Betta Nolan, 55, has been a widow now in Boston for several months after her beloved husband John died of liver cancer. Per his wishes, she moves out to the Midwest to fulfill their dream and start a new life. Betta who is an author of children’s book, sells the home she and John had lived together in and moves into an oversized Victorian home in Stewart Illinois.
While trying to piece together this new life for herself, Betta tracks down her three college roommates, Lorraine, Maddy, and Susanna. When they hear of the loss of Betta’s husband they are all very sympathetic and agree to come to her home for a weekend and rekindle their friendship of all those years ago.
As Betta starts to mold into this new life she meets a few people in town, a handyman names Matthew, his horrific girlfriend, and Matt’s roommate Giovanni. She also meets an interesting older man, closer to her age named Tom Bartlett. While all these changes in her life seem good and positive, Betta questions her move and wonders if perhaps she shouldn’t go back to Boston and try to recapture her old life.
Sound a little familiar? I recently listened to and reviewed Elizabeth Berg’s Home Safe... about a widow, who was an author, who had an opportunity to move… listening to these so close together… was at times confusing as I would mix them in my head.
Beyond that, the storyline is quite different. For one, Betta is a strong woman unlike Home Safe’s Helen. Betta also has friends where Helen seemed to lean almost completely on her 27-year-old daughter.
Oh but here is another thing that the two main characters had in common for me…. Betta, bugged me.
I know, I know… I should be tarred and feathered! I really have enjoyed Elizabeth Berg’s books for the most part and fully plan to continue reading her works through 2011, but these widowed women characters…. GAH! Not that this storyline isn’t a wonderful one to work with, it’s just that Helen was too unsure of herself… and Betta…. Betta moved to fast into the “relationship” department for my liking.
There I said it. I mean… she had not even been a widow for that long….. and the book gave every impression that the marriage was a good one. And I know… that is just my opinion.
Moving on… I think my favorite part of the book was Betta reconnecting with her College friends. I wish that storyline would have been larger. While their friendship does become a big part of the book, I did not find these characters to be developed enough for me to really know who they were that leads to what happens in the end of the book.
As long as I seem to be dishing out opinions here: I loved the character of Giovanni, found Matthew to be wishy-washy, Tom was … well Tom, and just because I feel like saying it, I think the mailman’s shorts were too tight. (Ok… ok, I made that up…. I do not even recall meeting a mailman in this book…. :razz:)
Seriously though, again this did not fall into a favorite of mine for Berg but I am glad I had the opportunity to listen to it. Elizabeth works with a great array of characters that I have enjoyed meeting along the way, if I befriend them or not.
The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include The Year Of Pleasures
I borrowed this audio from my library