Several weeks ago in a Simple Woman's Daybook post, I mentioned reading Vinegar Hill by A. Manette Ansay. The first section of the book was very familiar, and I realized I had previously started the book and not finished it.
Yesterday as I left for my shift at the hospital, I grabbed the book. Knitting was out of the question because my hands ached from my rug-making marathon. Settled behind the desk with the sun streaming in the lobby and the -10 degree air rushing in the doors every time someone entered, I began reading again.
This book fills the reader with a mixture of emotions: anger, sympathy, pity, sorrow, unbelief, hopelessness. Ellen, the main character, is trapped in a loveless marriage, and financial circumstances force Ellen, her husband and their two children to live with her bitter in-laws. Her husband ultimately find a job as a traveling salesman and is absent, even when he is home. Ellen teaches full time, but also must assume the role of caregiver for the aging in-laws in exchange for the roof over her family's head. She endures verbal abuse from the in-laws and denial from her husband, and silently slips into depression. Ellen feels trapped in her circumstances and her marriage. At times I felt like giving Ellen a hug of reassurance; other times, to shake some sense into her.
I wanted to finish this book: I wanted a happy ending for Ellen. I wouldn't exactly call the ending of this book happy, but the author gives a ray of hope. I can live with that.