Small in number yet formidable in spirit, the Leave Him and Live Sisterhood adopts a recent widow, challenging everything she knows about life and loving.
Rowtina Washington is devastated when her adoring husband, Turtle, is killed in a tragic accident. When his ghost begins to appear to her, she delights in the opportunity to rekindle the passion they had. But then Turtle's visits stop abruptly. Confused and desperate for answers, Rowtina is convinced to join the feisty and irrepressible Leave Him and Live Sisterhood, a tiny band of women who vary in age, race, and life experience. Osceola McQueen conceived the group, as she says, to "grab a hold of your sister till she can see the road." Lucy Antiglione is a waitress-warrior fighting off a punch-happy husband, while Egyptia Nelson is happiest on her way to the altar. And then there is Nelda Battey, sharp tongued and irreverent, who lives by her own definition of what it means to be a woman.
This tender yet humorous page-turner shines a light on the faith, optimism, and romantic possibilities that inspire and sustain us all.
Ghost meets The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in an engaging second novel about a newly widowed African-American woman and her unusual support group. Manhattan hospital worker Rowtina Washington, 40, loses her husband, an easygoing UPS deliveryman nicknamed Turtle, when he has a stroke while driving and plows into a storefront. Grief is compounded by stress of arranging the funeral and dealing with her domineering mother, Sylvia but Rowtina finds surprising comfort in a visit from Turtle's ghost. As she tries to come to grips with the incident, Rowtina turns to Nelda Battey, a hospital nurse who invites her to join the Leave Him and Live Sisterhood, a group that helps its members cope with their grief and refocus on their lives. Rowtina is initially skeptical, but after settling in with her fellow sisters, she leaves her Harlem apartment and becomes a Greenwich Village neighbor of the independent lesbian Nelda. Romance follows when Rowtina meets a sexy Mexican hairdresser named Picasso Alegria, whose come-on includes a makeover that begins to transform the conservative, slightly repressed Rowtina. Wright's (Sunday You Learn How to Box) lively, compassionate character writing gives the novel a strong core to buttress his quiet but well-wrought protagonist. But most of the plotting beyond the group interaction is boilerplate; Rowtina's romance with Picasso is storybook, and an attempt to energize the subplot with a romantic confrontation between Rowtina and Picasso's salon partner, Mercedes, turns melodramatic. Readers will root for the likable Rowtina, though, and relish her quirky friends motherly Osceola, spunky Nelda, uptight Egyptia as they help each other find their own happy endings.