Monday, June 20, 2011
I did not have a particularly happy childhood. I was sickly in high school. I was too serious in college. My first real dose of sustainable happiness came when I discovered the Savior. My second came when I married. He was mine, all mine, forever!! And how dear he was. I wore a sappy smile that first year we were married, before the baby came. But the baby… oh, there was nothing like the joy she brought. I still have days where I joyfully cackle like a haggard old witch because of the sheer ecstasy of motherhood. To toss a child in the air, spin with them in your arms, rub your cheek against theirs, watch them grow into adulthood. There is truly nothing like it.
In “The Last Waltz” Amalia Faulhaber has a growing heart. The reader follows the delightful and painful growth of her capacity to love, until, as a mature woman, she governs her choices with her wizened loving heart.
Amalia’s strongest love is a love born of choice. When she chooses to marry a man she respects, she backs up the choice with loyalty and dedication. This love defines her. This love creates her. This love is her strength. And though she is enticed repeatedly to abandon this love, she does not. When presented with the chemistry of her youth once more, the feeble flicker of it cannot hold temptation compared to her love of choice, and the life she has built around it. Now she has practiced duty. She has mastered commitment. Chemistry for her chosen love grows of its own accord, stronger because of dedication.
After setting the book down I felt to infuse my love with duty, loyalty, and dedication. Amalia’s struggles to become what she knows she must be, her own ideal, take the reader on a rare journey of growth and introspection about how a woman should handle love and how choosing it can cement the surest happiness into a growing heart.