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.
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 eventsâ€”baptisms
and balls, weddings and funeralsâ€”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 matchâ€”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 outâ€”a fact that will have a
shattering effect on all their lives.