The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

Title: The Last Time I Saw You

Author: Elizabeth Berg

Genre: Fiction

About: (from the book flap):  From the beloved bestselling author of Home Safe and The Year of Pleasures, comes a wonderful new novel about women and men reconnecting with one another—and themselves—at their fortieth high school reunion.

My thoughts: Imagine getting ready for your 40th and final class reunion.  That’s what the characters in Elizabeth Berg’s latest novel are doing.  Everyone is a little nervous but since it’s the last one they make the effort to attend.  We meet the popular jock, the beautiful cheerleader, the nerds, and a host of others.  It was easy to fill in with my own high school classmate version of each character.  The event finally arrives and it was interesting to watch it unfold.  Berg made me laugh out loud one minute and feel the ache of sadness the next.

Since there are several characters some of them are not as developed as I’m used to finding in Berg’s novels – probably due to the fact that the book is only 244 pages. There are comic moments as well as bittersweet but, as with most Berg novels, the end is hopeful – not wrapped up with a pretty bow – but hopeful nonetheless. I liked that.

Recommend? Yes, for Elizabeth Berg fans and anyone who has contemplated going to a high school class reunion.

Source: Library

The Wife’s Tale by Lori Lansens

Author: Lori Lansens

Genre: Fiction

About: (Book blurb) On the eve of their Silver Anniversary, Mary Gooch is waiting for her husband Jimmy–still every inch the handsome star athlete he was in high school–to come home. As night turns to day, it becomes frighteningly clear to Mary that he is gone. Through the years, disappointment and worry have brought Mary’s life to a standstill, and she has let her universe shrink to the well-worn path from the bedroom to the refrigerator. But her husband’s disappearance startles her out of her inertia, and she begins a desperate search.

For the first time in her life, she boards a plane and flies across the country to find her lost husband. So used to hiding from the world, Mary finds that in the bright sun and broad vistas of California, she is forced to look up from the pavement. And what she finds fills her with inner strength she’s never felt before. Through it all, Mary not only finds kindred spirits, but reunites with a more intimate stranger no longer sequestered by fear and habit: herself.

Descriptive Words: One woman’s journey of self-discovery

Thoughts: This is such an intriguing novel.  I loved getting to know Mary Gooch. Lori Lansens gives the reader a lot of back story which I appreciated.  Watching Mary come alive as she set out on her search for her husband was enthralling.  The fact that she’d hardly been anywhere her whole life made me cheer her on all the more as she drove to Toronto, hopped a plane for California, and trusted seemingly kind strangers.  I wasn’t cheering the fact that she was looking for Gooch but more that she was making decisions and seeing them through.

Mary met so many interesting people once she arrived in California: the car service driver,  the Mexican day laborers, a hair stylist, a well-to-do mother of triplets (whose husband had recently left her).  Getting to know them a bit prompted Mary to ask herself questions about her own expectations of life, herself, Gooch.   Answering the questions started change within Mary which in turn led to other changes – much like the butterfly emerging from the cocoon.

Source: Audiobook (giveaway win)

Why I Chose: Selection of the Word Shakers Online Book Club

Recommend? Yes.  It would be a great book club selection.

Rating: 4 / 5 stars