A Troubled Vietnam Vet Is the Love Interest in this Story
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When a small group of women meet regularly to chat about books, to stitch quilts, to knit, or whatever, I guarantee a lot of private and personal stories are shared. Elizabeth Berg understands this completely and gives us a group of women who get together for the sole purpose of sharing their secrets in life – and of course, for the purpose of eating.
This is the third book in Berg’s Mason, Missouri series, so we know some of the women already. The newbies? Well, as they bare their souls, we get to know them fast! As the author tells us, “People admitting to doubts and fears and failures. That’s what brings us closer to one another…”
I love Berg’s writing and she truly understands women, yet the weakest parts of this book are the actual meetings of the Confession Club. The conversations are somehow forced or stilted. Where the dialog and story SHINE is in the love story she creates between one of the women, Iris, and a new man in town named John.
As it turns out, John is a homeless Vietnam veteran. Berg writes this story so beautifully that I fell in love with John too. Indeed, the story resonated with my own experience of falling in love with a Vietnam vet in the 1990s. But the problem he and I had was this: 58,000 Americans died trying to win that war, and there was nothing I could do – no matter how much I loved the guy – to win it for him. A lot of drama and heartache ensued over a ten-year period. This makes it very hard for me to believe in the happily-ever-after Berg implies for Iris and John. I’m praying for them, but I’m very doubtful.
In spite of these feelings, when I rank the three books in Berg’s Mason, Missouri series I place them in this order (from best to worst): The Story of Arthur Truluv, The Confession Club, and then Night of Miracles. Actually, I’m rooting for a fourth book. Why? Berg still has not fleshed out a major character, Maddy. There is a lot we need to know about her tragic backstory. Are you listening, Elizabeth Berg?
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