There Is A Season
There is a Season has a little bit of everything. There are midwives, a questionable death, alcoholism, menopause, Vietnam flashbacks, and a family torn apart by bitterness. Then there are secrets about children given up for adoption, daring plane rescues, and dog sleds. And then there is the sixties music. Lots of sixties music. While the hero and heroine are both likable and interesting, the narrative is interrupted so often from the flashbacks and shifts in viewpoint that it is difficult to follow the “here and now” of the story.
Both the hero and heroine of this novel are in their fifties. They were married before, but war, alcoholism, and adultery came between them. Deep in their hearts, however, they have always been in love. When midwife Francesca Walcott finds out that her protege Mia is missing and possibly dead, she has no choice but to travel to the scene of her disappearance. Talkeetna, Alaska, is not only Mia’s home, it’s Francesca’s home town, and she hasn’t visited in over thirty years. Her estranged family lives there, as does her ex-husband Charlie.
The sparks start flying between Francesca and Charlie as soon as he picks her up at the airport. They obviously care for each other, but their past problems make them wonder whether they can make a future together. Francesca is determined as well to make peace with her family, but they are very resistant to the idea. Meanwhile, she is trying to find out why Mia died, and who exactly Mia was.
This story had some interesting facets that really set it apart. I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance in which the hero and heroine were both in their fifties. Although Francesca and Charlie were much closer to my parents’ age than my own, and I definitely couldn’t relate to Francesca’s hot flashes, I enjoyed the unique perspective. Outside of their ages, both main characters had other attributes to recommend them. Francesca’s profession as a midwife and Charlie’s status as a pilot and Vietnam veteran made for a lot of interesting scenes. It is also important to note that although there is a baby on the book cover, this is not one of those ubiquitous series romances about babies. Francesca delivers a couple of them, but they don’t really figure in the plot.
So why I am giving such a low grade to a book that has so much to recommend it? The problem for me was the author’s writing style, which at times was nearly incomprehensible. I wanted to find out what was happening to these characters, because I really liked them. But I found the style jumpy and distracting. Author Early seemed to be playing around with sentence structure, perhaps for literary effect, but it just didn’t work for this type of story. There are a lot of flashbacks and little interludes written in various points of view which only add to the confusion. Added to that are the near-constant references to what Charlie has playing on his stereo. It was easy to see that music played an important role in his life, and perhaps in Charlie and Francesca’s romance as well. But the musical updates, which sometimes came at the rate of three per page, were excessive.
Not every reader has the same taste in writing style, and it’s entirely possible that what is jumpy and confusing to me is fast-paced and stimulating to another reader. If the story intrigues you – particularly if you like the idea of an older hero and heroine – you might want to try this one anyway. Just be warned that you too may find yourself reaching for the Tylenol – all those flashbacks and changes in viewpoint gave me a headache.