By the time my first novel, Stepping, was published, I had already written most of my second novel. As I wrote Three Women at the Water’s Edge, I was in the process of getting divorced. My children were five and seven. We had to move out of our house. I was terrified.
I was sustained by my friends. Their laughter, their willingness to listen, the stories they shared about their own lives, all that kept me buoyant. My friends were my life raft in a turbulent sea. . .and more about the sea next time.
Three Women at the Water’s Edge is about Daisy, a young woman with two small children and another on the way. Her husband leaves her for another woman, right when she’s bogged down and fogged in by hormones and the constant care for her children.
The novel is also about Margaret, Daisy’s mother, who has just turned fifty. Margaret divorces her husband and moves to Vancouver to start her life over. Margaret has enormous sympathy for Daisy, but when Daisy asks her mother to come help her, she refuses. Margaret decides she’s been “Mrs. Santa Claus” to her family and her community for far too long. She sends Daisy money, but she has begun her new life and she’s not going to leave it.
Dale is the third woman, the younger sister, a teacher in Maine. She’s fallen passionately in love and she’s terrified. If her sister’s husband is leaving her and their mother is leaving their father, what chance does Dale have for a lasting love?
Three Women at the Water’s Edge brought me letters, stacks and packs of letters. Most of them were about Margaret. Half of my readers were furious. “How could a mother ever desert a child in trouble? Margaret’s a terrible woman!” The other half of the readers wrote: “Hooray for Margaret! She’s spent her entire life taking care of other people. It’s time for her to stand up for herself!”
I also received angry letters about the amount of alcohol Daisy consumed in the first chapter of the book. She drank wine, and after a confrontation with her husband, she went to bed with “a water glass full of brandy.” I’ve always felt terrible about that. I never have been able to drink much, and I had no realistic way to judge the amount of alcohol Daisy drank. I don’t think I’ve tasted even brandy.
I will confess, however, during those early years when my first books came out, I drank a great deal of champagne. I always drank it with my friends, my wonderful friends who made my life possible and delightful in so many ways.
More about these three women next week! Until then, here it is in its gorgeous ereader cover! I’ve tried to decide which heart is my favorite, is me. Can’t make up my mind!