Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The House on Olive Street by Robyn Carr ***

This is the story of 5 women authors and how the tragic death of one of them changed their lives.

I've enjoyed the Grace Valley series and the Virgin River series by Carr. This one is women's fiction - it follows the lives of the 4 women left after one of the group, Gabby, is found dead on her 50th birthday from an aneurysm. The women had an ongoing writers' circle: one was Elly, the academic, and the oldest; Sable, a best-selling author with a secret; Barbara Ann, who writes category romance relatively successfully but yearns to break out of the mold and write best-sellers like Sable; and Beth - hmm I can't recall Beth's books, but she is shy and the youngest...

In addition to their lives as writers, each has completely different personal lives: Elly, long divorced, is thought to be a spinster but actually has a regular lover that she never introduces to the group. Sable lives isolated, afraid of having her past life found out, and afraid to have personal relationships. Barbara Ann has 4 young adult sons, all still living at home, and a loving if clueless husband - all her money gets sucked up by the boys needing toys, and she feels unappreciated by her family and her editor. Beth has a handsome womanizing abusive husband.

After Gabby dies, the women find a letter she has written to them (something she writes every New Year's Day) asking them to handle her paperwork. We learn about Gabby's life through a fictional autobiography she was writing that the 4 women try to finish for her. Eventually they all end up moving into Gabby's house for the summer, and create their own family group, including Gabby's mother and children and even Gabby's ex-husband.

It was a nice light read but wasn't as emotionally satisfying as the series I mentioned above. But it has been in my TBR a long time, so I'm fitting it into the "read something that's been on the TBR a long time, out with the old, in with the new" category!! 3 stars

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