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Flight Lessons Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (July 9, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060185287
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060185282
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,601,224 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Alone in a chilly loft in upstate New York, ruing the end of her affair with a two-timing sculptor, Anna Catalano, the heroine of this follow-up to Gaffney's bestselling The Saving Graces, can't resist an invitation to return home to Maryland's Eastern Shore. Her aunt Rose desperately needs a manager for her restaurant, the Bella Sorella, and it has to be family, says intermediary Aunt Iris. Rose and Anna haven't actually been on speaking terms since Anna caught Rose having an affair with Anna's father while her mother was dying. Still, telling herself it's only temporary, Anna signs on for the job. A host of clangorous, adrenaline-pumping kitchen scenes follow, and anyone who's worked in the restaurant business will especially enjoy the clash between the self-taught red-sauce chef and Anna's new hire, a culinary school grad who wants to put pesto in the minestrone. But Gaffney is unaccountably less apt in charting the romance between Anna and a bird-loving lawyer-turned-photographer named Mason Winograd, who must overcome his fear of flying as Anna overcomes her fear of nesting. Their e-mails, while blessedly free of emoticons and tech talk, are too long and too similar in voice. A delicious first kiss leads to a flat full monty: "He got her undressed and then went in the bathroom and came back nude, with condoms." In contrast, the affair between Rose and the dying Theo, Mason's stepfather, is richly nuanced, as are the relationships among the many women in the cast.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

After catching her boyfriend in bed with her boss, Anna Catalano decides to return to her childhood home. Ironically, an infidelity she witnessed between her aunt and her father 16 years earlier is exactly what drove her away in the first place. Once home, Anna begins the emotional metamorphosis from blame and alienation to forgiveness and acceptance. What results isn't exactly fast-paced, but readers will savor each well-written page and root for the sympathetic, authentic characters despite their flaws. Gaffney serves everything in double helpings: two acts of infidelity, two wounded heroes, two prodigal son stories. All of this is set against the microcosm of a small, family-owned Italian restaurant. Fans of Curtiss Ann Matlock's Driving Lessons, Kathleen Gilles Seidel's Till the Stars Fall, and Gaffney's other novels (e.g., The Saving Graces) will find this new work just as delectable. This is women's fiction at its finest, and public libraries of all sizes will want it for their collections. - Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Patricia Gaffney began her writing career with the publication of Sweet Treason, a historical romance set in revolutionary Scotland. Eleven romance novels later, she tried something different--The Saving Graces, a story of women's friendships, that ended up spending 17 weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers List.

Circle of Three, Flight Lessons, and The Goodbye Summer followed, all bestsellers that established Gaffney as a premier mainstream fiction writer.

Her new book is Mad Dash, the story of a happy marriage in trouble. It's due out in Spring 2008.

Gaffney, who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, is currently at work on a novel about a man who changes his life when he finds out he's dying--then finds out he isn't. Working title: On Second Thought.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
I loved the characters..loved the setting.
It was much more interesting upon the first reading and didn't hold my attention all that well the 2nd time around.
I highly recommend this book and want to thank the author for a wonderful reading experience.
Patricia Kay

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Kcolorado on July 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The Oscar Wilde quote, "After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations" that Patrica Gaffney prefaces her book with, is an accurate description of the issues she explores in Flight Lessons. In a twist to the biblical prodigal son, Anna returns to her hometown on the Chesapeake bay at the age of 36 and after a disasterous end to a romantic relationship. Anna is a complex, and often quite exasperating character. She is balanced in the book by her aunt Rose, now 60 and the owner of a faltering Italian restaurant. Anna is welcomed home and agrees to manage the restaurant for the summer but is not ready to forgive and forget the family issues that caused her to leave. Rose is a more appealing character, particularly in regard to her relationship with Theo, a crusty Bay waterman, now sidelined with a degenerative disease. All of the characters are finely drawn, Frankie, the talented but troubled new chef at the restaurant, Eddie, the handsome but unreliable bartender and Carmen,the unmarried, overweight long time chef who is resentful of the new chef and the changes Anna wants to make to save the restaurant.The close up look at running a small family restaurant was particularly interesting and the bits of information about birds and bird photography, the avocation of Mason, another character were engrossing. (I will now try to catch a bird yawnings, soemthing I never knew they did) More than a love story, the book is honest and insightful as it explore the complicated dynamics of family and the ways individuals address their own family history. Anna's apparent dysfunction and inabilty to sustain relationships seems as much due to her own unforgiving nature as the tough issues she dealt with as a child and young woman.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on August 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In icy upstate New York, Anna Catalano ends her affair with her lover when she catches him with her boss in her bed just after she had outpatient laparascopy. When her Aunt Iris offers her the job of manager of Bella Sorella, Anna decides to accept on a temporary basis though she rarely has gone home to the Maryland Eastern Shore. Anna's Aunt Rose, whom she caught in bed with her father while her mother was dying from ovarian cancer, owns the restaurant. The aunt and the niece are banally civil, but truly communicate through Iris.

Restaurant management proves difficult, but Anna handles it with aplomb. However, she has more trouble coping with her feelings towards photographer Mason Winograd, as she does not trust relationships. More complex and harder on Anna's soul is Rose wants a reconciliation with her beloved niece and will do whatever it takes to succeed.

FLIGHT LESSONS is a wonderful relationship drama that is at its best when the women take center stage without any males in their way though the men are well written characters. The story line engages the reader by looking at the impact a long-term squabble has on individuals. The Rose-Anna situation is cleverly written so that many readers will recognize similar relationships with family members. However, the romance between Anna and Mason never leaves the ground, as it seems pale next to that of the women. Patricia Gaffney provides a strong character driven sequel to her best selling THE SAVING GRACES.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C. Goodman on April 18, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really liked "Saving Graces" by the same author, although it did make me sad at times (when it was supposed to).

I just finished "Flight Lessons", and I really liked it. It's about coming home, looking back, and moving forward. Anna and Rose are both people you'd like to be friends with, I think, and I could understand both of their motives, their reasons. The background type characters, like Frankie and Carmen, Theo and Mason, make you care about them too.

I actually put off reading my new Mary Higgins Clark novel, as well as Judith Michael's latest, two of my favorite authors, to read this one.

I'll be adding Patricia Gaffney to my list of authors to explore more.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By P. Heaphy on May 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First of all, I'm not quite sure why the cover shows a house on the beach, but that is basically irrelevent...

This is the story of 2 grown women, although more often than not, 36 year old Anna is acting like a petulant child, when she returns home to work in her aunt's restaurant (after finding her lover in bed with her best friend). Anna harbors some deep resentment of her Aunt Rose, somewhat founded due to some infidelities in the past. The reader is clued in to Rose's side of the story long before Anna finds out the truth.

A good deal of the book is about working in the family restaurant, and all the people who are considered "family" because of their employment there. The other, connected subplot is the romance of Anna and Mason, Rose and Theo. I actually felt these relationships should have been more fully developed. It seemed a little unrealistic to me that Mason would continue to desire Anna, seemingly without much in common, after she continuously pulls away from him.

The story, always in 3rd person, is told clearly from both Rose and Anna's viewpoints in alternating chapters, and I thought Patricia Gaffney did an excellent job of articulating both sides, without making either woman the more sympathetic character. However, for me, the greatest flaw of this book was that I really couldn't empathize with either of the women, until near the end.
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