Sunday, April 1, 2012

Charlene Reviews: Gossip by Beth Gutcheon

ISBN #: 978-0061931420
Page Count: 288
Copyright: March 20, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow


Loviah "Lovie" French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need "just the ting" for major life events - baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals - or when they just want to dish in the dressing room. Among the people who depend on Lovie's confidence are her two best friends since boarding school: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf.

Outspoken and brimming with confidence, Dinah made a name for herself as a columnist covering the doings of New York's wealthiest and most fabulous. Shy, proper Avis, in many ways Dinah's opposite, rose to prominence in the art world with her quiet manners, hard work, and precise judgment. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Lovie, they have been more or less allergic to each other since a minor incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented with what will prove to be unimaginable consequences.

These uneasy acquaintances become unwillingly bound to each other when Dinah's favorite son and Avis's only daughter fall in love and marry. On the surface, Nick and Grace are the perfect match - a playful, romantic, buoyant, and beautiful pair. But their commitment will be strained by time and change: career setbacks, reckless choices, the birth of a child, jealousies, and rumor. At the center of their orbit is Lovie, who knows everyone's secrets and manages them as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out - a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.

Charlene's Review:

Gossip started out slowly, with much struggling to keep up with the characters, but towards the end, it pulled me along, and endeared me to many of those involved. "Lovie" is the central character in a diverse, spoiled culture. While she clothes her friends and acquaintances in her specialty clothing, she learns all their secrets and quirks. This is a book about friends, appearances, and dirty little secrets. It's also about longing, connection, and has a surprising twist in the end that left me breathless.

Gossip highlights the fall-out, or devastation, that can occur when gossip leads our lives. The three friends that met in boarding school are all very different in attitude and effect. While Lovie was the narrator, she was the least defined character, but her outlook was what kept the story going. I would have loved to see how the other characters defined her.

This was an enjoyable book. It was well worth the slow start to read the big finish.

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