Clock Dance by Anne Tyler
Several turning points in Willa’s life are described, from age 11 to 61, with the largest part set in the present. Willa, to her husband Peter’s dismay, agrees to fly from Tucson to Baltimore when her son’s ex-girlfriend Denise is injured and a neighbor is looking for someone to take care of Cheryl, Denise’s daughter. Willa has always been agreeable and responsible. At age 11 she coped with her mother’s sudden absence, next staying quiet on a scary plane ride with her college boyfriend, then reacting to being abruptly widowed. Willa remarries and doesn’t realize her grown sons dislike Peter, who is rather critical and calls Willa “Little One”. In a small house in Baltimore, Willa gradually spreads her wings, feeling welcome in the quirky neighborhood, and adored by 9-year-old Cheryl, who likes to bake, and her dog Airplane. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging, bittersweet yet hopeful novel of renewal.