This tender and moving story highlights the power of love and understanding within a family.
By Barbara J. Dzikowski ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 14, 2023
Leon Ziemny, a 44-year-old artist from New York City, visits a town that shares her name, Weeping Willow, Ohio. Here, he discovers that his childhood home in Langston, Indiana is on a list of buildings to be demolished. Unexpectedly, his middle-aged daughter Willow also arrives in town, just after someone else inquires about her. Leon’s first wife, Noël Trudeau, died giving birth to Willow in the town, which was then known as just Willow. The Ziemnys, Trudeaus, and Ketchfields have all experienced tragedy in the town, leading to the renaming of the town after the weeping willow trees Leon planted in memory of Noël.
Noël’s parents, Jack and Lily Trudeau, moved to Willow in 1953, shortly after the death of Black preacher Raymond Roberts in their former Louisiana town. In 2020, the families experience further tragedy with the unexpected arrival of the preacher’s elderly younger brother Booker, who is trying to solve his own family’s mysteries.
Time works differently in small towns, and Dzikowski’s prose reflects this. The preacher tells Lily in 1953, as read by Willow in 2020, that “This is a messy world. We live in an in-between place,” and all time seems to exist at once. Letters found in secret compartments, medical records stashed in basements, and a buried Bible bring the past’s mysteries to life and complicate the present. Dzikowski’s narrative moves with the unhurried consistency of a sidewalk stroll to the corner store, where, as Lily writes in a letter, “even the cracks on the sidewalk seem to sing.”
Pub Date: July 14, 2023
Page Count: 332
Publisher: Wiara Books
Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023