The Widower by Liesel Litzenburger
A Novel

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What if every life is connected to every other by a single thread?

Under an apple tree, in a small town on the edge of a great lake, something is beginning.

In a house on a hill above an orchard, a broken man stares out his window but doesn’t see the swaying branches or the summer sun. He sees only his wife’s face and feels again the dreadful sense of falling.

Walking between the trees, a recently freed prisoner is learning how to live in the world again when he makes a discovery that will change many lives forever.

Memories haunt Swanton Robey. The horrific accident that killed his young wife has taken all but his life, leaving him a prisoner of his injuries and his heart’s great loss. Floating through his days with dreams of the past and visions of what might have been, Swan watches the world through his high window but never ventures into it, gazing out over the apple orchard he owns but has abandoned, and beyond it, to the great and mysterious lake.

Joseph Geewa has been a prisoner too, for a crime triggered by grief, ordained by fate. Now free after twenty years, he is trying to build a life among the living—an existence of simple beauty, of choices created through the kindness of others. Grace, his niece, is guiding him back to the world, even as she is drawn to Swan’s tragic isolation. Then, an astonishing discovery in Swan’s orchard suddenly forces the two men together and propels them on a journey of rescue and revelation that in turn might set them both free.

In The Widower, lives entwine in the most unexpected ways, bound together by accidents and twists of fate that can forever hold us one to another. Narrated in episodes that seamlessly join the past and present, this is a story about how individual histories influence present lives, about the value of compassion and the power of forgiveness. Weaving threads of love and mystery through every page, Liesel Litzenburger’s spare and lyrical novel follows the lives of unforgettable characters in a profound story of loss and redemption.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Liesel Litzenburger

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Liesel Litzenburger’s stories and essays have appeared in magazines, journals, and anthologies. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has written for the Detroit Free Press and the Chicago Tribune. She has taught writing at several colleges and universities, including the University of Michigan, New College, and the Interlochen Arts Academy, and is the recipient of awards and residences from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. She lives in Michigan.
Published August 15, 2006 by Crown. 288 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Widower

Kirkus Reviews

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A portentous, high-flown voice creeps in from time to time, as at the end of the first chapter, which concludes, “His wife has been dead for exactly six months.

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The New York Times

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The discovery of a baby in Swanton’s apple orchard finally pries him out of bed, six months after the car accident, and sends him driving off with the field hand who found the infant — an ex-con, Joseph Geewa, who claims to know the mother and has the annoying habit of punctuating sentences with ...

Sep 10 2006 | Read Full Review of The Widower: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Feisty Grace Blackwater tends to two damaged men: her uncle, Joseph Geewa, recently freed from a 20-year stint in prison (for a crime of passion), and Swan Robey, home again after being badly injured in a New Year's Eve car accident that killed his wife.

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