This Side of Heaven
Harlequin Everlasting, Jan 2008, $5.25
They met at her brother’s wake and knew they had nothing in common. He was a Badger farm boy; she was eastern hippie; he went to Nam; she protested against Nam. Still Dr. Spencer Anderson and attorney Zoe Wingfield became friends and lovers. They married and raised three children.
They overcame their difference to forge a strong bond of love even after almost four decades together. When she had cancer he was with her all the way as she defeated the disease. However, the disease has returned much worse than her first battle and she is much older and not sure she wants to enter the ring again. Spencer knows what he wants of his soulmate; that she fights the good fight on the prayer they have many more good years together.
THIS SIDE OF HEAVEN is a poignant family drama as Spencer and their adult children want Zoe to battle the disease, but her spirit is not there. Interestingly in spite of the trauma and the first person perspective that provides some inner fears of the lead couple, neither Spencer nor Zoe come across as fully developed beyond both feeling like cancer victims as the disease controls the plot. Still Anna Schmidt reminds her audience how much cancer impacts an extended family not just the person with the illness.