Again in a Heartbeat by Susan Weidener (A Review)

Again in a heartbeat . . . an ordinary turn of phrase.  We’ve all said it.  Some of us mean it; some of us say it jokingly.

Susan Weidener, in writing about her husband John and their life together, through good times and bad, means those words.  In fact, she uses them as the title of her memoir, Again in a Heartbeat.

Susan’s writing style is comfortable and her story draws you in immediately . . .a  young woman meets the chair of the English department at the military academy where her father had chaired the same department and went on to become dean.  Immediately, the reader is caught up in the potential for romance, a life together forever, and dreams.  Susan writes in an engaging manner of their joys and plans, of their intense love for one another.  Their life together is so believable.

And yet it will come to be a story of love, loss and starting over again.

Soon, Susan and John are happy parents of two sons.  But in the midst of that second pregnancy, something evil and daunting enters their life together, their family.  John is diagnosed with cancer, and this uninvited guest begins to change the course of their lives forever.

Susan Weidener is not shy in sharing her most intense emotions during this time in her life.  In fact, at times the rawness of her exchanges with John are almost unfathomable to the reader.  You ask yourself how could she love him and say that?  But the reader must remember, he or she is not at the center of the story.  The writer is opening a door onto her story, and the reader is allowed a glimpse of what was.

Weidener takes her reader on a journey through serious illness, loss of John, and then to starting life over again on her own with two young sons.  She tells this story with frankness and honesty, and anyone reading her words is soon awash with a sense of hope and promise.  As the title so aptly states, Susan Weidener was willing to do it all over "again in a heartbeat."

When the reader arrives at the last page, there is no doubt that Susan and John shared an incomparable love for one another, that Susan felt hope as she faced her tomorrows, and that this author has written a guide for anyone who has loved and lost.

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In September 2012, the sequel to Again in a Heartbeat was published.  It is called Morning at Wellington Square, the story of a woman's search to find herself outside of traditional roles.