Unremarried Widow

By the middle of Unremarried Widow, the wish is fervent: please let this be a novel; please let Artis Henderson's husband return from Iraq unharmed. But we know that is not her story.

Eager to be self-sufficient, Artis earned a business degree and was working in Florida when she met Miles, an army pilot from Texas. Her candid sharing of their romance, her decision to live on base as an army wife and their wedding before his deployment to Iraq reveals her frustration with military custom, but above all the depth of their love; the security she'd always sought, she found in Miles. A heartbreaking sidebar to their wedding story: a photo snapped that day was the one she sent to accompany his obituary. They had been married four months.

Miles died in an Apache helicopter crash, leaving Artis, in military parlance, a URW--unremarried widow. The army wives she'd never felt close to were now her support, along with a grief group and a military tragedy assistance program. Although she shared the tragic bond of early widowhood with her mother, she resisted turning to her, but slowly came to recognize the strength and patience her mother offered.

Spanning six years, the memoir includes Artis's eventual move into a successful writing career, but the image that lingers is of the war widow, the sorrow she so eloquently and generously expresses, and the realization that the war that claimed Miles continues. --Cheryl Krocker McKeon, bookseller, Book Passage, San Francisco

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