Saturday, May 06, 2006

Joyce Livingston's The Widow's Club~Reviewed

The Widow's Club
By Joyce Livingston
Published by Barbour

The lovely widow Valentine Denay seems to have it all—a beautiful home in Nashville, adequate finances, good looks, a great persona. Nearly every day she opens up her home for coffee with her dear friends—and fellow widows—of Morning Glory Circle cul-de-sac. And when Val's pastor asks her to organize the church bazaar, she willingly gathers her friends to help her.

Everything is going well in Val's life until she gets a new neighbor—the flamboyant Barbie Baxter, her old high school rival, fresh from divorce number three and looking for husband number four. With Barbie's arrival, Val's life is thrown in to utter chaos as their old rivalry rears its ugly head. Barbie is not only mesmerizing Val's friends and confidants, but her blatant flirting threatens Val's unexpected chance at romance.

Livingston, a recent widow herself, pens a tale of five friends dealing with the struggles of widowhood. The characters are original if not somewhat eccentric, and the story juxtaposes humor with sorrow and angst. While I found Barbie Baxter to be slightly stereotyped, I must admit she added a few guffaws—some out of sheer astonishment over her antics. I found Val's reaction to Barbie grounded in reality. While desiring to honor Christ and win Barbie to Him, Val struggled with wanting to tell Barbie what she really thought. Hmm. That hits a little close to home.

The Widow's Club is altogether a delightful read, filled with characters you want to get to know. Well, perhaps with the exception of Barbie. I'm not looking forward to her to move next door to me any time soon. However I am looking forward to the sequel, The Invasion of the Widow's Club, coming Spring of 2007.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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