Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Widow Waltz by Sally Koslow

3.5 Star

Georgia Waltz has things many people only dream of: a plush Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park, a Hamptons beach house, valuable jewels and art, two bright daughters, and a husband she adores, even after decades of marriage. It’s only when Ben suddenly drops dead from a massive coronary while training for the New York City Marathon that Georgia discovers her husband—a successful lawyer—has left them nearly penniless. Their wonderland was built on lies.

As the family attorney scours emptied bank accounts, Georgia must not only look for a way to support her family, she needs to face the revelation that Ben was not the perfect husband he appeared to be, just as her daughters—now ensconced back at home with secrets of their own—have to accept that they may not be returning to their lives in Paris and at Stanford subsidized by the Bank of Mom and Dad. As she uncovers hidden resilience, Georgia’s sudden midlife shift forces her to consider who she is and what she truly values. That Georgia may also find new love in the land of Spanx and stretch marks surprises everyone—most of all, her.

Lydia - 3.5 Star

The Widow Waltz is an intriguing and entertaining read. The thoughtful observations and wit  within are first encountered with the title’s play on words and then continues throughout. An easy read, not only does this novel grapple grief and loss, but tosses in a deceitful spouse who has left behind a legacy of lies. Unfortunately, Georgia Waltz doesn’t discover her husband’s deceit until after the massive coronary that takes him from her – and not only it take her from him, but also takes away her privileged life.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to learn your husband had continuously lied to you after he’s dead. How do you come to terms with that when you can’t yell and freak out on him in person, when you’re grieving the love you lost, the love you thought you had – and the life you’ll now lose too? Georgia has it rough, but she meddles through somehow and we see her independence re-emerge as she is forced to deal with the aftermath of her husband’s death – and his lies.

At times, I felt I couldn’t connect to the characters as much as I wanted to. They came across as cold, aloof, and distant to me. Georgia seemed more devastated about the impact on her lifestyle rather than worried about how she (and her ridiculously spoiled daughters) would eat and where they would live. Yes, she had to get used to living with less money – but at least all was not lost.

The daughters drove me slightly insane. Irresponsible, unreliable and spoiled rotten, these twenty-somethings had barely worked a day in their lives. And they didn’t make the brightest decisions. I did enjoy their gradual improvement and seeing the relationship with their mother evolve and grow. I actually would have liked more scenes from the daughters perspectives as they had more growth and development than their mother.

Even though part of the ending came as a surprise to me, I thought it wrapped up in a rush. I wanted to see much more development and because there wasn’t, I am not entirely sure it came across as believable to me. In my opinion, the daughters had better resolutions to their woes. All in all, The Widow Waltz is a solid read with very witty prose - one of the things that kept me rapidly flipping pages and would be suitable to tuck into your beach bag this summer.

Thank you to Penguin for our review copy. All opinions are our own. 

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