I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Gossip by Beth Gutcheon
Published by William Morrow on March 5th 2013
Source: TLC Book Tours
The critically acclaimed author of Good-bye and Amen, Leeway Cottage, and More Than You Know returns with a sharply perceptive and emotionally resonant novel about all the ways we talk about one another, the sometimes fine line between showing concern and doing damage, and the difficulty of knowing the true obligations of friendship.
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.
‘Interesting how things change: the people you thought would be friends forever disappear, and others become more and more important to you over time.’
Lovie French is a sixty year old boutique owner living in Manhattan and is the narrator of the story. She is still close to her two best friends, Avis and Dinah, that she went to school with when they were young and over time their families have become family to her. Lovie details how their lives unfolded over time and who they loved and lost and the ongoing gossip that prevailed.
There was a strange detachment in the writing that made Gossip feel very lackluster which in turn made it hard to connect to any of the characters. It’s written as a retelling of past events and I couldn’t help but think it would have been more interesting and easier to connect to if it was written in present tense and as a form of flashback rather than a long series of recollections which would have lessened the ‘info-dump’ feel.
I felt Lovie was a strange narrator choice even though she was a part of the story she didn’t seem to have as much relevance. The story being told from Nicky or maybe even Grace (or both?) would have been a better choice as their story became the main feature in the end. The focus on the rest of the family formed the story as a whole but I would have liked to see more focus on Nicky and Grace to get a better idea of what led them up to the end events.
There were some beautiful moments of writing and I felt that the story had a lot of potential if not for the loose stitching that bound the multiple characters story lines together. Lacking in depth and a true connection to the characters, this was ultimately quite forgettable.