My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads: The critically acclaimed author of Good-bye and Amen, Leeway Cottage, and More Than You Know returns with a sharply perceptive and emotionally resonant novel about all the ways we talk about one another, the sometimes fine line between showing concern and doing damage, and the difficulty of knowing the true obligations of friendship.
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 and Avis Metcalf. 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.
An astute chronicler of all that makes us human, Beth Gutcheon delivers her most powerful and emotionally devastating novel to date. Gossip is a tale of intimacy and betrayal, trust and fidelity, friendship andmotherhood that explores the way we use “information” — be it true, false, or imagined — to sustain, and occasionally destroy, one another.
My thoughts: Gutcheon has a solid writing style and POV. I really have no strong opinions one way or the other with this book. It's about three women who went to an elite high school and had Lovie as the connecting point. Avis is the older of the three and much more refined. She marries rich albeit older and has a daughter named Grace.
Dinah's character is solid and remains unchanging. She is loud, fun and irreverent. She marries Richard and has two sons; one is responsible and the other is not. Her husband cheats and leaves to start a new family.
Lovie, the protagonist, is a scholarship kid in school who makes good connections and grows up to own a successful dress shop where designer names that mean nothing to me are dropped. I understand Old Navy, Gap and Kohl's. I know. Gasp. Anyway, Lovie is the recipient of secrets that are far too heavy to be responsible keeping but she generally does.
It's a lot of petty, rich women who have nothing more to do than go to parties, the theater, and summer in the Hampton's or some other place for people who don't work for a living. There is infidelity, death, friendship, broken promises, gossip, and recent history with the financial collapse along with the events of 9/11. There is also a shocking and senseless twist that is unresolved in the end.
It is written well but I felt little connection to the characters. There are nuggets of wisdom interspersed that I liked but as far as finding a commonality to the characters, it was mostly absent. Lifestyles of the rich and famous are lost on me.