Readers’ Corner, Dec. 2021: Unexpected Gifts

By Bonnie McCune & Kathleen Duhamel ~

Britt Marie Was Here, another winner from Fredrik Backman, follows an unexpected turn in life. Aging housewife Britt-Marie decides to flee when she discovers her husband’s cheating. She hasn’t worked for years, but thanks to Sweden’s social welfare system, she’s assigned a job for which she’s uniquely unqualified—run a recreation center in a distant town, home to many immigrants equally unequipped for modern life. Exercising her native talents—bossiness, obsession, and curiosity—she takes on a teen soccer team, as she reignites dreams for the town. Will she reunite with her boring husband or dare to follow her own drummer? A delightful view of life’s astonishing gifts.

The Midnight Library: A Novel. Author Matt Haig’s powerful, uplifting story offers a contemporary re-telling of the classic film, It’s A Wonderful Life. Disillusioned with her unfulfilling existence in a dead-end job and grieving over the death of her beloved cat, Nora Seed is contemplating suicide when she stumbles on a magical library filled with books about the lives she might have led, had she made different choices, and the effect her decisions had on others. Haig has delivered an engrossing, beautiful fable about the futility of regret.

Carry the Dog. Stephanie Gangi’s remarkable debut novel brims with wit, warmth, and compassion. The story is told by fifty-nine-year-old Bea Seger, who has spent a lifetime trying to forget her childhood. The daughter of a famous and controversial photographer, Bea and her older twin brothers were the unwilling subjects of a series of disturbing nude photos that derailed her mother’s career and sparked a series of tragic events. Now, with Hollywood and a famous museum both eager to cash in on her mother’s notoriety (and Bea’s suffering), she must decide whether she has the courage to re-examine the past. 

(Authors Kathleen Duhamel, https://www.kathleenduhamel.com/, and Bonnie McCune, http://www.bonniemccune.com/, write women’s fiction.)

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