Monday, August 25, 2008

Surprise Packages

"Fifteen years after meeting at Education Week at Brigham Young University, Juneau, Deenie, and Erin face new challenges. Deenie, now living in Gainesville, Florida, begins to question everything she has believed about herself as she sees her actions through others' eyes. Juneau's feelings of guilt come to a head when a secret from her childhood and the mystery of her great-grandmother, Letitia, combine to force her to confront her past. And Erin, whose painful divorce has made her cynical about love and marriage, must decide if she can take a risk when she has a second chance for love.

"Staying in touch through phone calls, e-mails, and periodic vacations together, the friends offer one another support, sometimes in the form of blunt feedback. But as they anticipate reaching their goal to become Crusty Old Broads, life takes a turn that puts their twenty-five-year pact in doubt."

Surprise Packages is the third and final book in The Company of Good Women series. The authors, Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carrol Hofeling Morris, call themselves the "Crusty Old Broads," a title they've conferred upon their characters as well.

As I read through this book, it reminded me of listening to my mom and her sisters catching up on each other's lives. I don't know who half of the many peripheral characters are (although I feel like I should), but I'm able to follow well enough that the stories are interesting anyway.

It's also like reading through the "Slice of Life" style blogs of three best friends. The three authors of Surprise Packages each wrote the story of one of the three main characters. The story alternates between the characters in little snippets, usually no more than a page or two long. Perfect for my current short attention span.

This style of writing is unusual, but I think it works here. I found it easy to pick up the book, read one or three of the short story snippets, and then get on with my day. Unfortunately, this style of reading makes for slow going, but although I haven't finished the book yet I'm certain I will. The women's stories are fun and interesting, if not riveting.

In all, I would certainly recommend Surprise Packages, and will likely add the other two books to future summer reading lists.


Carroll said...

What a compliment you've gave Nancy, Lael and me! We often hear from women readers that our characters are real to them, like best friends they love spending time with. But it's super-neat to have you--a guy-- say that reading Surprise Packages was like listening to your mom and her sisters catching up on each other's lives! Can't get more real than that.

Re: knowing the peripheral characters. They'll all fall into place when you read the other two books. Preferably starting with the first in the series, Almost Sisters. :)

Many thanks for being part of our virtual book tour.

Queen of Chaos said...

Don- I need your address! email it to me:
warrenandautumn @ msn dot com

Tristi Pinkston said...

Thanks for the review, Don!

Carroll said...

Aargh! I just stopped by your blog again and noticed I didn't proof read the comment I posted!

Should have written "What a compliment YOU'VE GIVEN Nancy, Lael and me!" Guess everyone knows my secret now--I'm a terrible proofreader!

Lael said...

Thanks, Don, for letting us visit you on our tour. It's always interesting to get a man's perspective on a women's novel. I have a gentleman friend who reads all of my books, and he offers insights that I haven't thought of. I think reading Surprise Packages without being familiar with the first two books must have been like being plopped down in the middle of someone else's vast, noisy family reunion!