Three Novels for Cold Wintry Nights

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By Beth Goehring

One of my favorite theatre experiences of all time was a one-woman show called “Blown Sideways Through Life.” Claudia Shear ended her tragicomic remembrance of the many odd jobs she’d held with a command to treat everyone you encounter with kindness because “Everyone has a story.” Those stories make us who we are. We may choose to keep them private, but they still reveal themselves in many ways.

The best writers can help us see our common humanity with even the wackiest of oddballs. These three current novels start with an outsider and, strand by strand, weave characters and experiences around them until the story is a fragile, shimmering web of connected lives.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteredge delves deep into the rural Illinois town that a more recent character of hers, Lucy Barton, escaped. You can certainly see why she left; your heart breaks for the people who didn’t have the opportunity or the strength to go elsewhere.  Still, they have created lives within this community that protect and fulfill them. Get the book.

Gail Honeyman is a real find. What a touching and beautiful novel this is. Eleanor is that person in your office you walk around, talk over, ignore, and—let’s admit it—secretly gossip about. It only takes one person to begin to treat her as a valuable human being to peel the layers back of her life story. Painful and sickening as it is, you’ll recognize real courage in Eleanor’s perseverance. Get the book.

Elizabeth Berg never disappoints. Here’s a May-December friendship that has none of the ugly power discrepancies we’re reading about in the news these days—how refreshing! Good-old fashioned proof that two people can heal each other with attention, compassion, and commitment. Get the details.

beth goehring, book reviews, the three tomatoesBeth Goehring believes, with apologies to Lorelei Lee, that rather than diamonds books are a girl’s best friend…and a boy’s, a man’s and a woman’s. For more than twenty-five years, through Book-of-the-Month Club and its related clubs, she’s sold popular fiction, mysteries, romances, cookbooks, children’s books, play scripts, behind-the-scenes tales of the movies and theatre, and lifestyle books. She lives with her husband in Manhattan.



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