cover image More Than Allies

More Than Allies

Sandra Jean Scofield. Permanent Press (NY), $24 (176pp) ISBN 978-1-877946-32-5

As she previously demonstrated in Beyond Deserving and Walking Dunes , Scofield offers trenchant but understated studies of human relationships that touch the heart as well as the intellect. Here two mothers, Dulce Quirarte and Maggie Jarrett, and their respective offspring, leave their smugly trendy Oregon town and set off for Texas, where each woman hopes to reestablish fruitful contact with her estranged husband. Brought together initially by chance and by their sons' friendship, the two women would seem to have little in common; Maggie came into the Jarrett family as a teenaged foster child and later married the Jarrett son; Dulce is a cleaning lady whose husband is on parole from prison. As they travel together, the women muse upon the forces that have prodded each one into venturing toward the terrible risk of love. Dulce's dreams--as rich and stylized as the paintings of Frida Kahlo--are scattered throughout the narrative. Eschewing a chronological order, the novel's chapters weave together the past and present, following a powerful emotional logic. Scofield's fluent, assured prose only rarely calls attention to itself. Like its heroines, this novel may at first appear to be quiet and unassuming; readers will find, however, that Scofield writes with a rare and moving combination of love, strength and humor. (Nov.)