The Saving by Kathryn Rountree
One cool spring evening, newlywed Sarah Williams steps into her garage to find her husband, Stuart, slumped over his steering wheel, dead. Wracked by grief and thrust into a new life as a twenty-four-year-old widow, she reaches out to her older sister, Wren, and her family to help support her through a tragedy she never imagined could happen to her.
Wren Williams and her husband, Jack, wage a fierce battle with infertility, only to be met with a seemingly never-ending stream of obstacles. Just when Wren decides she can’t take one more injection or endure one more hormonal roller coaster, she discovers she is pregnant. The loss of her baby, however, leaves Wren in both shock and denial, thus alienating her from both her husband and family. With nowhere left to turn, Wren directs her search toward the supernatural, hunting for answers about the baby she lost in the most unlikeliest of places.
Set in lush southern Louisiana, the Williams sisters are faced with the unspeakable, each mired in a conflict that threatens to swallow her whole. Filled with grief, drama, and a humor that only southern women can muster in the face of life’s most difficult punches, The Saving recalls other women’s contemporary fiction, such as Caroline Leavitt’s Pictures of You, Jodi Picoult’s The Pact, and Karen White’s The Beach Trees.
The Book Doctors: I just love how quickly you take us into a situation where the stakes simply could not be any higher. Boom! We’re right in the middle of life and death. And the stakes keep getting higher. These kinds of family sagas with women trying to come to grips with grief and fertility, motherhood and death, these are the very backbone of women’s fiction. And I love your comparable titles. We’re friends with Caroline Leavitt, and she’s such a wonderful writer, the great constructor of stories. I want to know more about what makes Sarah Williams tick. What was she trying to accomplish with her life before her husband dies? Is there a through line that defines who she is? She seems to not have any personality apart from her role as grief-stricken widow. I don’t get a sense of who she is, what she looks like, what kind of human being she is. Then all of a sudden, we switch to her sister’s story. I don’t understand how Sarah’s story blends in with the story of her sister. Quite jarring, because I’m emotionally involved in Sarah’s story, then all of a sudden she’s gone from the book. I am really confused by the sudden appearance of the supernatural. You need to give me more specifics about what kind of supernatural thing you’re going to present to me. How is your supernatural element different than the supernatural elements in the countless supernatural stories that we’re bombarded with every day in our culture? And instead of telling me that your story is set in lush southern Louisiana, you have to show that to me. Wow me with how beautifully you can portray this part of the world, which is filled with wonder and magic and danger. And you tell me that the sisters are faced with this conflict, but you don’t tell me how the stories are related to each other. You don’t show me a series of events that escalate to a seemingly tragic conclusion. I have a pet peeve; I hate when people tell me that their stuff is funny. You say that there is southern humor in your book, and yet I don’t see one single piece of evidence to support that. You can’t tell me you’re funny; you have to make me laugh. You shouldn’t have to tell me that it’s filled with grief and drama either. You have to display that and make me feel it.