Edie Sweet’s disposition is identical to her last name. She is sweet and lovable, the type of woman who never meets a stranger. She’s sweet in spite of losing her husband, Gil, to the Vietnam War. But maybe she’s a little too sweet and lovable, because she doesn’t make the best choices when it comes to men. This is clearly evident in her affair with Gil’s brother, Walker: a married man. The town of Conwell is too small and interconnected for extramarital affairs. Edie’s and Walker’s is an affair of astronomic proportions; the kind that can cause grief for generations to come. Will Edie survive it? What role will a scarred stranger play in her survival?
I loved the way Joan built Edie. She was sweet but flawed. Aren’t we all? And Walker? I pitied the boy because he had it bad. In love with his brother’s woman but stuck in an unhappy marriage where he can’t express that love openly. Joan also paints for us the struggle Walker has with his parents. They clearly loved Gil more. Why do parents do that? Why pick favorites? Don’t they know that favoritism can have detrimental effects for years and years. That the affected child can grow into an adult and still deal with it? Take it out on their children. Even on their spouse?
I loved the dynamic between the Sweets, St. Claires, Crockers, etc. How the Sweets were looked down on in Conwell because patriarch, Benny, worked the town dump. You see this kind of thing in small towns, small communities, and unfortunately in churches. I can’t stand it, though. No one should be ostracized because of their lineage. No child should be picked on at school because someone feels that their family is beneath others. I could get on a soapbox about this issue but I don’t want to belabor the time or space for this review.
I enjoyed this novel and would love to see what’s next for Edie. Hopefully Joan Livingston will follow up on the good folks of Conwell in a subsequent novel. I’m sure it would be just as sweet a read as THE SWEET SPOT.