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Two years after the death of her beloved husband, Torre, fifty-six-year-old Gardenia Pitkin is adjusting to life as a widow. She’s lonely and struggling financially, but she counts her blessings—her son, Hans, and grandson, Milo; her good friend Sylvie; and a new job as an administrative assistant in the English department of the University of the Northwest in Seattle. And her eccentric boss, the Chaucer specialist Arnold Wiggens, proves to be as besotted with his dachshund as Gardenia is with hers.
But enter stage right Lex Ohashi, who seems determined to court Gardenia, and Dr. Laurel DuBarr, a new adjunct English professor, who quickly becomes Arnold’s romantic infatuation. Meanwhile, Gardenia suspects that her daughter-in-law, Caitlin Curlew, is carrying on with another man. Should she tell her son? Does she want a new relationship with Lex? And what about her blossoming friendship with the quirky but endearing Arnold Wiggens?
With nods to the wry comedic sensibility of Barbara Pym and her respect for the role of “trivialities” in human life,
In cheerful, lively prose that pays homage to the novels of Barbara Pym,
BETSY HANSON is the co-translator and editor, with Yukiko Tanaka, of
In March 2018, Ms. Hanson presented a short story, one of the top three entries in a contest sponsored by the North American Barbara Pym Society, at the group’s conference at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ms. Hanson has two grown sons and shares a 320-square-foot tiny house with her husband and two cats in Northeast Seattle.