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.
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
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.