An elite New York housewife feels blessed with her long marriage and easy life until her beloved husband, who’s a picture of good health, dies suddenly of a heart attack in his early 50s. The death of Ben Silver forces Georgia Waltz to rethink all her ideas on love, loyalty and independence, particularly when she and her girls realize that he’ll be sorely missed by others than just his wife and daughters.
In life, Ben was an unquestionably good provider and a very affectionate husband and father. His wife knew him to be a connoisseur of “fine things,” to the point of being a first-rate snob about many things and a bit of a flirt even in front of her. This never bothered Georgia much before; she felt blissful not knowing everything. But in the months that follow his passing, Georgia begins to respond to the endless condolences pouring in while secretly yearning to escape the unwanted pity --- especially self-pity. She wonders whether there ever was anyone else for Ben and begins searching her apartment for signs of something amiss.
"Sally Koslow has written an inspirational piece about rising up to meet challenges, valuing family, and finding independence, inner strength and new perspectives."
This mystery becomes a reality that unfolds in pieces once Georgia meets with her husband’s attorney in the months following the tragedy. Ben, they’ve discovered, has a few things to answer for. He has left his wife and daughters with nothing --- this despite the image of their being very well-off and despite Ben’s frequent assurances that they would always be exceptionally well provided for. He secretly mortgaged to the hilt their New York apartment and prestigious summer home, and sold away Georgia’s private inheritance, forging her signature and emptying their bank accounts. Georgia and the girls have been left not only grieving Ben’s death but realizing they are destitute and have been lied to. The only things left of any value are a few precious pieces of jewelry Georgia obtained from anniversaries and such, which she’s very quick to get rid of. Luckily Georgia’s brother is a jeweler and an excellent source of support who will help them get by. They need all the comfort they can get.
It doesn’t help the situation that Georgia is without any resume to speak of or job skills. Her only work through the years has been for charitable causes common to “upper crust wives.” She and her daughters wonder what they will do and how to support themselves. They ponder if they can ever forgive Ben for the reality he’s left them with, but Georgia finds her own strength by reaching deep within and realizing she still has love to give and doesn’t want her life or her daughters’ to end with Ben’s.
Georgia’s girls are college beauties. Luey is a stunning, brilliant student at Stanford (at least before the funeral; after, she discovers she’s newly pregnant thanks to a college fling with campus singer “Buffalo Bob”). She is considering putting her baby up for adoption after the delivery but has a frightening scare early on. Cola is an adopted daughter, a “perfect Asian rose” who grew up living the good life, enjoying the genuine love of two parents who both valued her every bit as much as they did their blood daughter. Until Ben’s death, Cola lived in Paris and had been seeing a gentleman there. But both Cola and Luey have yet to settle into any life or career, and have enjoyed a flightly existence of the ultra-rich. Once Ben dies, they return to New York permanently to live with their mother.
THE WIDOW WALTZ is a light read that focuses minimally on grief and serious issues. Sally Koslow has written an inspirational piece about rising up to meet challenges, valuing family, and finding independence, inner strength and new perspectives. The themes revolve around typical upper- and middle-class American families who end up having problems as a direct result of their lifestyles. Those looking for a breezy summer book should thoroughly enjoy Koslow’s latest effort.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on June 14, 2013
The Widow Waltz