Rosalind wants what most of us seem to take for granted: a normal, happy home life. But with an alcoholic, abusive father, her mother has a painful choice before her. She ultimately makes the difficult decision to escape her marriage and protect herself and her children.
“I wanted to hear visions of happy Christmas mornings and birthday parties and family vacations. I wanted to hear Daddy tell me that we’d all sit down together to eat supper at night, with him and Wally both there with us, and we’d all get along and talk and laugh, and afterward Mom would wash the dishes while Daddy helped me with homework and Valerie played with a puppy that Daddy had brought home for us…”
Rosalind’s dream seems impossible; but when her father shows up in the same town where they now live, confessing how much he misses the family and making promises of reform, her dream suddenly seems to be taking on reality. Or is it?
A difficult topic to write about, Ann Tatlock brings the era of the sixties to life in this coming-of-age novel. The Vietnam War, drugs, racial tension and air-raid drills are all part of Rosalind’s world and she needs a friend. Mara, her bi-racial school chum, seems to be older than her years as she cautions Ros to ‘be careful’ of her daddy’s promises. And to make life even more complicated, the previous owner of their new home, Tillie, shows up more than once on the front porch, escaping her assisted living facility and demanding to be allowed to ‘die in her own home’.
There are solutions though, and the author brings home to the reader that life is a series of choice, cause and effect, change, and adjustments. Tillie is able to contribute to the family and take care of Ros and her little sister Valerie while their mother goes to work. And Tillie makes other contributions as well; contributions that Ros will never forget:
“… that was the thing about Tillie; that was the legacy she left me. Without her, I might never have known what I know now: that heaven is indeed merciful, and all the hours and days and dreams we deem as lost are simply waiting for us in a place we’ll someday recognize as home.”
Although it could be said that the ending ties up all too neatly, I was pulling for Ros all the way. The author has never disappointed me! I have enjoyed each one of her books and plan to read them all.