I have been reading quite a bit lately, so I thought I would try my hand at some book reviews, starting with my most recent read: Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer.

A charming story about 4 generations of women, from New Haven to New York. Told from the perspective of the youngest, Carrie, in 2008, shortly after her mother passed away. Carrie had not known her grandmother, due to a riff in the family that was not talked about. Her mother’s passing found Carrie being all on her own, and obsessing about where she came from.

The reader gets to know several lovable characters as the pieces of the puzzle of the secrets and history of Carrie’s family get revealed. Old Uncle Paulie, the 83 year old, older brother of Carrie’s grandmother, who is still as sharp as he ever was and moved to a nursing home only to keep a friend company. George Standish, another man in his 80’s who had been Carrie’s grandmother’s gay best friend and musical conductor through the hay day of Broadway theatre in the 60’s and 70’s. Mifalda, Carrie’s paradoxically humble and proud Italian-American great-grandmother. Lu Lawson, Carrie’s grandmother, a great star of the Broadway stage, who lived her life exactly as who she was, with no apologies. And Bobby Manning, Carrie’s eccentric father, who lived hard, writing smash hits for the Broadway stage, and enjoying his successes, dying too early when Carrie was a small girl.

I fell in love with all of these characters that Louise Shaffer painted so beautifully through this character driven story, with the intrigue of family secrets, personal discovery and growth and most importantly, love and forgiveness. Serendipity: A Novel is a wonderful, and quick read, that is a great escape on a Sunday, sunny afternoon.