As A Light in the Window opens, Sarah Banks Keller is returning home to Savannah, Georgia, after a four-year absence. She swore never to return, but her father now lies on his deathbed, his sister caring for him as she did Sarah and her two sisters years before.
As the story looks back to the reason for Sarah's split with her family, the reader is treated to the dynamics of a family with a strict father trying to raise three young girls after the death of his beloved wife of cancer. The girls come of age during a time of racial strife and the Viet Nam War; confusion is the word of the day.
Sarah's father attempts to set her up with a friend's son, but the match goes horribly wrong. The end result is something that Sarah will live with forever, something she must now come to face. Shortly after that incident, Sarah meets her husband-to-be and falls head over heels in love, not realizing that her boyfriend is a Jew from New York City - a fact that evokes the wrath of her racist father.
Her fiance is a Navy man. He goes off to war while Sarah leaves for college in New York, where peace, love and pot are signs of the times. When her fiance returns, Sarah can at last marry the man she has so desperately awaited. When she comes home to be with her dying father, Sarah has the time to put the events of her painful past into perspective - and to come to terms with the father she both loves and hates and the sisters she has turned her back on.
I was in my early teens when the Viet Nam War took place and remember when there was only one color skin
in our schools. Author J. Elizabeth Harris effectively captures the feeling of the
South then and the way things are now. I would be happy to read another of her works.