Review

Lucky in the Corner

by Carol Anshaw



Carol Anshaw's contribution to the library of mother and daughter
relationship novels is well-crafted and refreshing. LUCKY IN THE
CORNER is a series of defining moments in the life of Fern and her
mother Nora, as their nontraditional family tests its limits and
unexpectedly grows stronger and closer together.

Things have been tense between Fern and Nora since Nora left Fern's
father and spent the next few years engaged in a series of brief
and dangerous love affairs, during which time Fern turns to her
best friend Tracy and her Uncle Harold for support and comfort.
With Fern now in college and Nora settled with her partner Jeanne,
things seem to be improving between the two of them. But there are
still several hurdles to jump before either realizes her own
strength and value, and the strength and value of their
relationship. As Nora begins a passionate and literally disastrous
affair, Fern finds herself the guardian of Tracy's child --- with
the help of Tracy's new boyfriend, who may or may not be the
father. Fern recognizes the signs of Nora's infidelity to Jeanne
but soon becomes too distracted in her own complicated relationship
with James and her worries about Tracy and her young son Vaughn to
do much but watch her mother in a familiar pattern. Soon the
tensions established by past actions are eroded as each woman steps
up to a new challenge and asserts the best part of herself to give
Vaughn a safe and happy family environment.

Faced with new responsibilities and life altering decisions, Fern
and Nora begin to see the true strength and courage and not just
the weaknesses in each other for the first time. The emotional
risks each takes in the course of the novel are honest and
touching. Fern and Nora as well as the interesting supporting cast
of characters seem real and genuine. Tracy, although a less
developed character, is sympathetic as a young and frustrated
mother, and in Jeanne, Anshaw has created a touchingly naïve
and unique woman. However, by far the most interesting secondary
characters are Nora's parents and her brother Harold. Raised by
show business parents, Nora and Harold retain more than a touch of
the dramatic in their lives. Another key character is the eponymous
Lucky, Fern's loyal canine companion, whose death symbolizes the
end of Fern's childhood and a turning point in everyone's
lives.

Realistic about both the frustrations and joys that exist in the
mother-daughter bond and the difficulties in maintaining a
post-traditional family, LUCKY IN THE CORNER carefully and subtly
touches upon many issues without compromising its dedication to
telling the story of Nora and Fern's delicate relationship. Witty
but still powerful, it is the story of one loving family's growing
pains. Anshaw's treatment of the confusion and hurt often present
in even the most loving family is smartly written and, while often
bittersweet, never without hope. It is a novel worth sharing with
your family and the friends who have become your family.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on January 22, 2011

Lucky in the Corner
by Carol Anshaw

  • Publication Date: May 22, 2002
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • ISBN-10: 0395940400
  • ISBN-13: 9780395940402