Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Widow's War by Sally Gunning


The bookgroup I'm a member of chose The Widow’s War for our February title and I had never heard of it or the author, Sally Gunning, beforehand.  I’m always excited to pickup something new and unheard of…reading wise (and from my perspective obviously, sorry all you Sally Gunning fans out there!).  

What a great, strong female character we have in Lyddie Berry!  She loses her husband to the whaling industry on page 1 so I don’t really feel like I’m giving anything away by telling you that. It’s the aftermath of this that warrants the title.  Lyddie is now at the mercy of man, and I don’t mean that in a mankind sort of way.  I specifically mean that gender.  She cannot own the home she shared with her husband; that has now been deeded to her closest male relative, her son-in-law Nathan Clarke.  He wants to sell, but that would leave her entirely dependent on him and Lyddie’s daughter is clearly not happy with Lyddie in the house.  There are consequences if she stays, consequences if she goes, and consequences if she marries and Lyddie is becoming tired of the consequences of men’s decisions for her and about her.  Can one woman gain independence in such an environment ?  Why would she even want to?  

Nearly 100 years before the Seneca Falls Convention in New York kicked off the women’s suffrage movement, Lyddie Berry’s existence after her husband died is direct testimony for how far the plight of women has advanced.  I am glad to live a life when I don’t remember a time when women were not allowed to vote or get any just about any job they want to have.  There is the pay issue going on now, evidenced by President Obama’s signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act just a few days ago, but we’re always moving forward.  I can hardly wait to here the discussion surrounding this title when my bookgroup meets next week! 

1 comment:

Rebecca @ The Book Lady's Blog said...

Not related to this post: My randomizer gave you the letter V (sorry!) for the ten things meme.