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A Watershed Year: A Novel Paperback – March 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: GuidepostsBooks (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0824948564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0824948566
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (309 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lucy McVie is a thirtysomething college professor mourning the loss of her best friend, Harlan. Two months after his funeral, she receives the first of several e-mails from him, arranged to be sent after his death. It is through these messages that Lucy truly learns of Harlan's deep love for her and her importance in his life. With his encouragement from beyond, she decides to pursue her dream of motherhood. Lucy finds Yulia, who runs an agency that arranges adoptions from Russia. Yulia knows of four-year-old Azamat, nicknamed Mat, who has been abandoned by his father and needs a home. As Lucy navigates the political and economic intricacies of foreign adoption, she becomes increasingly obsessed with the need to care for Mat. Lucy struggles to raise Mat while dealing with heartbreaking grief, and when Mat's father returns to claim him, she must find the strength to save her family. Her story is one of loss and healing, what it means to be a mother, and the importance of moving forward. —Carol Gladstein

Review

"A well-told tale of life and death and the way, when we least expect it, love can encompass us roundabout...This is a brave and moving novel." —Bret Lott, bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club Selection Jewel

"Susan Schoenberger takes us to the softer places of the heart where love in all its forms and glory transforms grief into grace." —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Driftwood Summer

"With subtle humor and grace, A Watershed Year draws out the ways in which our closest relationships can be imperfect and yet continue to transform us." —Juliette Fay, bestselling author of Shelter Me

"Thoughtful and uplifting reading of the power of a mother and family, A Watershed Year is an excellent pick." —Midwest Book Review


More About the Author

Susan Schoenberger, of West Hartford, CT, is a writer, editor and copy editor with a long history of working for news organizations, including The Baltimore Sun, The Hartford Courant, and Patch.com. She is now Director of Communications for Hartford Seminary. "A Watershed Year," her debut novel, won the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition in 2006 under the title "Intercession." Susan's short stories have been published in Inkwell, Village Rambler and on www.BartlebySnopes.com. Susan's second novel, "The Virtues of Oxygen," will be published by Lake Union Publishing in July 2014. For more information, please visit www.susanschoenberger.com.

Customer Reviews

This was such a beautiful, well told story.
mamachrista
This was a very good read, I couldn't put it down once I startedI will definitely be reading more of her books!
Cindy Piddock
A Good solid story with great characters and a very interesting way of keeping Harlan around.
Suzanne C. Rainey

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I began reading this novel, I was immediately pulled into the story about Lucy and her best friend Harlan, not just by the moving story of Harlan's battle with cancer and Lucy's pending adoption of a 4 year old Russian orphan, but more so by the wonderful prose. I usually read the first chapter of any new Kindle fiction release. Very few grab me like this one did. Halfway through the story I sent a message to the author telling her that her work reminded me somewhat of Anne Tyler, particularly AN ACCIDENTAL TOURIST. But it also reminds me of great nineteenth century novels, when writing seemed to be more alive and beautiful, more caringly crafted. This book won a 5 star rating from Midwest Book Review. Susan Schoenberger also won the gold medal in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for this book. In reading A WATERSHED YEAR, I am left with much more confidence and enthusiasm than I had before about the future of Amercian Literature. I eagerly look forward to her next work.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Annie B VINE VOICE on June 4, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A Watershed Year is one of the most poignant books I've ever read. Lucy is such a wonderful character and this story of how she finds herself is simply beautifully told.

And that is one of the greatest parts of the book--it doesn't feel like just words on a page, but like someone is brilliantly telling you a story, staight from their heart. Lucy has spent most of her life thinking, not acting. Her watershed year changes all of that. She decides to act and without a lot, or sometimes enough, thought. She just plunges, so it really doesn't come as surprse that it almost ends in destruction. It could have, and probably realistically would have, but Lucy finds strength she didn't know she has and confronts everything head-on.

This book could've turned into sentimental, melodramatic mush, but it didn't. Lucy is ultimately just too realistic for that to happen. Even her preoccupation with saints feels real and true. I'll admit that the happy ending is probably off the charts for realism, but I believe that Lucy's at-heart optimism and faith are what makes it fit and feel real for THIS story. Lucy is someone I would love to know and have in my corner, cheering me on in real life.

To balance this out, the adoption and Lucy's being completely unprepared for it emotionally are extremely realistic. So many people go into adoption without thinking of how complicated it can be--and how love doesn't spring up automatically for the children involved. Lucy has a lot to come to terms with when the ideal of having a child becomes a reality. Though it takes her some time to get her bearings, she turns this challenge into victory, for both herself and her new son.

I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good high-drama novel.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Smith on March 19, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've never been one to seek out specific details in a story line prior to my reading the book myself, so I will not reveal too much in this review. I will say that I truly enjoyed this novel. It was so well written, you will not be able to put it down once you begin reading. Susan Schoenberger has a true gift in writing and has an incredible ability to pull the reader into her world of words. We can all identify with the main character Lucy and her journey to find her true self, all the while discovering and losing loves along the way. A true gem!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kate O'Connor on May 31, 2011
Format: Paperback
Though I finished Susan Schoenberger's novel more than a week ago, the vivid characters that were featured in "A Watershed Year" remain in my mind. Their individual complexity, and the interplay between them, coupled with their interesting experiences is very memorable. As a busy working mom, it's hard for me to find time to read, but this book kept drawing me back in for more. Hard to believe this is a debut novel. I will certainly be recommending this to friends who love to read and looking for Schoenberger's next work. Highly recommended!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KABarry on May 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
Susan Shoenberger's first novel, "A Watershed Year", is a heartwarming, sole refreshing tale of the power of love, the strength of the spirit, and the unbelievable resolve that pushes us all to find that new path to take in the face of adversity. Lucy's character will strike a cord in every mom's heart. Truly a book you will find difficult to put down! I can not wait for her next one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Theresa S. Barger on March 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From the first page, "A Watershed Year" sucks you in and holds onto you. As the protagonist copes with an excruciating loss, her friends and family help her through. This quiet book reminds me of Anna Quindlen's "One True Thing" in its study of family and relationships and their power and importance, flaws and all. Susan Schoenberger writes with such grace, wit and authenticity that the characters and their struggles feel real. The author's insights into relationships are profound. While it's hard to put down, it's also hard to forget.

The story follows Lucy, a college professor, as she grieves a deep loss, through her decision to adopt a child. As she faces her grief, the story is both heart-wrenching and uplifting. You will need a box of tissues, but you'll cheer for Lucy's strength, courage and the sustaining love from her friends and family. Any parent or grandparent will recognize the bond that ties them to their child.

This beautifully written tale will seep into your heart and stay in your mind.
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