Five Star, 2009. ISBN 978-1-59414-776-0.
Reviewed by Sharon Wildwind
Posted on 08/12/2009
Lilah Kimball's family came apart years ago, when her only daughter fell in love with an unsuitable man. Lilah's husband disowned their daughter and forbade anyone in the family from having any contact with her. Like a dutiful wife, Lilah followed his instructions because as she tells her son, "I still tried to be a good wife to him. Women of my generation were conditioned to do that."
Years pass. Lilah's husband is dead, replaced by her son who developed all of her late husband's bad traits and none of his good one. She has settled into a beige-colored widowhood, one more quiet, neutral possession that Gerome Kimball left behind.
Then a social worker comes to tell Lilah that her daughter is also dead and that her granddaughter, twelve-year old Bethany, is one step away from being made a ward of social services. Reluctantly, Lilah agrees to take the girl in until the state of Georgia can make more permanent arrangements.
Lilah's huge house is big enough for grandmother and granddaughter to avoid one another, until one day they come together at the black Steinway piano in the living room. Gradually music begins to unlock two hearts. Bethany begins to trust the world again. Lilah realizes she's too old and has too much good sense to live the rest of her life within the restraints that Gerome imposed upon her. This is a lovely story of two women, of different generations, getting on with getting on.
Lynda Fitzgerald studied creative writing at both Georgia Perimeter College, and at Emory University. Of Words & Music is her second book, and the title, like the story combines her two favorite things, the power of both words and music to bridge barriers. Her third book, a mystery, will be released next year. For more information about Lynda and her books, visit her web site.
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