by Susan Wiggs
When life hands me lemons, I go on a search for someone good at making lemonade or margaritas at a profit. This is why Susan Wiggs is my favorite author. She’s brilliant ~ she’s got a degree in math from Harvard. She’s funny, gorgeous, and sexy. She’s independent and super-successful in her personal life as well as her professional life. Like the heroines in her books, she’s resourceful, resilient, and generous. She’s better than Oprah at surrounding herself with terrific friends and colleagues. All her books are great escapes that teach me something important.
I’ve read dozens of books that told me I needed a safety plan, but not one told me how to get it done. I went to domestic violence shelters around the country in search of one. I came up empty. That’s why I created this site. My best ideas came straight out of Susan Wiggs’ books.
Enchanted Afternoon was my introduction to Susan Wiggs. I bought the book at Costco because it was tagged “Northwest Author.” I’m a firm believer in supporting local folks. I was intrigued because the story was about a woman like me, Helena Cabot Barnes, fleeing a powerful politician.
The story is set in upstate New York during the time of suffragettes. Helena and her circle of protection pooled their resources and created my dream: Moon Lake Lodge. I’ve long thought that women experiencing intense domestic violence would be better off going to a spa for a week than a domestic violence shelter for a month.
When our lives are upside down, we need to retreat to a place where we can chill out and decompress. Ideally, we’ll find empathetic people there who have survived similar circumstances and who can help us unscramble our brains and craft a cogent strategy.
Fireside, Ms. Wiggs’ current best-seller, is a story about a young career woman, Kimberly van Dorn, whose career and personal life implode in one dramatic episode of domestic violence. She flees Los Angeles wearing an evening gown for her mother’s winter lodge at Willow Lake in upstate New York. The characters in the story have a “yes, we can!” attitude as each successfully wrestles with current issues from the possibility of home foreclosure to immigration.
Just Breathe resonated with me on many levels. Sarah Moon, a cartoonist, experiences emotional and financial abuse. Her marriage mirrored my own right down to catching my husband John cheating on me in the suburbs of Chicago. She does what I longed to do at the time ~ she takes off in her husband’s beloved GTO which she trades for a convertible and heads for the Drake’s Bay area north of San Francisco. On her home turf, she cobbles back together the shattered pieces of her life.
In each book, the heroine faces very real, life-altering challenges. What to do? Where to go? Who will help? What resources can be leveraged? How to get out of this mess? It is easy to get overwhelmed, discouraged, and depressed.
Susan Wiggs’ books have helped me tremendously to navigate the uncharted waters of my life and to create a map for others to follow. And, many times she has provided me the escape that I needed to calm down, laugh, and remember the sun does indeed come up tomorrow. Well, maybe not. . .we’re in Seattle!
Fireside is currently on the New York Times best-seller list. Just Breathe is scheduled to be out in paperback on May 1. If you buy all three from Amazon, you’ll qualify for free shipping!