By Carolyn Clarke — Black Rose Writing, 2022
When we meet Allie Montgomery, she’s suffering a midlife crisis: her kids are older, her daughter may drop out of college, her husband is always working and she’s lost her passion for teaching. She’s signing up for a gym membership when she learns that her beloved father-in-law has died. George was her sounding board and confidante. He leaves behind his septuagenarian wife, Margaret, whom Allie finds self-absorbed, selfish, manipulative and controlling. When Margaret moves in “temporarily,” she criticizes everything Allie does, making it abundantly clear that, as far as she’s concerned, Allie is not good enough for her husband, Hank.
Margaret turns Allie’s life upside down: rearranges furniture, commandeers the kitchen and even secretly funds the college daughter’s bad decisions. At wit’s end, Allie has an encounter with Margaret that changes how they interact and Allie sees her path more clearly: she needs to let go of her anger toward Margaret and claim her dreams. Will Margaret support her or thwart her? While Margaret’s behavior is dreadful, and Allie doesn’t set boundaries, there are times when both women are relatable, for better or worse. A family tale that makes us laugh and think about our own relationships.