Fiction Bonanza, Part 1

The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass
With Julia Glass books, I’m a hit-or-miss reader. This one, like The Whole World Over, hit me. (This is a good thing, this hitting.)
Like The Whole World Over, it’s an ensemble cast sort of thing.
The widower of the title is Percy Darling, a retired Harvard librarian. He seems mostly likeable, though I could see that he might be hard to take in real life—a bit too impressed with his own cleverness. But altogether a decent sort.
And then there are his two daughters, who are as different as night and day.
And a teacher at the new preschool that’s erupting out in Percy’s barn (which he endures only because it will benefit the prodigal daughter).
And his college-age grandson, the apple of his eye.
And an immigrant gardener who enters the fold.
And then Percy—who’s in the autumn of his life—starts dating! So we get Sarah and her young son, too.
A big old cast, which is what Glass does best.
And then there’s a plot, too! There’s the conflict between the daughters and the resulting family angst, and there’s a group of covert environmental activists (terrorists?) on the loose in Percy’s historic and upscale New England town, and Percy’s life is changing in some big ways for the first time in years (and some of it ain’t good).
A big old-fashioned, yet new-fangled, novel.

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