On the Shelf: The Widow's Season

I hadn’t planned on reading The Widow’s Season by Laura Brodie. I wasn’t familiar with the author’s work, and the title wasn’t on the list of “books to be read” I’ve culled from magazine and newspaper reviews. So…what was the draw?

First the cover of the trade paperback caught my eye when a customer set the book on the circ desk counter – a woman in a black dress, standing alone, knee-deep in rippling water, gazing toward a fog-shrouded cabin tucked at the base of tree-covered hills. Most likely the story was of the genre deemed “women’s fiction.” A glance at the back-cover copy confirmed it: “What does a woman do when she’s thirty-nine, childless, and completely alone for the first time in her life? Is she crazy if she sees her husband standing beside a display of plastic pumpkins? Or is that a natural response to grief that will diminish in time?” Then there was the quote on the front cover by a favorite author of mine, Ann Hood: “Spellbinding, right up to its surprising and poignant final page.”  Finally the clincher, for me – I read the first couple of pages and found the author’s distinctive voice and polished writing a delight.
With only 35 pages yet to read, I can honestly say I’ve not been disappointed by Brodie. She delivers, and then some, on the promises made by her publisher’s marketing department – women’s fiction, which is surprising, poignant, and also – bonus – thought-provoking.
I’d love to hear from all of you in lurker-land – how do you choose a book by a new-to-you author? Have you been richly rewarded or rudely disappointed? Let me know….