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The year of pleasures : a novel
Elizabeth Berg
Adult Fiction BERG

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The familiar protagonist of Berg's 13th novel (after The Art of Mending) is a Boston widow of several months, 55-year-old Betta Nolan, who fulfills her dying husband's dream of moving out to the Midwest and starting a new life. "It will give me peace to know that what you will do is exactly what we talked about," says John commandingly before dying of liver cancer; Betta, an author of children's books, sells their Beacon Hill brownstone and takes off, buying an oversized Victorian in the small town of Stewart, Ill., 49 miles from Chicago. Lonely, she finds herself tracking down three former college roommates from the late 1960s, Lorraine, Maddy and Susanna, whom she ditched once she met John. The women reappear one by one and help give her the courage to open a shop called What a Woman Wants (it'll sell "all different stuff that women loved. Beautiful things, but unusual too. Like antique birdcages with orchids growing in them"). Meanwhile, she begins to make friends in town, notably with attractive young handyman Matthew and natty oldster Tom Bartlett. Berg is a pro at putting together an affecting saga of interest to women of a certain age, yet here she seems to be writing in her sleep. There is little effort at cohesion-rather, a kind of serendipitous plot that goes every which way and a series of tentative, aborted romances. The impression readers will be left with is of a woman endlessly nurturing and rarely satisfied. Agent, Lisa Bankoff at ICM. 12-city author tour. (Apr. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

As evidenced by this 14th novel (after The Art of Mending), Berg's talents grow richer with each book. Her heroine is Betta Nolan, whose marriage boasts such strength and intimacy that she is left completely bereft at husband John's death. Seeking to begin again and following a dream that she and John had shared to move to the Midwest, Betta impulsively purchases a house in a small town. Each day is difficult, and yet by finding and celebrating the simple pleasures of life, Betta catches hope and begins to heal. Berg's unerring sense of the beauties of daily life bursts forth on every page, from her description of "barns faded to the soft red of tomato soup," through cryptic one-word notes that John has left for Betta to find and unravel, to a green bowl, eggs, and a sparrow. Poignant, intimate, and hopeful, this is a novel to read, treasure, and share. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-Caroline M. Hallsworth, City of Greater Sudbury, Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Betty Nolan
Age: 55
Sells her townhouse and moves out to the midwest; opens up her own store; makes new friends.

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