A Season For Living
A Season for Living opens with Charlotte Wellington sitting on her veranda, soaking in the beauty of fall in Atlanta and reflecting on her life. Her reflections start with her marriage to her husband, John, and the birth of their daughter, Caroline. A successful lawyer, John worked for his father, the founder of the Georgia Life Insurance Company. The company, and therefore the family, prospered, enabling the couple to travel and entertain clients in style. However, success came at a cost, and John struggled to live up to his father’s high standards and nearly-impossible-to-achieve expectations. He took his struggles home, and the family suffered.
After his death, Charlotte and Caroline had to find a way to live without him. The narrative shifts to follow Caroline’s story, from her intense freshman year at UVA, through her romance with Garrett Winthrop, and on to her time in law school at Emory. Known for her intelligence and oft-praised beauty, Caroline thrives as a lawyer until she chooses to stay home with her newborn son. Caroline uses her connections to Atlanta high society, her formidable skills as a lawyer, and the money inherited from her grandparents to create a foundation that helps victims of domestic abuse. Their initial familial difficulties forged Caroline and Charlotte into strong, capable, redoubtable women whose mission in life is to help others.
A Season for Living reads like a memoir, quietly telling the story of two women and their cherished hometown, Atlanta. Updegraff lovingly and meticulously details their clothing, meals, and furniture, as well as the places of note in Atlanta. Like life, the plot moves slowly, chronicling the everyday interactions of the protagonists. The characters were unbelievably sweet, forgiving major injustices casually and assuring one another of their love in every conversation. A Season for Living is a tribute to Atalanta and the ideal of the classy, well-educated Southern woman.
Susan Willis Updegraff