Author:Barbara J. Taylor

Publisher: Akashic Books

Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-61775-471-5

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-61775-443-2

Library of Congress Control Number: 2015954207

Certainly the wait between conception and delivery must be one of the longest in the life of a pregnant woman. When the Morgan sisters arrive at a Catholic refuge for unwed mothers for the purpose of delivering and farming out the baby of the younger sister, they are faced with a plentiful supply of nuns, mothers and newborns, the travails of whom occupy a good portion of the first part of Barbara J. Taylor’s novel, All Waiting Is Long. Indeed, were it not for the author’s extraordinary descriptive abilities, crowned with a truly harrowing account of a quasi stillbirth, the reader might reasonably wonder when the plot pot is going to start boiling.

When the sisters return to their hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania with a newborn in tow, those concerns are swiftly dealt with. The mix of lovers, friends, and relatives that awaits them there may not be as magnificent as the Ambersons, but they are close. In this richly populated community, old ties are either torn or tightened, and the characters left behind when the sisters went off are nicely fleshed out.

The theme of the awakening of natural maternal instincts is a potent one and can always be counted upon to cause no end of trouble to those that have settled in to the deception of false or assumed motherhood. Mary Astor threatened to destroy the family bliss of Bette Davis and George Brent in The Great Lie, and Halle Berry did the same with Jessica Lange in Losing Isaiah. And while we’re drawing film parallels, let’s not forget Charles Cobern’s deranged surgeon in Kings Row, Nicolas Cage’s manual deformity in Moonstruck, and the struggles between owners and workers in Valley of Decision. The moral contrast between the two sisters is certainly not as dramatic as that between Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland in In This Our Life, between Donna Reed and Lana Turner in Green Dolphin Street, or between Bette Davis and Bette Davis in A Stolen Life, but again the telling of Ms. Taylor’s tale does bring these classics to mind, actually with great affection.

None of this should in any way diminish the literary merit of All Waiting Is Long. Ms. Taylor writes with total mastery of her craft. Her similes and metaphors are born of a highly developed abstractive sensitivity, and her dialogues are unerringly true to their respective speakers.