All Waiting is Long
by Barbara J. Taylor

Akashic, 2016. ISBN 978-1-617-75443-2.
Reviewed by Ann McCauley
Posted on 04/28/2016

Fiction: Historical

Barbara J. Taylor has created another suspenseful page turner in All Waiting is Long. We first met the Morgan sisters two years ago in her debut novel, Sing in the Morning, Cry at Night. In this novel she tells us their captivating story twenty years later in the 1930s.

The story begins as 25-year-old Violet and her pregnant sister, 16-year-old Lily, leave Scranton, PA. They are moving to Philadelphia to live at the Good Shepherd Infant Asylum until after the birth of Lily's baby. The baby has to be delivered in secrecy to protect Lily's virtue and her prospects for a good marriage. During their months at Good Shepherd, Violet serves as caregiver to the nursery and watches the babies leave one after the other with their adoptive parents.

Violet is anxious to go home and marry her childhood sweetheart, Stanley Adamski, who is finishing his last term of law school in Philadelphia. Even though they are in the same city at the same time, they might as well be on different continents. But Violet develops a warm relationship with Mother Mary Joseph who runs the Good Shepherd, and keeps a close eye on the nursery and pregnant mothers in waiting. However, she does not like or trust Dr. Peters, who delivers the babies at the asylum. She and Mother Mary are not aware of his deep interest in eugenics or his experimental sterilization on the pregnant girls immediately following the deliveries of their babies.

Lily developed a close friendship with another pregnant girl, Muriel. Their friendship is abruptly cut short when Muriel delivers a premature deformed baby who does not survive. Muriel suddenly disappears. After Lily delivers her baby and rests a week, Violet and Lily return to Scranton. But life does not go as planned.

Thus begins the deception, which reveals shocking details of enlightened thinking in the 1930s. But it is Taylor's finely honed characters that hold the reader's attention. Taylor creates a depth rarely seen into the relationship of sisters, neighbors and childhood friendships. These characters thread their way through unexpected plot twists to make All Waiting is Long another unforgettable novel.

Barbara J. Taylor has lived in Scranton all her life, she has taught High School English for many years. In addition to earning her M.F.A. in Creative Writing form Wilkes University this year, she has completed the sequel to her first novel. Her writing reflects her detailed research and keen observation skills as she develops unforgettable characters. This gifted writer makes history come alive. Visit her website.

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