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Tapestry of Fortunes: A Novel Paperback – April 8, 2014
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*Starred Review* Any woman who has ever longed to shake off her life and embark on a road trip with female companions will love Tapestry of Fortunes. Cecilia Ross, a motivational speaker who teaches others to live their truth, is unable to follow her own advice. When she receives a postcard out of the blue from the one man she never got over, she realizes it’s time to turn her regrets around. She seeks guidance from the fortune-telling devices that she stores in a box in the bedroom closet. Acting on their messages, Cece puts her house on the market, moves in with three women who are equally restless, and takes off with this newfound pack of friends, each on a mission to find the people and opportunities they missed. This book has all the ingredients for a highly satisfying read: a backroads journey, a testament to the power of female friendships, and the possibility of second chances. Berg strips her writing down to what is essential and takes an unflinching look at lifelong regrets. The characters are so completely realized, even the bit players will settle in your heart. High-Demand Backstory: The latest from the best-selling Berg, the author of more than 20 novels, will receive the full array of marketing support from the publisher. --Diane Holcomb --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Praise for Tapestry of Fortunes
“A testament to the power of female friendships . . . Berg strips her writing down to what is essential and takes an unflinching look at lifelong regrets. The characters . . . will settle in your heart.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Elizabeth Berg has carved out a place as one of America’s most beloved chroniclers of female friendship.”—Chicago Tribune
“Luminous . . . As always, her writing is spare and lyrical, filled with . . . elegant description and profound insight.”—Library Journal
“An incredibly uplifting and life-affirming story . . . Berg explores the themes of change and personal reinvention with exquisite phrasing, sharply-focused attention to detail, and boundless joy and heart.”—Bookreporter
Praise for Elizabeth Berg
“Truth rings forth clearly from every page. [Elizabeth] Berg captures the way women think—and especially the way they talk to other women—as well as any writer I can think of.”—The Charlotte Observer, about Talk Before Sleep
“Elizabeth Berg’s gift as a storyteller lies most powerfully in her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday.”—The Boston Globe
“Berg’s writing is to literature what Chopin’s études are to music—measured, delicate, and impossible to walk away from until their completion. [Grade:] A+.”—Entertainment Weekly
“A writer whose luminous prose is likely to stay with you a long, long time.”—Chicago Tribune
“Berg could be creating a new genre. . . . [She] is especially wonderful at depicting the small revealing moments of women’s friendships, the offhand sharing of secrets in the grocery store.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Berg’s impeccable prose gives voice to that element in our psyche that enables us to cope with the impossible. . . . Berg writes on a higher plane.”—Booklist
“One of the most life-affirming writers around.”—The Miami Herald
“Berg has a gift for capturing the small, often sweet details of ordinary life.”—Newsday
From the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Tapestry of Fortunes tells the story of a woman at a loss for what to do next when her best friend falls ill and suddenly dies. Living next door to Penny and her husband, Cecelia enjoys her time spent with them and her dreams of a road trip with Penny someday. But then Penny suddenly dies and Penny's husband sells their house and moves away. Cecelia, who is a motivational speaker and author of self-help books, thinks that maybe it's time for her to make some changes to her life too. Selling her home, Cecelia moves to a house with rooms to rent which is shared by 3 other women, each with their own stories and dillemmas. What happens to Cecelia and the other women should show readers that life can zig and zag as one begins to take chances. Sadly, it didn't for me.
Unfortunately, to me the book was disappointing, filled with cliches and an overwhelmingly unrealistic and happily ever after ending for all of the women. Consider that Cecelia sells her house in one day, moves to a room in one dday where she is able to identify with the other women at once and finally finds an old love and the years roll away. Too many coincidences? Perhaps, but in the end even Cecelia's tarot reading cards didn't provide enough of my interest and the picture perfect ending was just too much.
Perhaps I expected too much from this author and the other favorites I have loved in the past. Or perhaps I have read their best and shouldn't go on reading them anymore. But that really isn't an option for me since I might just miss one of their best books in the future. It might just be that I will have to consider the immortal words of the Brooklyn Dodger's fans and "wait till next year" for their next books hoping one of them will be a winner.
Cece, the narrator says, "Penny believed that people didn't often enough admit to what they really felt, and she thought that made for a lot of problems." I would have loved Penny - I believe her words - and I'm sorry this story wasn't more about her. As it is it's about a woman who's reeling from her friend's death and searching for new connections. The theme of unsaid feelings really isn't explored.
I so wanted to love this book as I have many of Elizabeth Berg's other work but it doesn't have the complexity of those other stories. Things happen too easily, move too quickly, work out too easily. Cece wants a change so she puts her house on the market and voila! someone makes an offer for the house and all the furnishings. Then she moves in with three other women and voila! they have no issues and all become best friends. Cece volunteers at a hospice facility where there's a young man who's dying and won't speak to anyone but voila! he speaks to Cece.
I love the complexity of Berg's earlier work, like Random Motion and Talk Before Sleep. I wanted that with this book but unfortunately Tapestry of Fortunes feels not quite finished. It's like fast food; quick, fairly tasty but not terribly satisfying.