WOMAN OF VALOR will be published by Scotia Road Books in September 2023.
After a devastating breakup with her college sweetheart John Hogan, budding journalist Sally Sterling dives into her work at Chicago Magazine to escape her sorrows. When her editor assigns a series of feature stories on local ethnic communities, starting with the Orthodox Jewish enclave of Skokie, Sally stumbles into a world she never knew she needed. Although her mother is Jewish, Sally was raised in a wealthy Christian suburb of Detroit as the daughter of one of Michigan’s prominent senators. Religion was the furthest thing from her mind.
But as the women welcome her into a world that feels more like home than anything she’s known, Sally is hooked. A year later, she meets Barry Lieberman on a blind date and falls fast. Over the next eight years, Barry and Sally build a happy life full of passion, partnership and parenthood. She even reconnects with her Jewish grandparents, who move to Chicago to be closer to her. While so much about her changes, Sally retains her passion for running along the shores of Lake Michigan.
And then, Sally’s life takes an unexpected turn. John Hogan finds her online. While Sally’s reconnected with friends from her past, this feels like crossing a line. Still, she’s curious about why John reached out. At the same time, Sally learns that her eldest son, Donny, has been physically abused at school. While Barry is equally angered, they have different ideas about what to do, putting them at odds for the first time in their marriage.
Lonely in the rift with her husband and exhausted from battling the community grapevine, Sally seeks distraction in John’s apologies. When she realizes her mistake, Sally tells John to leave – but he won’t. What happens next throws everything into a tailspin.
Will Sally lose the happiness she so carefully constructed? Or could this shakeup be just what she needs to finally define her life for herself?