All Waiting Is Long

Written by Barbara J. Taylor
Review by Kristina Blank Makansi

Sisters. Good relationships or bad, they are fraught with rivalry, jealously, and loyalty. Such it is with Violet and Lily Morgan. After Lily becomes pregnant, Violet goes with her to the Good Shepherd Infant Asylum, where Lily will spend the rest of her confinement, have the baby, and give it up for adoption. In accompanying her little sister, Violet is putting her relationship with Stanley Adamski at risk. But in making a fateful decision after the baby is born, she risks more than a staid, comfortable future with Stanley; she risks the reputation and social standing of both sisters. Punctuated by third-person commentary from a member of the local Bible class, the social cost of Violet’s decision and all that comes after is dissected, examined, and judged in a way that further reveals the complex web of small-town life.

A good selection for book clubs, All Waiting Is Long is set in Pennsylvania coal country in the 1930s, a time of tumultuous change and social unrest, including the rise of the eugenics movement. Barbara Taylor’s characters—a cast of nuns and prostitutes, mobsters and miners, social activists and church busybodies—reflect the varying pressures and expectations of small-town life with rich, insightful prose and dialogue that rings true to each character’s voice. Will the web of lies the two sisters weave around themselves survive? You’ll have to read it yourself to find out. Recommended.