The bestselling author of The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted and The Year of Pleasures returns with a wonderful novel about a woman, a daughter, and a surprising change in life
Beloved author Elizabeth Berg tells the story of the recently widowed Helen Ames and of her twenty-seven-year-old daughter Tessa. Helen is shocked to discover that her mild-mannered and loyal husband had been leading a double life. The Ames's had saved money for a happy retirement, planned in minute detail, but that money has disappeared in several big withdrawals--spent by Helen's husband before he died. What could he possibly have been doing? And what is Helen to do now? Why does Helen's daughter object to her mother's applying for a job--and why doesn't Tessa meet a nice man and get married?
What Helen's husband did with all their money turns out to be provocative, revelatory--and leads Helen and her daughter to embark on new adventures, and change.
Love, work and the absence of both figure prominently in Berg's latest, a rumination on loss and replenishment. Since novelist Helen's husband, Dan, died a year ago, she's been unable to write, and though her publisher and agent aren't worried, she is, particularly after a disastrous performance at a public speaking engagement leaves her wondering if her writing career will be another permanent loss. Meanwhile, daughter Tessa is getting impatient as Helen smothers her with awkward motherly affection. Tessa longs for distance and some independence, but Helen is unable to run her suburban Chicago home without continually calling on Tessa to perform the handyman chores that once belonged to Dan. And then Helen discovers Dan had withdrawn a huge chunk of their retirement money, and Helen's quest to find out what happened turns into a journey of self-discovery and hard-won healing. Berg gracefully renders, in tragic and comic detail, the notions that every life-however blessed-has its share of awful loss, and that even crushed, defeated hearts can be revived. (May)
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Showing 1-2 of the 2 most recent reviews
1 . Excellent Read
Posted July 11, 2010 by slgannaway , Silver Spring MDThis book is touching as it follows a woman's period of grief and recovery after the death of a spouse. Slowly she reunites with life, and her daughter moves forward. Nancy Berg provides interesting insight into the feelings of love that remaineven after the death of a loved one occurs. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the human condition.
2 . A great women's read :-)
Posted July 27, 2009 by Janis , Carbon Canyon, CAA touching, yet hopeful book, and well written.
April 27, 2009
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