The Widow’s Mite is bittersweet, heartwarming, and heartbreaking contemporary about bereavement, scam, and financial issues.
The Widow’s Mite (Widows #2) by Allie Cresswell
Publication Date : March 1, 2020
Read Date : April 9, 2023
Genre : Contemporary
Pages : 317
Previous book in series –
Disclaimer – Many thanks to the author for eARC.
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Minnie Price married late in life. Now she is widowed. And starving.
No one suspects this respectable church-goer can barely keep body and soul together. Why would they, while she resides in the magnificent home she shared with Peter?
Her friends and neighbours are oblivious to her plight and her adult step-children have their own reasons to make things worse rather than better. But she is thrown a lifeline when an associate of her late husband arrives with news of an investment about which her step-children know nothing.
Can she release the funds before she finds herself homeless and destitute?
Fans of ‘The Hoarder’s Widow’ will enjoy this sequel, but it reads equally well as a standalone.
heartwarming, and heartbreaking contemporary
The Widow’s Mite is a touching and emotive contemporary that revolves around one of Maisie’s friends, Minie, who was known to be obsessed with living economically and frugally in first book, The Hoarder’s Widow, but no one could figure out why which is revealed in this story. This is a painful and heartwrenching bereavement journey of Minnie that tested her patience and hope.
Writing is similar to the first book, descriptive and emotive with long paragraphs but I enjoyed reading this book as it focuses on characters and their emotions more. I expected this solely from Minnie’s POV but I was surprised to see Maisie’s POV as well. There is an alternative dual perspective and dual timeline.
Minnie’s POV is from a year before Starting with her husband’s death, how friendship with Gwen helped her with grief and loss, how she met other Gwen’s friends and also Maisie, how she handled her financial situation until the current timeline that is Maisie’s POV that continues Maisie’s story from the previous book. Both timelines merge near the end.
Those who haven’t read first book wouldn’t know anything about Maisie’s life and her character much. So I suggest this should be read in order.
In first book I couldn’t get why Minnie was so frugal, I wondered a lot if it’s her nature or something else but because of the end of the first book I could see there is story behind it which was interesting to read here.
It was easy to root for her even though I don’t like timid characters. She is kind, compassionate, selfless, and lovely person but she is indecisive, shy, anxious, and gullible person. She is too trusting seeing always good in people. She liked being dependent on something, her job before marriage and after marriage on Peter, so it was easy to see why she felt lost, bereft, and clueless after Peter’s death with no job and no friends and no money, and not even house. Her step-children got the house in the will and they don’t like Minnie. They want her to either buy the house from them or leave once she finds another place for herself.
I could understand her decision to be secretive about her financial situation. It was evident in so many ways, how much she loved Peter and at the same time, it made her desperate for money and finding ways to keep herself alive. She couldn’t leave the house as she had nowhere else to go and it wasn’t easy for her to run the big house as well. Nor it was easy to find a job in the area as that will make people know she is struggling financially and would ruin Peter’s name if people found out he left her pauper, making her, once a seamstress, do repair job with a very small income that could hardly keep her belly full.
It was tormenting to see her finding different ways to reduce the expenses – keeping the house cold except one room she made hers, canceling all the subscriptions, selling house items that didn’t belong to her step-children, getting almost expired food from the market, stealing sachets of sugar and tea from coffee shops, biscuits and toilet papers from church, coal from neighbour, soaps and shampoos from hotels, food from her friends and even a toothpaste… she did everything that will keep her from being homeless and kept her alive. It made me cry for her. Her grief, helplessness, shame and guilt she felt for taking things from people and places were heartwrenching.
It made me angry for her at men who were conning her in name of investment by her late husband that would provide for her. Yes, I can see why she fell for it. She was desperate and loved Peter so much that it was easy to believe he made some arrangements than thinking he left nothing for her. And because of her nature, she couldn’t even see all the red flags those men waved from the beginning and another mistake she made was not telling anyone about it as she actually believed there will be money at the end.
However, I loved how even in her despair she found bouts of happiness in helping people, how she felt for the homeless and poor more and could understand their situation as she herself was going through the same. It was amazing she had Dolly her dog as a companion that helped her a lot throughout the story and she had friends who really cared for her. I felt better when she finally could see deception of those thugs at last. I liked how she wanted to stop leading dual life and tried to make things right in the end.
I liked Gwen in first book for helping Maisie but I loved her even more as she kind of saved Minnie from doom and despair, she never stopped pushing her until she was ready to face the world and kept offering support and help more than often.
I could see why Minnie felt more connected to Maisie as they both were recently widowed, shielded from outside world, and new in the group. Maisie is as kind and compassionate as Minnie but she is no gullible and she sure could live an independent life. She was amazing in this book. She is a transformed woman. It was great to read how she told her children about her husband’s past, dealt with their conflicts and emotions, was firm in being independent, and wish to live her life as she wanted. I didn’t like so many romantic prospects she was getting but like Minnie, I prefer Jame over Oliver. I hope to see those romantic conflicts is dealt with in next books.
The author excellently presented layers of financial exploitations by fraud and scams under the bereavement services or investment companies for new widows or old people, trauma of hunger, misleading and misappropriation of will, and emotional and physical toll of long suffering.
I couldn’t see how it will end for Minnie until the climax and it made me even more curious when police got involved. The story took a different turn than I expected and I was horrified to see what step-children did to Minnie. I never liked them but I didn’t expect them to be so outrageously cruel. I loved how things were settled in the end. End is hopeful and satisfying and with a hint of what is to come next.
Why 4 Stars-
Iike I said I get Minnie’s nature and everything she did or believed but still her naivety got on my nerves. She preferred to go hungry than let people in! It made me want to shake her so hard.
Overall, Widow’s Mite is bittersweet, heartwarming and heartbreaking contemporary about bereavement, scam, and financial issues.
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