If You Like Elizabeth Berg Novels Try Reading These Authors

Barbara10BroekStarred Page By Barbara10Broek, 20th Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
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Discusses the writer Elizabeth Berg and suggests writers who write in a similar style

Elizabeth Berg, author

Reading an Elizabeth Berg novel is akin to sitting down with your dearest friend and talking about everything in your life over several cups of coffee. Berg's novels evoke a cozy and comfortable feeling. Readers not only recognize the women in Berg's books, they ARE these women. Berg's characters are mostly middle-aged women facing typical daily dramas when a larger tragedy occurs.

In her balanced novels, Berg treats such subjects as death, terminal illness, spousal betrayal, familial estrangement, mid-life crises and unrequited love with dignity and gentleness, adding a dollop of humor when appropriate. Berg's tales may border on the maudlin, but they rarely cross over. Her interest is in putting her typical Everywoman characters in situations which require them to discover their inner strength and self worth.

Probably her most popular novel, Talk Before Sleep is the title fans recommend to each other and the novel new readers of Berg should start with. Timid Ann, always melting into the background, is nursing her best friend, Ruth, once vivacious and fearless, now in the final days of her battle with breast cancer. Berg emphasizes the importance and value of relationships between a motley family of women, even as they gather helplessly to support another in her dying.

Read A Like Ann Hood

Ann Hood’s first novel,Somewhere off the Coast of Maine, recounts the friendship of three women from their college days in the idealistic 1960s to the materialistic 1980s. Suzanne has turned her back on her flower child past and is now a high-powered executive on Wall Street. Her daughter Sparrow wishes her mother had retained just a bit of her youthful idealism. Claudia is mired in grief since the death of one of her sons, and Elizabeth is trying to bring herself to tell her friends she is fatally ill.

Read A Like Luanne Rice

Luanne Rice examines the lives of her female characters through their family relationships. Less lyrical in tone than Berg, Rice's stories offer deeper character and plot development and the occasional revelation of a dark family secret to explain character motives. There are two good choices for a starting point. Blue Moon tells the story of three sisters who run a locally known harbor restaurant and of their seafaring husbands. Stone Heart is a darker tale about a woman's return to her idyllic home town only to discover her sister's abusive family situation.

Read A Like Elinor Lipman

Elinor Lipman gives a more light-hearted look at family situations. Lipman's characters are a bit more broadly drawn and tend to look for the humorous side to all of life's unexpected twists and turns. In her break out novel, The Way Men Act, Lipman's protagonist, Melinda, is a college drop-out and former high school party queen who is now working as a floral designer in her college hometown. Next door is another "failed" high school classmate, Dennis, the football star who now owns a fly fishing shop. While designing bridal bouquets for the girls she snubbed in the halls, Melinda is trying to work up the courage to approach Dennis. Readers will enjoy Melinda's hapless attempts to put together a life without advanced education while trying to land the "guy next door."

Read A Like Jeanne Ray

Jeanne Ray explores the same themes with her characters in Julie and Romeo. The titular characters own competing flower shops and have been engaged in a family feud that goes back three generations. While experiencing the power of love late in life, Julie and Romeo attempt to keep their families unaware of their new relationship while both search for the reasons behind the rift between the clans. Deftly mixing tenderness and humor, Ray presents a love story between seniors that will appeal to readers of any age.


Ann Hood, Author, Book, Elinor Lipman, Elizabeth Berg, Jeanne Ray, Luanne Rice, Novel, Read A Like, Romance, Similar

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author avatar Barbara10Broek
Professional Librarian and freelance writer. Home Page: http://barbaratenbroekfreelancewriter.yolasite.com/

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