Monday 9 June 2014

Gossip by Beth Gutcheon

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 – a columnist chronicling the public and private lives of New York’s wealthiest – and Avis Metcalf – a prominent figure in the art world. 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. 
When a marriage means that Dinah and Avis must set aside their differences, Loviah must manage her two friends’ secrets as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough as things turn out …

Gossip by Beth Gutcheon was published in paperback by Atlantic on 5 June 2014 and was first published by Atlantic Books back in February 2013, when it received great reviews;
'Gutcheon writes poignantly, but with a sharp comic edge, about female friendship, the bleakness of fate and the disappointments of love; and her grasp of the profound connection between clothes and emotion recalls Nancy Mitford at her most seriously frivolous.' Sunday Telegraph 
'A graceful and elegant novel…Gossip builds to a stunning and devastating finish' New York Times 
'An intense, glamorous novel' Red 
'this guilty-pleasure novel's packed with secrets and scandal' Easy Living

Loviah French, or 'Lovie' as she is known, is piggy-in-the-middle.  She met and made friends with both Dinah and Avis when they all attended the same boarding school back in 1960.  Dinah and Avis are worlds apart, and can't stand each other, yet both of them are great friends to Lovie.

The story is set in New York and is told in the voice of a now middle-aged Lovie.  Lovie is looking back on her friendship with the other two women and Gutcheon's tells the story of how they all grew to be the women they are today ... except for one thing .... the reason that Lovie is telling their story, and something that is not revealed to the reader until the very end of the story.

Beth Gutcheon is not a thrilling author, she doesn't shock or dismay, but she has a beautiful style that is both gentle and funny.  Her insight into the often complicated world of female friendships is so precise and can be both satisfyingly familiar to the reader and also a little reminder of how friends can often cause the deepest of wounds.

Three women, all so very different, yet all with their own compelling voice. I am really not surprised that Beth Gutcheon has had such success in her native America if her novels are all as well written as Gossip - I really hope that she has as much success here in the UK.

My thanks to Alison Davies from Atlantic Books who sent my copy for review.

BETH gUTCHEON grew up in western Pennsylvania and was educated at Harvard. She has spent most of her adult life in New York City, except for sojourns in San Francisco and on the coast of Maine. In 1978, she wrote the narration for a feature-length documentary on the Kirov ballet school, The Children of Theatre Street, which was nominated for an Academy Award, and she has made her living fulltime as a storyteller (novelist and sometime screenwriter) since then. Her novels have been translated into fourteen languages. Still Missing was made into a feature film called Without a Trace. Several of her novels have been US bestsellers.

For more information visit her website
Find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @BethGutcheon

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