Iris and Theo are in their golden years. We were introduced to their parents in Evergreen and follow up with them in this conclusion to the family saga, Heartwood. This is Belva Plain’s last novel as she died in October 2010.
Iris Stearn and her daughter Laura are the central characters with Laura capturing most of the story. Laura was the perfect daughter. Marrying and having a baby at a very young age to keep her love, Robbie, out of the Vietnam war, didn’t seem to tarnish Iris and Theo’s image of her. A decade later Robbie is struggling with obtaining his Ph.D. and his self-image, while Laura is proving to be a successful baker and mother.
After Robbie loses his academic job and the possibility of a Ph.D. disintegrates, Laura’s career blossoms as she begins a highly successful catering business and authors bestselling home and garden books. Her values are brought under scrutiny by her mother as she falls for an attractive and creative photographer. Laura is torn by the decision to stay with her husband whom she no longer respects and preserve her marriage for the sake of her daughter and her parent’s opinion, or follow her heart and leave her past behind for her new love.
Belva Plain has always written novels that capture the pain and joy of relationships and this concluding one is no exception.