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Three Good Things: A Novel Paperback – January 1, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Ellen McClarety divorced her charming bum of a husband, Max, and, inspired by her late mother’s cookbook, got a fresh start with a kringle bakery. Ellen’s younger sister, Lanie, is struggling to balance motherhood with a satisfying law career. Lanie’s husband, Rob, flounders, unappreciated, at his architecture firm, and Lanie begins to wonder if Rob’s late hours have to do with a hot coworker. Then Max comes back and threatens both Ellen’s fragile heart and her budding relationship with a shy horticulturist. First-novelist Francis manages some big plot twists without throwing off the quiet, even tone of the book, and Ellen’s obsession with grammar has a surprising payoff. Some of the characterization wavers; Henry goes from a shy, grieving horticulturist to bro-ing down with Rob over sports and beer. But Ellen and Lanie are great characters, being both sister- and mother-figure to each other. The novel doesn’t quite achieve the emotional intensity of Susan Wiggs’ or Kristin Hannah’s work, but Ellen’s journey is an engaging one. For daring readers, there is a kringle recipe in the back. --Susan Maguire

Review

"A toothsome tale . . . a debut as light, sweet, and fluffy as Danish pastry dough. Culinary romance lovers—fans of Sharon Boorstein, Susan Mallery, and Deirdre Martin—will devour it." (Library Journal)

"Like gossip over morning coffee in the kitchen . . . warm and comforting." (Kirkus Reviews)

"Ellen and Lanie are great characters. . . . Engaging." (Booklist)

Three Good Things is a flavorful tale of sisters and second chances, fresh starts and sweet surprises. Wendy Francis has written a rich debut, sure to delight the lucky readers who discover her here.” (Barbara O’Neal author of How to Bake a Perfect Life)

"There are so many good things to say about Three Good Things. It's a warm, witty and wise story of sisters on their journey through love and life. Wendy Francis's new novel is as delicious as the kringles made in Ellen's bakeshop." (Susan Wiggs author of The Goodbye Quilt)

“Wendy Francis’s Three Good Things is as sweet, rich, and comforting as a Danish kringle, spiced with lots of good surprises.” (Nancy Thayer author of Heat Wave)

“A lovely story about people you wish were your next-door neighbors. I wish, too, the kringle shop were next door, because I loved the mouthwatering descriptions of its treats. Curl up with this book, along with a cup of tea and a kringle (what else?) and lose yourself in a world you won’t want to leave after you turn the last page.” (Eileen Goudge author of The Replacement Wife)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451666349
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451666342
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anna P. McGowan on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
Like a kringle, this novel is warm, delicately crafted and satisfying. I read the book in one evening, and I was immersed in the main characters' struggles with hectic careers, imperfect family lives, and old skeletons in their psychic closets. As a midwestern transplant, I can appreciate the realistic depictions of Wisconsin small town life and the dichotomy of good people making bad choices. I would recommend this book highly for a book club discussion, as its themes are accessible and relevant. A solid offering from a bright new author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yuka Mizushima on February 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ellen is recently divorced and proud owner of Singular Kringle (kringle is a buttery pastry that contains fruit or nut filling). She has to decide if she should hold onto the past or take a chance on new opportunities. Lanie is an overachiever and she is trying to juggle work, marriage and motherhood. She's finding it hard to strike a balance and is trying to find out what makes her happiest.

Their mother used to find three good things that happened very day. In honor of her memory, the sisters start to find their three good things. They have the opportunity to experience change and happiness if they listen to their hearts.

I really enjoyed Francis' debut novel. There is a lot of warmth, engaging characters and some neat twists that made it hard to put Three Good Things down. I'm looking forward to Francis' next novel. If you are looking for a story that features baking, hope and gratitude, you'll want to put Three Good Things on your read list.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Marion on April 7, 2013
Format: Paperback
This was a great choice for our book club to read. We all seemed to enjoy the way the story and characters were universally appealing while the story weaved thru the fabric of the lives of characters we could all relate to. I can't wait to read the next book that Wendy Francis writes!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SoozeSays VINE VOICE on March 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Because I lived in the Midwest for 9 years, enjoyed many a kringle, have a sister and we lost our mom in the past year - I was drawn to "Three Good Things" by Wendy Francis. The themes in this book - divorce, sisters, midlife issues, loss of a parent, starting over with a new business are universal ones and deftly, gently handled by Ms. Francis they will strike a chord with women of all ages. Recently divorced Ellen and her younger sister Lanie are likable characters dealing with realistic issues. This is a novel that quickly draws you in, and gives you something to think about without too much drama.

The older sister, Ellen, is recently divorced (but not quite over her ex). She uses the recipes in a book left to her by her mother to open a shop that serves a variety of kringles ( a delicious Wisconsin pastry) along with coffee and good company. Her sister Lanie is a lawyer with a loving husband and a much-adored baby, who seemingly has the perfect life. As in real life, nothing runs smoothly for long and both sisters face some challenges and need to examine their priorities as they plan for the future. I found myself at odds with some of their actions, but that would make for a good discussion with a group of friends (hopefully over a piece of kringle).

Lightweight perhaps, but enjoyable. This is the perfect beach read or light summer read for a book club - because there will be things to ponder and discuss when you are finished.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer M. on January 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An entertaining read with very relatable, strongly drawn characters. McClarety sisters Ellen and Lanie seem like people that you already know, or would like to. Following the tale of the sisters' ups and downs provides many spot-on insights, both amusing and bittersweet, into the challenges of adulthood: careers, marriage, parenthood, divorce, and coping with the unexpected. A very warm and satisfying story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Margie on April 6, 2013
Format: Paperback
I really enjoy stories about sisters and this one is a good one. The story read fast. It was not a deep story, but an enjoyable one. Occasionally, the story did jump a little, but that kept it moving and kept my interest into what would happen next.

I liked all the characters, except for Henry. He was not very interesting. I understand the strong, quiet type, but he did not have enough personality for me. Ellen deserved someone steady and reliable, which Henry was, but she deserved someone willing to be a bit more demonstrative with his feelings.

Overall, this was an easy, enjoyable read. I would read another book by Ellen McClarety. Some books are just a good get away and this was one of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bb on June 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
I loved this book! Laughed, cried, will probably banned from reading at the gym.
I love when I find a book that has a story that hooks me quick. This one does that, no "waiting a few chapters for it to get good."
Enjoyed the twists, and being pleasantly surprised by a few..kept the story fresh and wanting more. Characters were real, and many layers made each great...
Congrats on a successful first novel and so looking forward to more !!! LOVED IT !
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By KellyMac on February 22, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this wonderful debut, author Wendy Francis created characters who I grew to care about and want to know more about,my first criteria of a good book. Next, the well woven story lines drew me in and kept me turning the pages late into the night, another sign of a great book! Finally, while I enjoyed the ending, it came too soon, I was left wanting more, my final requirement of a truly great book! I look forward to many more books from Wendy Francis.
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