage, the author looks back with close attention to detail at the early years of his marriage to Hanna. In pleasant reminiscences, Edwards captures how she enthusiastically furnished their first two homes, her love of family trips and her work as a designer Christmas-tree decorator. The prose is friendly and, at rare moments, emotionally intimate. However, Edwards whitewashes cancer’s more difficult moments by not focusing on the brutality of the disease, the emotional trauma involved or the difficulties of caring for a sick spouse. Instead, he reflects fondly on Hanna’s optimism and good humor. The reader rarely sees her or Edwards at a moment of fear or weakness. Instead Hanna is trumpeted as a grand spirit, an ideal wife and a model of youthful strength, Edwards’s misty memories camouflaging darker and more troubling realities. However, Edwards’s portrait of a grieving husband is so lush with favorable detail that the reader can only feel for his loss. Bright moments in Hanna’s illness include her determination to spend time with her family despite the consequences of chemotherapy, her tongue-in-cheek attitude toward losing her hair and her ever-vigilant care of Edwards, who marvels at her devotion, even in the face of great strain. Hanna’s assimilation, from German fiancÃ©e to an American officer’s wife, is full of the joy of discovery, with little dallying into moments of insecurity or loneliness.
For readers looking for a joyful portrait of a vibrant woman this will be an easy read, but those searching for a more candid portrait of life with cancer will have to look elsewhere.