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Gossip

Gossip, March 2012
by Beth Gutcheon

HarperCollins
Featuring: Dinah Wainwright; Loviah "Lovie" Walker; Avis Metcalf
288 pages
ISBN: 006193142X
EAN: 9780061931420
Kindle: B005PMWM54
Hardcover / e-Book
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"Who doesn't like a juicy bit of gossip?"

Fresh Fiction Review

Gossip
Beth Gutcheon

Reviewed by Sharon Galligar Chance
Posted July 5, 2012

Women's Fiction

The definition of gossip is a rumor or talk of a personal, sensational or intimate nature, or a person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts. But the original meaning of gossip came from England and meant the communication between two godparents about their godchild.

In Beth Gutcheon's novel, GOSSIP, all three of these definitions come into play as three schoolmates from boarding school grow up and find themselves the subjects of gossip in the circles of New York society.

As the owner of a small dress shop, Loviah "Lovie' French is privy to a lot of secrets and gossip. Who is marrying who? Who is cheating with who? Who is getting a divorce? The list could go on. People feel they can talk to Lovie. They know she will keep their secrets. They know she won't pass judgment. But there are certainly times when Lovie wants to say more during these exchanges. If they're bashing one of her friends, Lovie is tempted to speak up but sometimes it just isn't worth it to get in a fight over gossip. When it's her turn and she needs a shoulder to lean on, Lovie turns to her long-time lover, Gil, who also happens to be married. In private, Gil and Lovie can be themselves but in public they have to tone it down, otherwise people might spread "gossip."

Lovie's best friend Dinah Wainwright has made a career out of gossip, writing about the rich and famous people of New York. Her personality is very loud, rambunctious, and in- your-face. She loves to talk, and she loves to know about everything going on and who's doing it. She has two sons R.J., who is settled in his life with a wife and kids, and Nicky is the one she worries the most about. Lovie is Nicky's godmother, and she shares Dinah's worries about the dreamy would-be actor.

Lovie's other close friend is Avis Metcalf, who is the total opposite of Dinah. Two years older, Avis is quieter and more reserved. She's a little obsessed with her art career, and struggles to form a bond with her only daughter, Grace. Avis' friendship with Lovie is extremely strong, but it is put to the test when Grace and Dinah's son Nicky get married.

Lovie finds herself pulled between her two friends, especially when Grace and Nicky's marriage appears to be in jeopardy. It is a struggle to remain loyal to both friends and remain true to herself, a quandry that is put to the ultimate test when tragedy strikes, affecting all three women with its devasation.

Gutcheon presents her story of friendships through the voice of Lovie French. Written in a way, the reader feels that Lovie might be sitting across from them sharing the most intimate details of her life, and the lives of her friends. GOSSIP is compelling story full of many emotions, heartache, love, frustrations, and even a generous dose of humor. But it is the compelling sense of friendship and loyalty between the characters that is the star attraction of GOSSIP, and Gutcheon proves her mastery as a consummate storyteller with this spellbinding novel.

Learn more about Gossip

SUMMARY

Loviah "Lovie" French owns a small, high-end dress shop on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Renowned for her taste and discretion, Lovie is the one to whom certain women turn when they need "just the thing" for major life events—baptisms and balls, weddings and funerals—or when they just want to dish in the dressing room. Among the people who depend on Lovie's confidence are her two best friends since boarding school: Dinah Wainwright and Avis Metcalf.

Outspoken and brimming with confidence, Dinah made a name for herself as a columnist covering the doings of New York's wealthiest and most fabulous. Shy, proper Avis, in many ways Dinah's opposite, rose to prominence in the art world with her quiet manners, hard work, and precise judgment. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Lovie, they have been more or less allergic to each other since a minor incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented with what will prove to be unimaginable consequences.

These uneasy acquaintances become unwillingly bound to each other when Dinah's favorite son and Avis's only daughter fall in love and marry. On the surface, Nick and Grace are the perfect match—a playful, romantic, buoyant, and beautiful pair. But their commitment will be strained by time and change: career setbacks, reckless choices, the birth of a child, jealousies, and rumor. At the center of their orbit is Lovie, who knows everyone's secrets and manages them as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out—a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.


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