Susan Freeman’s memoir covers her growth, reinvention, and romance with second husband, Leslie Freeman. Told through letters sent between them, the book spans 1973 to 2011. The geography is equally expansive, taking readers on the couple’s travels from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia and back again. The couple’s deepening romance is palpable. When Leslie dies, the author, bereft, seeks counsel from a psychic channeler, and the romance continues through messages from the great beyond.
To tell the full story, the author claims to write letters to Leslie’s granddaughter, however, in the prologue acknowledges, “These letters do not exist outside of this memoir … ” The apocryphal device works in general, although the granddaughter remains undeveloped. In addition, while the lovers’ real correspondence is balanced, the fictional exchange between author and granddaughter feels lopsided: the younger sends a total of 11 letters, while the elder swamps the other with approximately 35 direct letters, plus scads of other items.
This book is about brainy, well-educated people who adore new cultures, yet aren’t social snobs. The letters are smart. The tale is mostly easy to follow. Towards the end, though, when Leslie is being channeled, the plot becomes muddled with his repetitious, reassuring messages (“…That’s because we are together, as we have been in eternity and through eternal truth.”) and her ardent grief over his loss (“Oh Leslie, what gifts you have given to me! “). Readers should also be aware that the book describes Leslie’s methodical suicide to escape “the final ravages of lung cancer” with a level of detail that might shock some.
Readers who enjoy travel adventures will find much of this book satisfying. Those who lean toward “love conquers all” stories and autobiographies about personal growth will find most of it satisfying. Someone in search of a compelling “life after death” tale, however, will find the book lacking, since the part addressing that subject, the final chapter, is more pap than predictive.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.