Gossip by Beth Gutcheon
|Gossip by Beth Gutcheon|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A book to read avidly and enjoy and then to go back and reread so that you can see how it was done. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: February 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Loviah French, Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf met when they were at boarding school. Lovie owns a top-class dress shop in Manhattan - the place where women of a certain class go when they want something for a special occasion and to be secure in the knowledge that they will be treated well and discreetly. Dinah is a columnist who chronicles the lives of New York's rich and famous, whilst Avis is a prominent figure in the art world. Lovie is our narrator and she's also the glue which holds the three women together. They're both devoted to her and she to them, but a small, imagined slight, many decades earlier, has left an icy distance between Dinah and Avis.
There was no intention to offend - or be offended - but the simmering hostility would have unforeseen, traumatic consequences. The story spans half a century or so and in less sure hands it would be twice as long and marketed as a 'family saga', but Beth Gutcheon uses words with surgical precision. It's anchored in world events, but only where it has a direct impact on the story: the destruction of the Twin Towers has the feel of an insider's viewpoint. It's not just the horror of the event, but the noise and the filth which was created. And as the horror recedes, the terror sets in. It's sensitively done but it doesn't lessen the impact.
It is though the three women who carry the story. They're marvellously different characters, all of whom come off the page equally well, each with their own strengths and frailties - and leading very different lives. But it's when a wedding brings the three women and their respective families together that the fault lines split disastrously.
I read the book in less than twenty four hours, not as I would read a thriller but simply because I was totally engrossed in the story, but as I got closer to the end i was conscious of the pace - and the tension - picking up considerably. There were a couple of occasions when I felt as though I'd been punched, so great was the emotional shock of what happened. It's a superb book, elegantly constructed and very much a keeper. I'm already planning just when I can reread to see how it was done.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For another compelling story of strong women we can recommend Maine by Courtney Sullivan. It's set in a different country but we think that you'll also enjoy Unexpected Lessons in Love by Bernardine Bishop.
You can read more book reviews or buy Gossip by Beth Gutcheon at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
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