SARAH’S WIDOW by Janice Graham


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An overloaded love story, set mostly in ranch country, flirts with big issues—parental bonding, mathematical intelligence, and destiny—as a young woman falls in love with a married man.

Sarah Bryden has lived with her grandparents in a small Kansas town ever since her grandfather lost his leg in a blasting operation and she had to leave college. She’s an artist, and when she’s not waiting tables or tutoring high school kids, she paints delicate flower pictures in her room. Meanwhile, she’s seeing local man but she’s not yet over a love affair with a Britisher who left her when she became pregnant (the baby was stillborn). Sarah’s life picks up when handsome John Wilde and his wife Susan—a wealthy businesswoman—move back from California to be with Susan’s mother while they try to raise recently adopted baby Will. John, a mathematical genius, is happiest when working with equations, but he’s troubled by Susan’s attitude toward Will. The baby is sickly and difficult, and after Sarah helps out one evening, Susan increasingly leaves him in her care. Sarah and John are drawn to each other, especially after Susan is injured and Will stays with Sarah temporarily, bringing them even closer together. Susan, now recovered and actively disliking her son, offers John an ultimatum: either Will goes or she does. While he wrestles with this decision, he and Sarah confess their feelings for each other, but a flood creates even further problems when Susan, with Will in the car, gets caught in the raging water. Will drowns, and a confused and grieving John heads back with Susan to California, his heart no longer in the marriage. Meantime, Sarah, pregnant with John’s child, goes to France to look at the art, then stays on. Misunderstandings and surprises ensue, of course, but what’s destined can’t be avoided.

Well enough executed, but a victim of emotional excess.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2001
ISBN: 0-399-14629-6
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001


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