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Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
Lillian is an educated woman in late 1929. She is expected to do wifely and motherly tasks while serving the demanding needs of her Jewish husband in a small Midwestern town. After three years of marriage and a young daughter, Lillian feels alone and unfulfilled. She decides to seek her husband's permission to try out for a local theater production of The Wizard of Oz. There, Lillian meets and is attracted to the play's director who feels that Lillian is a talented and beautiful woman. Lillian fantasizes about being fulfilled with this man and it is not long before she decides whether to act upon her impulses of attraction.
This is a book with many themes. There is a predominant theme of a modern woman attempting to deal with an archaic religion. There is a theme about a talented and motivated woman trapped within the confines of societal expectation. And, there is the time-tested theme of physical attraction and what, if anything, to do about it. All of these themes are interwoven in a fascinating and captivating story about an agonizing struggle towards personal fulfillment.
Author Caren Umbarger develops her characters with enough depth so that the reader finds himself/herself wanting to take sides. Depending upon which character the reader identifies with, there is no good or bad; there is simply what is. There is the question of what to do and how best to do it and there is the nagging question of how it will all turn out when action is finally initiated. All in all, this is a good read for women of any age wanting to attempt to understand how we got to where we are now.