I read “The Second Bride” by Katherine Swartz because I was tempted by the synopsis. This book was unique in that it traveled back and forth between the 1870’s and present day. In both cases, the heroine has married a man who has either lost his wife through death or divorce and has taken on the child from that first marriage. Both time periods show that problems develop no matter when or where you are, especially when you are trying to make a new marriage work.
Sarah Mills and her mute sister, Lucy, are left orphaned with nowhere to go after the death of their father. Sarah is offered a chance to marry a friend of her late father’s in return for a home for her and Lucy. Her step-daughter is not welcoming and does not help Sarah at all. When the step-daughter finds herself disgraced, Sarah finds a way to help her, although her marriage is one of abuse and deprivation.
In current day, Ellen Tyson finds herself in an uncomfortable time in her marriage. She and her husband Alex are asked to take in Alex’s daughter, Annabelle, a teenager with an attitude. Ellen has just had a room readied for her office, but now has to turn it over to the ungrateful girl. Alex and Ellen’s young daughter must also change her life and welcome a new sibling.
My take on the novel is that both of these women are bound to make the best of an unwelcome situation. Both try their best to make sure that the family continues on living a peaceful existence in the face of the upheaval. I found that both Sarah and Ellen had to come to terms with the situation and cope in the best way possible. However, in Sarah’s case, I could not accept her life situation at all. I was horrified by the way she had to live and the insensitivity of her husband. Ellen, on the other hand, was able to bring her family together and make a go of it. I read the parts about Sarah Mills with angst. This was not a relaxing read.
I received a Kindle copy from NetGalley.com for my honest review.