A beautiful story about starting over after unexpected heartache, Young Widows Club by Alexandra Coutts is about finding your way back to life when it seems like everything is over.
For seventeen-year-old Tam, running off to marry her musician boyfriend is the ideal escape from her claustrophobic high-school life on the island, and the ultimate rebellion against her father and stepmother. But when Tam becomes a widow just weeks later, the shell-shocked teen is forced to find her way forward by going back to the life she thought she’d moved beyond—even as her struggle to deal with her grief is forcing her to reinvent herself and reach out to others in ways she never imagined.
I’ll admit, there were parts of this book that were hard to read — as a wife, sitting in bed while my husband snored next to me, it was painful to imagine Tamsen’s loss. The differences in age and circumstance didn’t matter; once you’ve tied your life to someone’s through marriage, it changes you. So perhaps some teen readers will feel a bit of distance from Tamsen’s circumstance — but as an adult reader, I felt for her. I ached for her.
And then for Tamsen to be forced back into her old life on top of experiencing this tragedy. She has gone from being a wife and putting together a home and a life with her partner … to be a teenager living at home with doting parents, younger siblings, and homework. Nevermind this is where she should be at this stage in her life — it’s a startling turn of events when you thought you’d already moved on from that stage.
Coutts deftly tackles the layers of Tamsen’s grief in a way that is both meaningful and realistic. The reader goes with Tamsen on this terrible journey, and follows her through her darkest days into a place of understand and discovering the “silver lining” to every tragedy. We witness a beautiful growth in Tamsen as a character, and see her become the woman she is meant to be; the woman she needs to be. And it’s just a lovely transformation.
Young Widows Club is in stores November 10th.