The Moments Between Dreams

Judith F.

Carol falls for Joe Wozniak hard, believing in the power of love, blind to the subtle symptoms of his controlling nature. After all, that’s how it was for women in the 1940s. A wife was expected to respect the unwritten societal rules, surrendering her will entirely to her husband. Add to that a world war—but these are not the only worries for Carol. When their daughter contracts polio and ends up paralyzed, she discovers just how alone she really is—whether Joe is home on leave or not. Dedicated to her children, focused on empowering her daughter and protecting her son despite her own powerlessness, Carol carries on until Joe steps over the line.

An incredibly strong woman surviving the most horrifying situation, Carol exemplifies the epitome of bravery. Seeds of Joe’s abusive nature are planted on the first page… “I had acquiesced my independence to Joe at nineteen.” But it is, in fact, the rapid-fire pace of this first chapter that risks overwhelming the reader, where a new house, Ellie’s polio diagnosis, a flashback to her and Joe’s first meeting, Joe’s initial incidence of abuse, then his getting drafted—all occur in one chapter. Everything happens so fast, it’s difficult to feel the emotions, or to truly experience the development of the characters. The story does then move on to a more leisurely pace and is effective at drawing us forward. Well-researched, this historical is timely, reflective of the present-day fears of a pandemic, and shines a spotlight on domestic abuse—another hot topic in today’s world. Overall, an enjoyable tale!

FS Brown