Author: Ward R. Jones

ISBN: 9781453805084

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Norm Ornstein is a middle-aged bachelor who is a successful in-house attorney employed by a company that owns a considerable number of funeral parlors. Norm is a slave to his work and he has a secret- he is obsessively in love with is sister-in-law Bev, who likewise adores him. However, his love for Bev wanes and is eventually transferred to a woman whom he meets one afternoon while strolling in Manhattan.

At first glance, Norm believes the woman he spots is Bev and follows her to Lincoln Center, where she is attending her young daughter's ballet performance. It is here where he discovers his mistake, and the woman turns out to be Harriet Anderson, an English professor and Shakespearean scholar. From this chance encounter, the reader alternatively follows the lives of Norm and Harriet and their inextricably bound lives, inevitably leading to their ensuring courtship. We also get a glimpse of Norm's grueling work as a corporate attorney with all of the stress and challenges that emanates from a high-power job. And one of its consequences has been that he has been prevented from entering into any kind of long term relationship with a woman. As for Harriet, we learn she is a single mom who is fifteen years younger than Norm and of a different religion.

With its breezy readability, After Isaactown is written with a great deal of sensitivity and insight, particularly in its depiction of two lonely complex individuals that refuse to permit their discrepancies in age and their different religions get in the way of their falling in love. In addition, we get a good view at just how lonely life can be for an over-worked corporate attorney who is all work and no play.

All of this sounds like a great feel- good story, however, it would have been even more fulfilling and a better read, if Jones hadn't held back in his development of his two principal characters, Norm and Harriet. At times, I felt as if their relationship was one of convenience rather than true love. Moreover, their dialogue seemed to be stilted and lacking in passion. Perhaps this can be attributed to the fact that Jones has never written a novel before, as his previous writings have focused on short stories that have been published in various literary journals. Jones also has a tendency to wander astray with scenes and chapters that get in the way of the story's flow and do very little in moving it along. Nonetheless, Jones shows a great deal of promise and I look forward to reading more from him.

Ward R. Jones is a novelist and short story writer based in Houston, Texas, Prior to taking up his literary career, Jones spent close to 30 years as an attorney both in private and corporate practice.

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