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Serendipity, April 2009
by Louise Shaffer

Ballantine Books
352 pages
ISBN: 0345502094
EAN: 9780345502094
Trade Size
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"Will the family dynamics of past generations provide the answers this woman is looking for?"

Fresh Fiction Review

Serendipity
Louise Shaffer

Reviewed by Lynne Dillon
Posted March 16, 2009

Women's Fiction

As the daughter of famous parents and an even more famous grandmother, Carrie Manning begins a journey that will take her deep into their past. The death of Carrie's mother has set her free to finally find the answers to questions that have tortured and confused her for her entire life.

Why wouldn't Carrie's mother have any contact with her mother, the grandmother Carrie has never met? Why wouldn't she ever speak of Carrie's own father, and why, when there is money to burn, does she throw it all into homeless shelters and sleep on the couch of their one-bedroom apartment so Carrie can have the bed? Most of all, Carrie wants to know why it's so bad to feel happy.

The journey begins with Carrie's great-grandmother, a woman who gave up everything for her husband and her family, but refused to allow her daughter to make her own choices. It continues on into the twisted relationship of Carrie's grandmother and Carrie's mother, both strong-willed and in their own way unbelievably self-centered.

SERENDIPITY is an exploration of the life experiences that molded these women's lives and the lives of those close to them. Mother-daughter relationships are always fascinating and complex, and Ms. Shaffer does an amazing job of putting the pieces together for us.

Learn more about Serendipity

SUMMARY

Louise Shaffer brings to life three generations of Italian American women in this stunning novel of surprises, secrets, and serendipity.

A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family’s mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself.

Carrie’s search reveals the fascinating life stories of her estranged grandmother Lu, a glamorous Broadway star whose dreams came with a price; her great grandmother Mifalda, who gave up everything to come to America as a sixteen-year-old Italian bride; and her father, Bobby, the charismatic Broadway genious who wrote some of Lu’s greatest musicals and died tragically young. At the heart of Carrie’s discoveries lies the reason for her mother’s complicated life, and a dark secret that has been buried for thirty years.


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