Opal on Dry Ground

3.47 avg rating
( 17 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780679423973: Opal on Dry Ground

"RICH, COMPLEX, AND COMPELLING (Ms. Scofield explores the twists and turns all the daughters must survive as they struggle toward independence."
--Dallas Morning News
Opal has done the best she knew how in raising her two daughters, Clancy and Joy. But that doesn't stop her from worrying about them even when they are finally under her roof again. Clancy has just been left by her second husband and is so depressed she can barely stay awake. Joy, brittle in her loneliness and desperate about her teenage daughter, can't decide where her loyalty lies--with her mother, her daughter, or herself. And Opal is still mourning the sudden death of her aged mother, killed in a flood.
Opal has always bailed out the women in her family when despair rains down. But as troubled waters recede, she must learn to let go and live....
"A novel whose plot, like a vast open sky, is enlivened with a fireworks display of colorful, twisting, brilliantly rendered emotions."
--The New York Times Book Review
"Sandra Scofield writes with authority, and her characters are warmhearted, well-intentioned, likable, more sinned against than sinning--ordinary, hard-working folks trying to make it through the day."
--New York Newsday
From the Paperback edition.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Scofield's fifth novel, arguably her best since the award- winning Beyond Deserving (1991), has all the humor and plaintive charm of a good country-western song. In fact, with its cast of oft-divorced characters looking for love within the framework of a big, messy, mix-and-match family in Lubbock, the lyrics would come naturally, Texas twang and all. Opal Duffy, the clan's matriarch, is 58 years old and suffers from various ailments, including brittle bones and a swollen heart. Her biggest problem, though, is that she can't take care of everybody as well as she wants to. She blames herself for the fact that her two daughters, Joy and Clancy, are both divorced and lonely; she also feels guilty that her beloved mother has recently died, at home and alone. The one person for whom Opal can't seem to spare much energy or attention is Russell, her affable, younger third husband. Russell owns the house where Opal's brood has come to roost, but he lies low amid the comings and goings of Joy, Clancy, their boyfriends, ex-husbands, and Joy's sulky teenage daughter, Heather. To add to the confusion, there is also a cat, a pet bird, and frequent visits from Russell's own problematic children, as well as his mother, Imogene. Scofield handles this assortment of characters deftly, playing out their various crises with a lighter touch than she has shown in the past. The result is that Opal and her crew seem a vanguard example of whatever ``family'' might mean in the nineties: a tangle of ex-wives, stepmothers, in-laws, et al. kept together by a feisty protagonist possessed of determination and enough love to fill any heart. A memorable family ballad, in tune with the times. (Author tour) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Once again probing the problems of women in fractured families, Scofield offers in her fifth novel (after More Than Allies ) a compromised version of the depth and compassion she showed in her earlier books. The center of this three-generation saga is Opal Duffy, a twice-married, 50-something woman struggling to juggle the demands of her new husband, her past and her two divorced, erratic daughters, with whom she shares a house and a trailer. One daughter, Clancy, gets pregnant by her lover but remains ambivalent about the prospect of yet another husband. Meanwhile, her sister, Joy, fights constantly with her ex-husband, her new boyfriend and her own daughter, a bored, rebellious teenager. Alternating character analysis with scenes from domestic and professional life, Scofield constructs her usual rich tapestry of family interaction, showing how both heartbreak and bad patterns are endlessly repeated. But the story itself is a bit static, and the long family roster occasionally warrants a scorecard, detracting from both character development and emotional impact. Moreover, the lack of well-developed male characters creates an imbalance that becomes increasingly evident as the plot grinds on. While Scofield presents several memorable characters here, this is territory she's explored more effectively in the past, most notably in 1991 in the American Book Award-winning Beyond Deserving .
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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