At age seventy-five, Sarah Lucas imagined the rest of her days would be spent living peacefully in her rural Vermont home in the familiar, steadfast company of her husband. But when Charles succumbs to an injury he suffered in the woods, she is left suddenly and inconsolably alone.
As grief settles in, Sarah's mind lingers on her past. She remembers the intense joys and tough rials of her fifty-year marriage to Charles and he challenge of raising three very different children, particularly a daughter whose needs she never quite understood. And she lovingly recalls her own childhood, when her parents generously opened their home to friends and relatives during the Great Depression.
Curiously, her past comes full circle when several displaced people seek shelter in Sarah's big, empty home--breathing new spirit into a life she had thought was spent and done, and even offering the opportunity to mend the relationship that had troubled her the most.
The first to arrive are Sarah's rebellious teenage granddaughter, Lottie, and two of her disaffected young friends. They are soon followed by an Israeli pacifist in need of a retreat, a young mother and son who've lost their home in a fire, and a woman and her infant fleeing a violent partner. This unlikely flock forms a family of sorts, whose members nurture and protect each other. Together, all of them, including Sarah, face their fears--both real and imagined--discover their hidden strengths and abilities, and slowly rebuild their lives.
In the tradition of Jane Smiley and Sue Miller, Kate Maloy has crafted a wise and gratifying novel about a woman who finds a startling, fulfilling new role just when she thought her best years were behind her.