By Kay Langdale
: November 2006
the first chapter here.
saw Michael touch her face softly and reach down and kiss part
of her ankle that was not covered by the duvet. It was done with
such affection, with such pleasure in her substance, and when
she came into the kitchen, her dressing gown knotted and wearing
a pair of his socks, she looked like a woman who knew that she
was loved and desired, and I was glad for her, glad that my desiccated
papery bed would never be hers.’
stifled by the twin pressures of family and work, may just succumb
to temptation; Kate, a romantic at heart, is tormented by the
loss of love; Isobel, ever faithful to her husband, yet accepts
- perhaps implicitly encourages – infidelity; Martha, whose
glorious affair in her 50s is the defining moment of her life;
Sheila, in an unconventional marriage, resigned to chastity, yet
the most generous of spirit; and Judith, whose past demons need
to be laid to rest before she can live life truthfully.
compulsive and unusually moving novel of love and marriage: six
women, six different but interconnected relationships.
Langdale's debut novel is, in the simplest of terms, an account
of love and marriage. Avoiding entirely the clichés of romance
or “chick-lit” genres, however, Langdale's approach
in crafting Redemption is refreshingly, compellingly alternative.
Six women—wives, daughters, a grandmother still a virgin,
an unwed mother of sixteen, an aging mistress—inextricably
but unknowingly bound to one another, are compelled by coinciding
circumstances to determine and face the truths of their married
lives. Langdale winds her narrative between and within the lives
of Kate, Isobel, Martha, Sheila, and Judith. With each new perspective
comes a fuller understanding of characters at once varied and connected,
of experience unusual yet utterly believable, and an ultimate collected
realization of what it means for each woman to be, and to have,
a marriage partner.
Langdale's work derives its greatest strength from the confluence
of an elegant, adept use of language and a singularly insightful
evocation of the mature female psyche. Spread as it is between six
women, who stand united as much by their flawed and honest humanity
as by the workings of Langdale's plot, that insight lends the novel
a resonant validity. ..The work’s breadth of understanding
and accrued wisdom - resulting from an intent focus upon female
honesty - proves the strength of a sustained bond to redeem misuse
or abuse of marriage vows, and even transform that bond to the greater
empowerment of each woman's individuality.
Profile : Kay Langdale