BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Widow Waltz’: Ignorance About Family’s Finances Forces Georgia Waltz to Remake Her Life After Her Husband’s Sudden Death

  • Reviewed by David M. Kinchen 
BOOK REVIEW: 'The Widow Waltz': Ignorance About Family's Finances Forces Georgia Waltz to Remake Her Life After Her Husband's Sudden Death
 
Sally Koslow’s new novel, “The Widow Waltz” (Viking, 352 pages, $27.95, eBook available) is a cautionary tale about trusting a spouse about the
family’s finances. In a word: Don’t!
 In an email to me, Koslow said that some elements of her fourth novel were inspired by her research and reporting for her wonderful 2012 nonfiction book “Slouching Toward Adulthood” (my review: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/37227). It’s a book I recommend for all parents — and their offspring.   Georgia Waltz’s two adult — more or less — daughters are living in the family’s Central Park South apartment after taking breaks from college at Stanford for Louisa (Louey) and a heavily subsidized dream job in a Paris restaurant for Nicola, their oldest, a Korean infant adopted by Georgia and Ben, but a thoroughly modern girl with a bat mitzvah, the female equivalent of the bar mitzvah ceremony for Jewish boys.Koslow told me that’s one of the takeaways from “Slouching Toward Adulthood” — the tendency for offspring to return to the nest when changes in one’s life occur. “Be it ever so humble”, in the words of the poet, “there’s no place like home.” Humble isn’t a word that applies to  Georgia’s husband, Benjamin Silver, a successful lawyer who has an addiction to running marathons. Only when Ben suddenly is felled by a massive coronary while training in Central Park for the New York Marathon is Georgia made aware of the realities of the Silver-Waltz finances: Georgia, Louey and Nicola are virtually penniless.The three women discover that the Manhattan apartment is mortgaged to the hilt, as is the beach house in the Hamptons. Their credit cards are maxed out. Just about the only things they own are Georgia’s jewels and their clothes. Georgia’s lawyer promises to look for hidden assets, but he’s not optimistic about any success along those lines. They put their apartment on the market and retreat to the beach house where Georgia discovers the secret of the disappeared assets. No, I’m not going to reveal anything!In the process of healing after Ben’s death, Georgia meets a man who rekindles her love life. Ben, described by one admirer as looking like a younger Jeremy Irons, was her one and only love, so the process of dating at her age, described by Koslow as “just past 50,”  requires a major lifestyle adjustment. Georgia supports herself with her writing skills rewriting essays for students entering college. She also discovers that her skills at raising plants are marketable, in a most unusual way. Along the way, she learns how to deal with her daughters and their challenges, a process that is often hilarious and always touching.

On her website, Koslow offers a capsule summary of  her latest novel:

“Told through the alternating perspectives of a mother and two daughters, the book digs into how to redefine your life in the face of devastating loss. As the cover suggests, despite the depth of the topic, there is warmth and lightness, too, which makes this novel one I can imagine you relaxing with this summer.”   Sally, you’ve nailed it. As a guy who enjoys well written so-called “chick lit” I look forward to reading anything that Sally Koslow writes. For my reviews of her other novels, use the HNN search engine, entering “Koslow.”

About the author 

Sally Koslow, born and raised in Fargo, North Dakota, is the former editor in chief of McCall’s magazine. Married to her college boyfriend, attorney Robert Koslow, she lives in Manhattan and often runs in Central Park. “Little Pink Slips” was her first novel, inspired by her experiences at McCall’s magazine. Her other novels are “The Late, Lamented Molly Marx” and “With Friends Like These.” She’s a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. She has taught at The Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and is on the faculty of the New York Writer’s Workshop. Sally and Rob are the parents of Jed Koslow, an attorney, and Rory Koslow, who works in the film industry. Last year two beautiful daughters-in-law, Anne and Kimberly, joined their family. Sally can often be found running in Central Park, which is near her Manhattan apartment, or puttering at her riverside cabin in Stephentown, New York. Her website:www.sallykoslow.com

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