Peonies in Winter
by Sally Rosenthal
What Amazon Says
This is a small book for the small hours when we sit alone in the dark or feel as though our grief isolates us. Although we all travel sorrow’s path at some point in our lives, many of us walk that road alone and bewildered, failing to reach out to grasp the waiting hand of a fellow traveler.
In the months following her husband’s sudden death, Sally Rosenthal explored her reactions to loss and came to realize that strength is a synergetic wisdom woven from the love passed on through the examples of relatives and beloved animals. In poems and prose, she shares what she has learned about survival and resilience. Come sit with Sally at her kitchen table and share the journey.
I met Sally Rosenthal several years ago through Behind Our Eyes, a writers’ organization to which I belong. I’ve always enjoyed reading her work and was moved to discover she mentioned me in the acknowledgements at the end of the book.
I can relate to many of the pieces here. The title essay, “Peonies in Winter,” in which Sally describes finding old perfume bottles in her closet, reminded me of my mother’s old perfume bottles that I’ve kept for years since her passing in 1999. “Charles Palmer,” in which she talks about the grandfather she never knew, tugged at my heart, making me grateful I knew my grandparents before they left this world.
Being a widow and having been a family caregiver, I felt a special connection with Sally through her poetry on the subject. I had to laugh when I read her piece about Grade A chocolates. The resources at the end add a nice touch. I recommend this book especially to those who are grieving, but I think anyone can find solace and hope here.
Copyright 2021 by Abbie Johnson Taylor.
Independently published with the help of DLD Books.
Sixteen-year-old Natalie’s grandmother, suffering from dementia and confined to a wheelchair, lives in a nursing home and rarely recognizes Natalie. But one Halloween night, she tells her a shocking secret that only she and Natalie’s mother know. Natalie is the product of a one-night stand between her mother, who is a college English teacher, and another professor.
After some research, Natalie learns that people with dementia often have vivid memories of past events. Still not wanting to believe what her grandmother has told her, she finds her biological father online. The resemblance between them is undeniable. Not knowing what else to do, she shows his photo and website to her parents.
Natalie realizes she has some growing up to do. Scared and confused, she reaches out to her biological father, and they start corresponding.
Her younger sister, Sarah, senses their parents’ marital difficulties. At Thanksgiving, when she has an opportunity to see Santa Claus, she asks him to bring them together again. Can the jolly old elf grant her request?