When I read the last words of Susan G. Weidener‘s Again in a Heartbeat, I knew I would be picking up Morning at Wellington Square. Susan had shared the story of a blissful courtship and love found under blossoming dogwood trees with a man who loved her more than she had ever imagined possible. A story of building a family and careers disrupted by her husband’s long and difficult battle with cancer.
I wanted to understand how a young woman with two young sons moves on from the hurt and pain of loss, a loss many of us will never experience, much less so early in life. Morning at Wellington Square is Susan’s honest and moving tale of finding her way through a maze of responsibilities and social interactions as a single, working mom.
Like a tapestry woven from rich and vibrant threads, Susan invites us along as she searches for identity beyond the roles of daughter, wife, mother, journalist. The book opens 11 years after John’s death, and John and Susan’s son’s are away at college. Living in their home alone, Susan is aware it is time to map out her journey into a new role.
However, as Susan’s writing shows us by using flashbacks and memories, lives continually build upon memories while anticipating the unknown waiting down the road.
For me, the search for community or, as others might describe it, relationship was the most meaningful and poignant part of Susan’s story.
Having been a single mother with a son in my 20s, the search for relationships, whether with the opposite sex or not, can be like walking through a mine field. After all, how do we ever know who another person really is? Is a relationship or community the source we seeking to heal our scars?
Following a testing of friendships and even a move to Arizona, Susan comes home and unexpectedly finds a way to share her gift of creative writing. One day while driving around she happens upon a bookstore called Wellington Square. And here she and others gave birth to the Women’s Writing Circle. These women, through Susan, have experienced a new life through writing and sharing their writing with others. And through Susan, her books and her blog, Susan shares her experiences as a journalist and writer with the rest of us.
I highly recommend Morning at Wellington Square to those working their way past grief and loss and to those who are looking for a way to heal from those painful emotions through writing. Susan is a gift to fellow memoirists and other writers.
Dear Sherrey, I am very happy my memoir resonated. As an older single woman for a time, you understand the challenges of suddenly being on your own and making your way “alone,” charting a path through a maze of people and places to form some semblance of a social life. It’s terrifying and exhausting. But, life, as they say, goes on and so you do what you have to do, not only to survive, but craft something special for yourself as a woman . . . something that is yours and yours alone, that no one can take from you, that doesn’t have to do with children or spouse or parents. For me, this has been my writing, which is my connection to so many diverse and interesting people and their stories, as well as my own! I believe that is the upbeat ending to Morning at Wellington Square; that you are never too old – or too young – to find a new path that energizes you and employs your special gifts. You just have to tap into those talents and gifts and when you do, it’s magic. The Women’s Writing Circle has given me so much more than I could ever give those women . . . as I said in my book, they were an unexpected “gift one morning at Wellington Square.” Thank you for the beautiful, heartfelt review.
Susan, your writing style and willingness to reveal the good with the bad parts of your life story makes each of your books compelling. I’m so glad you were pleased with the review. 🙂
Thank you for a great review, Sherrey!
Thank you for stopping by, Jill!
Lovely review, Sherrey. As I commented on Goodreads, I wholeheartedly agree with your points. Susan really shows us the power of honesty in sharing a story of life after grief and loss. It left me feeling inspired and hopeful.
Kathy, I appreciate your thoughts on my review. Susan is a writer who shares not only her story with us, but also her gifts of writing, teaching and support. I agree that her book gave us an additional gift of inspiration and hope, both so needed in our lives and world today.
Susan is indeed a gifted writer. Great post, Sherrey.
Grace, so nice of you to comment on my review. Reviewing Susan’s books is pure pleasure!
Thank you for sharing your review. I am currently reading a memoir from Elaine C.Pereira entitled “I will never forget.” It is amazing how reading someone else’s thoughts can make your own life make sense.
Ionia, I find the same to be so true. Others’ lives and experiences often bring our own into greater focus. FYI, prior to writing this book, Susan published Again in a Heartbeat, the first part of her memoir. I recommend reading it first (see my review of it on this blog).
Thank you for that. I can’t stand it when I get all settled in and then realize I am starting in the middle!
Oops I meant to hit return and accidentally hit submit, I was going to say, that you have piqued my interest and look forward to reading Susan’s book as it sounds wonderful.
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