“Gaffney’s characters are appealing and realistic…Readers will race through this book.”
—New Orleans Times Picayune
“Poignant….Entertaining….As good as it gets.”
—New York Post
No other author writes about the lives and friendships of women with more warmth and grace than New York Times bestseller Patricia Gaffney. A true master of women’s fiction, with Circle of Three she flourishes the same breathtaking characterization and storytelling skills that made her previous novel, The Saving Graces, a readers’ favorite. The story of a woman grieving for her losses and her life, and her relationship with her overbearing mother and precocious young daughter, Circle of Three focuses on three generations of a troubled family, the anger and misunderstanding that separates them…and the love that holds them together. Gaffney does beautifully what Elizabeth Berg, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Anne Tyler also do so well: exploring the tricky bonds of family in novels both heart-soaring and heartbreaking.
Three generations of small-town Virginia women--troubled teen Ruth Van Allen, her equally insecure mother, Carrie Van Allen, and bossy grandmother Dana Danziger--struggle to overcome personal problems and self-absorption to grow closer as a family in Gaffney's sweepingly sentimental novel. When Carrie's unfeeling husband Stephen suddenly dies of a heart attack, she desperately wants to bounce back into the arms of divorced farmer Jess Deeping, her conveniently available high school sweetheart. Problem is, Dana never approved of this once wild boy whose rough and rural upbringing reminds her too much of the verbally abusive country home she tried so hard to escape by marrying spineless academic George. Dana also harrumphs Carrie's interest in helping Jess reproduce a miniature Noah's Ark to honor the request of dying Arkist religious cult member Eldon Pletcher. Nevertheless, early on in this sprawling book it becomes clear that, after much flaky deliberation, Carrie will get a second chance with the man she's always loved. Meanwhile, Ruth is experimenting with a perpetually stoned boyfriend and a job at a health-food store, and trying to get over the shock of her father's death. Gaffney (The Saving Graces) relies too heavily on stale pop cultural references and language in telling Ruth's story, and male characters take a lot of abuse in this female-centric drama. Nevertheless, she turns out some resonant scenes, including one in which steely grandma Dana finally admits to an addiction. Though handicapped by transparent characterizations and poor pacing, the novel offers a reliable if predictable emotional roller-coaster ride. Literary Guild/Doubleday Book Club selection.