When I was just out of college and in my first year of teaching, my mentor and I shared a love of books and reading. She loaned me Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg, which was her favorite book. I had never read a book more simply and beautifully written. It still stands out to me as one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
When I am in a reading slump, I can always count on Elizabeth Berg to get me out of it. Her writing is simple and her characters complex. The chapters are short enough that you can say, “one more” and before you know it, you are done with the book. She is the only author whose books I have read in one sitting.
Night of Miracles starts out by reminding the reader of what the earth looks like from an airplane, quilt patches of farmland, neat divisions of road, perfect little boxes of houses. Elizabeth Berg reminds us of the feeling we get when we see that: a feeling that the world can be organized and orderly.
And then she takes us into a small town, like we often imagine when we are flying over them. She takes us into the lives of various people in town. Lucille, a retired school teacher who teaches baking classes. Tiny, an overweight taxi driver. Monica, a heavy set waitress. Iris, a new transplant from Boston. Abby and Jason and their son, Lincoln, and the issues that arise for them. Maddy, who has moved away but comes back to visit with her daughter. Arthur, who died, but who is important in the lives of several characters.
This is a beautiful story about love and loss, forgiveness, sacrifice, friendship, neighbors, marriage. I recommend it to anyone who loved The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom or Us Against You by Fredrik Backman.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House for my advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
From the Publisher:
The feel-good book of the year: a delightful novel of friendship, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change your life, by the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv
Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.
When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community—just when they need it the most.
“Elizabeth Berg’s characters jump right off the page and into your heart” said Fannie Flagg about The Story of Arthur Truluv. The same could be said about Night of Miracles, a heartwarming novel that reminds us that the people we come to love are often the ones we don’t expect.