Zibby. Jun. 2023. 272p. ISBN 9798985282856. $26.99. F
Delury (The Balcony) uses her protagonist to represent the frustrations that burden women whose desires are at odds with their roles as mothers. Filtered through the fierce love of a mother for her child, the book compassionately represents the messes people create and scramble to fix. Forty-year-old garden historian Maud wants a divorce; she separates from her husband by taking a garden restoration job in another state. Keeping the separation and her budding romance with a colleague from her two daughters creates a thorny situation when Maud’s depressed and emotionally unstable teenager Ella learns of her mom’s deception and acts out. The novel’s pace, which starts leisurely, starts careening when a crisis with Ella turns Maud’s life, and priorities, upside down. As Ella starts self-harming, the family attends counseling to confront this issue, and Maud desperately tries to restore her turbulent relationship with her daughter while her relationship with her husband turns ugly.
VERDICT By the time Maud slowly starts to lay a groundwork for her new single life, readers who enjoy themes of women’s lives and relationships will be fully invested in her journey.
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