By Belva Plain
Bantam, Mass Market Paperbound, 9780440246039, 378pp.
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
Few authors have understood the tender intricacies of relationships better than the incomparable Belva Plain. In "Heartwood, " her final novel, she comes full circle with the themes she took up in her very first work, "Evergreen, " bringing us an unforgettable story of family and friendship, love and marriage, the challenges of life and the true secret of happiness.
Though Iris Stern considers herself a modern woman, with a successful career and a happy marriage, she still holds steadfast to her old-fashioned sensibilities. However, she often finds those sensibilities challenged by her children and the choices they have made. For Iris's daughter, Laura, a fresh start in New York City may be the last chance to save her troubled marriage, but as Laura copes with an impending separation and its effect on Iris's young granddaughter, Iris herself must come to grips with a long-held family secret. An emotional parting of another kind looms most prominently on Iris's horizon as neither her beloved husband nor her marriage is immune to the ravages of time. But like the inmost rings of a tree that abide through the generations, Iris will be as strong as heartwood.
Before becoming a novelist, Belva Plain wrote short stories for many major magazines, but taking care of a husband and three children did not give her the time to concentrate on the novel she had always wanted to write. When she looked back and said she didn't have the time, she felt as though she had been making excuses. In retrospect, she said, "I didn't make the time." But, she reminded us, during the era that she was raising her family, women were supposed to concentrate only on their children. Today 30 million copies of her books are in print.
A Barnard College graduate who majored in history, Belva Plain enjoyed a wonderful marriage of more than 40 years to Irving Plain, an ophthalmologist. Widowed for more than 25 years, Ms. Plain continued to reside in New Jersey, where she and her husband had raised their family and which was still home to her nearby children and grandchildren until her death in October 2010."
“Vintage Plain, as she again affectingly celebrates a family’s resilience and love.”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“A fitting last tribute to a beloved writer who touched so many readers. Plain will be dearly missed, but her books will allow her memory to live on forever.”—Ventura County Star