Gossip by Beth Gutcheon
Genre: Women's Fiction, Chick-Lit
Pages: 278 (paperback)
Source: TLC Book Tours
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Loviah “Lovie” French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste, charm, and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need “just the thing” for key life events: baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals. Among those who depend on Lovie’s sage advice are her two best friends since boarding school days: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf. Despite the love they share for their mutual friend, there has always been a chilly gulf between Dinah and Avis, the result of a perceived slight from decades ago that has unimaginably tragic echoes many years later.
An astute chronicler of all that makes us human, Beth Gutcheon delivers her most powerful and emotionally devastating novel to date. Gossip is a tale of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship and motherhood that explores the way we use “information” — be it true, false, or imagined — to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.
Gossip is interesting enough but failed to draw me in. It was difficult to connect to the characters for a couple of reasons. First, the Lovie's storytelling is distant and unemotional; thus, I didn't feel anything either. Second, there is much focus on parties, clothing made by designers I've barely heard of, and summers in vacation homes. I just didn't connect with any of it. Halfway through the book the the characters were past middle-age and I it took me by surprise. For most of the book everything seemed to be moving without any real point. Then it ended in a dramatic way and I felt that things were left unresolved. It felt like the story finally got to an interesting point and then ended without much ado.
The writing style sets this one apart though. It's kind of weird in that Ms. Gutcheon follows each individual story/event from the beginning to its end, resulting in a a kind of jumping through time situation. For example, we are introduced to a character, told how they die, and any resulting consequences of the event. Then the next part of the book will carry on with that person alive and a part of it all. It's different and I liked it though it could be confusing at times.
Overall, a solid read though I failed to connect with both the story and the characters.