Title: Willing Spirits
Author: Phyllis Schieber
Release Date: March 3, 2009
Publisher: Berkeley Trade
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
Both teachers in their forties, Jane Hoffman and Gwen Baker have a friendship that has helped them endure. It was Jane who looked after Gwen when her husband left her with two young sons to raise. And when Jane comes home one day unexpectedly and finds her husband in a shameless act of betrayal, she turns to Gwen for support.
Now, tested by additional personal crises, Jane and Gwen face new challenges—as mothers, as daughters, as women. And in the process, they will learn unexpected truths about their friendship—and themselves.
When I was contacted by Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours about participating in a tour for Willing Spirits, I immediately jumped at the chance. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a solid women’s fiction novel, and between the book cover and description, I was sure I was in for a treat. I’m glad to say I was definitely right!
More than anything else, Willing Spirits is a novel of relationships, between friends, between lovers, and between parents and children. Schieber explores each of these areas very well, making sure they all have a chance to develop over the course of the novel.
I loved the portrayal of friendship between women in Willing Spirits. Having a really close friend who has known you for a very long time, is a wonderful thing. I know because I’m lucky enough to have a friend like that. Too often in books, friendship between women is portrayed as catty and completely unfulfilling. I thought the relationship between Jane and Gwen was beautifully done. They were there for each other and very supportive, but they also were honest with one another. I loved how they didn’t judge each other’s decisions; even when Jane was skeptical of Gwen’s relationship of Daniel, she was very supportive. This isn’t to say that Jane completely lied and pretended she was okay with it, but once her reservations were expressed, Gwen saw nothing but support. I really enjoyed this tribute to women’s friendships.
Schieber often has her characters reflect on their pasts, which can sometimes be frustrating if you are waiting for the novel’s plot to advance. However, each of these past experiences fills in a missing piece of Gwen and Jane. This book really is about getting to know each of them.
I really enjoyed Willing Spirits and would love to read Schieber’s other books. Her writing on women’s friendships is so moving and beautiful. After reading Willing Spirits, it’s easy to come away with the impression that it is relationships with your girl friends that can give the most emotional satisfaction. It’s a great read and I definitely recommend it!
A big thank you to MaAnna at Promo 101 Virtual Blog Tours for sending me this book to review! Also, the author is running a giveaway for all of the posts on the blog tour – leave a comment on this post to be entered to win a copy of either A Sinner’s Guide to Confession or Willing Spirits! If you leave a very thoughtful comment, it’s possible that Ms. Schieber might just be moved enough to give you a copy of the book straight out!