A Severed Wasp

Rating: 4 out of 5.
A Severed Wasp book cover

Madeleine L’Engle 1982 – Katherine Forrester Vigneras #2

When we left Katherine Forrester at the end of The Small Rain (pub. 1945) she was not yet twenty. In A Severed Wasp¸ Katherine Forrester Vigneras is in her seventies and is winding down an illustrious career as a concert pianist. 

Although there are parts of this book that would allow me to classify it as a mystery, we can see early on what is NOT a mystery: Katherine did eventually marry Justin Vigneras, her music teacher in boarding school, to whom she returned at the end of the first book.  Theirs was a marriage of incredible pain and unconventional parenthood, and now Katherine has returned home to New York after many years in Europe. One other character from the first book does play a large part in the second; readers know early on who that character is, and if they’re like me, they probably raise their eyebrows in interest and surprise when that character is revealed.

Also present in this book are a few members of the L’Engle’s Austin family books as well as characters from two other novels. Katherine in her seventies is a credible character; looking back at The Small Rain, one recognizes the seeds of certain traits in Katherine that, in A Severed Wasp, are in full bloom.

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