Sojourn with Heidi
by Heidi Leitner Fearon

"Life has offered me so many opportunities, and in most cases, I have chosen the path less traveled."

Born in Salzburg, Austria, in 1940 to an educated family of modest means, the author rebelliously and courageously (for her time and culture) works her way as an au pair into ever more prosperous and adventurous circumstances. Heidi's sojourns as a children's companion take her to Paris, Cambridge (England), Boston, and Montreal. Her life in Canada expands into marriage, and her interest in fashion design blooms into multiple opportunities to work in the fashion industry. After an apprenticeship as a pattern maker, she ventures into designing bikinis, dresses, and coats while simultaneously building a portfolio.

Heidi's design career follows the trajectory of her life, so while she's pregnant, she designs maternity clothing. When tennis is a passion, she creates tennis wear. Joining a yacht club is a big turning point in the couple's lives, and they acquire a craft called the Heidi-Ho. There are trips to Germany and Austria to visit relatives. Life sails along until the primary constant of change turns this family's happy existence around.

Employment opportunities dwindle, the relationship strains, and divorce looms. When husband number two arrives on the scene, their sailing sojourns expand throughout the Caribbean in fair weather and foul. Life becomes adventurous and good again, as do the stories that Fearon continues to share through the loss of Cal and into her active retirement in North Carolina. What the author's engaging memoir lacks in lyrical prose, it certainly makes up for in the enthusiastic presentation of a life well-lived. The conversational storytelling style skims the surface of the tale at times but will please readers who enjoy feeling as if they're chatting with the girl next door. Overall, Fearon does an excellent job of chronicling the ups and downs of a life of changing relationships, excitement, and travel.

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