Georgia Silver-Waltz is a woman who still adores her husband, Ben Silver, after two children and many years of marriage. Georgia is thrown into a tailspin when Ben suffers a fatal heart attack while prepping for the New York City Marathon. A subsequent reading of Ben’s will leads to the grim discovery that he’s left Georgia and their daughters, Nicola and Luey,with little money and few prospects of supporting their lavish lifestyle – which includes a car and driver, a sumptuous apartment overlooking Central Park West, and a summer home on Long Island. More digging hints at secrets Georgia might not want to fully uncover, especially since she has all she can do to keep her family’s head above water.
The Widow Waltz employs clever word play its title as indeed Georgia is not only the Widow Waltz, but she is also left doing a precarious dance to balance her home life and sanity while adjusting to greatly reduced circumstances. Koslow’s novel is told not only from Georgia’s perspective but that of her timid though mercurial daughter Nicola, and her vivacious and prickly younger daughter, Luey. In addition to their father’s death both girls have some surprises of their own to add to the mix.
Koslow paints a vivid picture of a woman coming to grips with the life she is losing while challenging herself to explore a pared down but possibly more meaningful existence. Georgia manages to keep a keen sense of humor as she sorts through her situation and colorful supporting characters, her brother Stephan and her sometimes coherent and crotchety mother, keeps the novel from veering too sharply into gloom. Though Georgia has to move on, finding out what happened to the family money is an ongoing process and whether and how that mystery is resolved is fodder for plenty of consideration and discussion. Recommended.