REVIEW: WOMAN LAST SEEN IN HER THIRTIES, BY CAMILLE PAGAN

 

At fifty-three, Maggie Harris has a good marriage and two mostly happy children. Perpetually anxious, she’s also accumulated a list of semi-reasonable fears: falling air conditioners, the IRS, identity theft, skydiving, and airbag recalls. But never once did Maggie worry that her husband of nearly thirty years would leave her.

On the day Adam walks out the door, everything that makes Maggie secure goes with him. Only then does she realize that while she’s been busy caring for everyone else, she’s become invisible to the world—and to herself.

Maggie cautiously begins to rebuild her life with a trip to Rome, a new career, and even a rebound romance. But when a fresh crisis strikes and an uncertain future looms, she must decide: How much will she risk to remain the woman she’s just become?

My Thoughts: From the beginning of Woman Last Seen in Her Thirties, I felt connected to Maggie. Not because the events in her life were similar to mine. Her life was quite different from mine, but there was one common theme: that feeling of invisibility that somehow descends on a woman after a certain age. Especially if she has devoted her life to taking care of others. That feeling can be a common thread in the lives of wives and mothers.

To me, however, it seemed surprising that Maggie had not even thought of the possibility that her husband might leave her. The clues were there: his unavailability, the way he didn’t really listen, and how there was something missing. But with the passage of time, connections change, and it would be easy to chalk it all up to getting older.

What happens to a woman after an unexpected separation? Does she sink into a depression? Does she start drinking too much? Does she begin to probe into all of her life choices and connections? Maggie did all of those things…and then more. Slowly she begins to feel like herself again. Like the woman she hadn’t seen since her thirties.

But when something unexpected happens…will she continue on this course, or will she flail about, trying to decide if she needs to rethink her chosen path?

When I started this novel, I expected something light and predictable, but happily, there were many emotional issues to explore. By the end, I was deeply invested in what might happen for Maggie next. 5 stars.

***
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