by Nancy Werking Poling
The teaching careers of lifelong friends Harriet (Hat) and Elise have come to an end in spectacular style, with the two women leaving more than burning bridges behind them. Now they are looking menopause straight in the eye–and they don’t care one bit for what they see. Fight, they vow, we’ll fight the interloper tooth and nail.
More than a tad bruised and battered from the struggle, Hat and Elise undertake a journey to Bryson’s Mill, Indiana, birthplace of Elise’s mother, Rose, who by any definition was inadequate to the simplest tasks of motherhood.
Stella May and Margaret, old friends of Rose, hold keys to a past very different from Elise’s memory. When Elise adamantly refuses to accept their conflicting reality, Hat is confronted with choices–and risks–about what friendship with Elise actually entails.
For both friends the journey to Bryson’s Mill becomes a pilgrimage of a different kind: into the past lives of women, into truth, into sisterhood, and most of all, into new possibility.
Out of the Pumpkin Shell is one of the most affirming, humorous, and engaging novels you’ll read this or any year.