Sydney Webster’s husband has suddenly died, and she is completely bereft. To make matters worse, he had a secret gambling addiction that he managed to keep hidden from her; as a result, she is left with nothing. Homeless, penniless, and completely desperate, she flees to Florida and her best friend’s B&B to figure out what to do. But Sydney is in her fifties – how can she start all over again at this point in her life?
At first, she is immobile with grief and fear. Sydney’s daughter, Monica, blames her for not knowing about her father’s problem, and Sydney wonders how much guilt she should feel for being totally unaware of the situation. She realizes that eventually she must move on and begin living her life again, so she starts forming a plan. What she doesn’t expect is that she’ll find new friends, new things to smile about, and perhaps even a new love interest. Starting over may be the best thing that has happened to Sydney Webster.
Stories of women starting over, especially women in the primes of their lives, have become the new thing in women’s fiction. It’s wonderful to read about these women, who often go from weakness and utter despair to strong, confident women finding a new lease on life. Sydney is no exception – she is completely broken, dare I say pathetic, when Spinning Forward begins. She is living off her best friend’s charity yet has no motivation to figure out exactly how she’s going to support herself. Once she finally pulls herself out of her torpor, it’s great to see her forge ahead in order to open her knitting shop.
However, Spinning Forward also carries a burden of clichés. It’s almost too easy – everything is too convenient. Though Dulong’s characters do mention in the book that it seems like something straight from a movie, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s unrealistic and way too simple to be believable.
Dulong ties the many plot threads in Spinning Forward together very well. A lot is going on, but never so much that the reader is left overwhelmed or confused as to what’s happening. Dulong aptly keeps the reader entertained and interested in the narrative – there isn’t a single dull section to be found.
Spinning Forward is fun women’s fiction that fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy. Though it does contain many clichés (including a relationship that seems to have problems and go wrong for absolutely no reason except to inject drama into the plotline), it’s still an enjoyable read.