Alice Kessler is a broken woman after her young son is killed by a drunk driver. She pursues a case against him, but as it is his word against hers about the alcohol, he is acquitted. In her grief, she attempts to murder him, which sends her to jail for nine years. When she gets out and returns to her small hometown in Washington state, she is divorced, hasn’t seen her other son in years, and everyone in town has something against her—including the man she tried to kill, who is now the mayor. As she begins to piece her life back together, things start to fall apart for her son, Jeremy, who is falsely accused of rape. Can she move forward and help her son?
Colin McGinty, the grandson of a famous painter, also comes to the island in search of putting his life back together. After losing his wife on 9/11, he became an alcoholic and has lost almost everything else. He moves into his deceased grandfather’s house and discovers a painting of a beautiful “woman in red.” This woman happens to be Alice’s grandmother, and the two find they have this connection and more. Can they help each other get their lives on track?
Woman in Red is an intriguing story. The characters are extremely well drawn, and Goudge’s characterization makes this story shine. She moves back and forth between the present day with Alice and Colin’s stories
and the World War II era with their grandparents. The reader can feel Alice’s grief and almost sympathize with her for what she does.
Some parts of the plot verge a bit on the unbelievable and are just a little too convenient to feel like real-life drama. But the story mostly flows well and draws the reader into its twists and turns of fate. The themes of love, honor, and family resonate throughout the book. Overall, Woman in Red is a satisfying read that will please both new and old fans of Eileen Goudge.