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Losing her father on the night she was born could have torn Beryl Graham's family apart. Instead, it knitted them together. Under their mother's steady guidance, Beryl and her older sisters, Isak and Rumer, shared a childhood filled with happiness. But now Mia Graham has passed away ...
Losing her father on the night she was born could have torn Beryl Graham's family apart. Instead, it knitted them together. Under their mother's steady guidance, Beryl and her older sisters, Isak and Rumer, shared a childhood filled with happiness. But now Mia Graham has passed away after battling Alzheimer's, and her three daughters return to their New Hampshire home to say goodbye.
Swept up in memories and funeral preparations, the sisters catch up on each other's lives. Rumer and Isak have both known recent heartache, while Beryl has given up hope of marriage. But surprising revelations abound, especially when they uncover Mia's handwritten memoir. In it are secrets they never guessed at--clandestine romance, passionate dreams, joy and guilt. And as Beryl, Rumer, and Isak face a future without her, they realize it's never too late to heed a mother's lessons--about taking chances, keeping faith, and loving in spite of the risks. . .
"Nostalgic and tender. . .summons the pain of loss, the balm of sisterhood, and the unbreakable bonds of family that help us survive both." --Marie Bostwick, New York Times bestselling author
Praise for the novels of Nan Rossiter
"Eloquent and surprising. . .I love this story of faith, love, and the lasting bonds of family." --Ann Leary, author of Outtakes from a Marriage on The Gin & Chowder Club
"An intimate portrayal of a family in crisis, with good character development and a bucolic setting." –Publishers Weekly on Words Get in the Way
Beryl Graham pulled on her North Face jacket and ran her fingers through her short dark hair as she walked around her pepper white Mini Cooper to open the passenger door for Flannery. The soulful old bulldog looked up at her and then eyed the distance to the ground warily. "C'mon, Flan-O, it's not that far. You can do it," she urged. The stout, short-legged dog edged cautiously to the door and tentatively reached her paw out over the gaping precipice before shaking her sloppy jowls and backing away. "It's not the Grand Canyon, you know!" Beryl teased affectionately, noticing that drool was now splattered across her dashboard. The homely face gazed at her forlornly and she couldn't help but laugh. "I know, I know, someday I'll be old and need help, too ... although, honestly, I think I'd rather leave this earth before I need help!" She reached around Flannery's barrel-shaped belly, scooped her up, and set her gently on the ground. Without looking back, the compact canine waddled off, sniffing the new dandelions sprouting up everywhere across her old stomping grounds.
Beryl watched her go and shook her head. She opened the trunk, pulled out two threadbare green bags, bulging with groceries, slung one over each shoulder, and then wedged the bag of Macintosh apples into the cardboard box from the package store. She hoped she'd remembered everything: two bottles of Toasted Head chardonnay for Isak, "and a Barefoot Pinot for good meshah," she murmured, mimicking her oldest sister's New England accent, and a bottle of Rex Goliath for Rumer. "The one with the roostah on it," Rumer had said, trying to trigger Beryl's memory; but when Beryl had stood in front of the red wines, she couldn't remember if Rumer had said Merlot or cabernet, so she'd finally decided on Free Range Red, knowing her organically minded middle sister would appreciate that the "roostah" had been allowed to wander.
Beryl hitched the box up into her arms, reached into the corner of the trunk for the small paper bag of beeswax candles and a fresh tin of English breakfast tea leaves, and tried to balance everything on her knee while she closed the trunk. "Not happening," she muttered. It didn't matter, she wasn't staying long. She just had to drop off the groceries, get Flan settled, and then head to Logan to pick up Rumer. She looked up at the old farmhouse full of memories. Its peeling white paint glowed in the melancholy light of late-afternoon sun, and its windows reflected the bright flames that were streaking across the azure sky. It looked as if an artist had dipped his brush in orangey pink water and swept it across the scene, washing it in the translucent warm hues of day's end, and then splashed bright, fiery orange on the windows. Beryl could almost hear her mom's soft, unassuming voice quoting one of her favorite writers: "The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode." Beryl smiled, remembering how much Mia had loved Thoreau—she even named her cat after him—and then her smile dissolved, remembering that she'd forgotten to feed the famous author's namesake who, after thirteen years, still presided over Mia's tea shop. Oh, well, poor Thoreau would just have to wait.
"Stay around, Flan-O," she called over her shoulder. The pudgy dog nosed around under the tire swing that hung from a majestic, old oak tree but didn't look up. "No deer poop!" she warned, but Flan didn't hear—or else chose to ignore her—because she suddenly began to gulp down the new delicacy she'd found. "Okay, if you must. But please don't roll in it!" As if on cue, Flannery fell on her fat side and began wriggling around in the tall grass. Beryl shook her head and looked up to heaven. "Mum," she implored, "could you please get your dog to behave?"
She set the box on one of the Adirondack chairs on the front porch and fished around in her pocket for the key. Finally, she pulled the entire contents out of her pocket and realized, in alarm, that she was still carrying around her mom's wedding rings. She slipped them on her finger, found the key, unlocked the door, picked up the box, and went inside. Setting everything on the old Formica table in the kitchen, she took off her jacket, threw it over a chair, and opened the fridge. When the light didn't come on, she had a sinking feeling the power was out; then she remembered that she'd unplugged it after she'd helped her mom move into the nursing home.
Mia had just turned sixty-six when Beryl began to suspect that something was wrong. Initially, she told herself that her mom was just getting forgetful—perfectly normal for someone her age. But when she started having trouble remembering the names of people she'd known all her life and forgetting to take inventory and place orders—tasks that were necessary to keep her tea shop running smoothly—Beryl began to wonder if it was something more. She and her sisters had grown up working beside their mom at her shop, Tranquility in a Teapot, and at first, she tried reminding her mom what tasks needed to be done, but when that didn't seem to help, she just started doing the chores herself. She also began paying closer attention when Mia was helping customers and soon realized she was having trouble recalling where items were stocked on the shelves. It's so unlike her, she'd thought, Mum knows this shop inside out. But it wasn't until Beryl stopped by the house one evening after work that she'd really begun to worry.
As soon as she walked in, the smell of gas almost knocked her over. She rushed to the kitchen and found the oven on and a pilot light out! She immediately turned off the oven and pushed open the windows, but her mom, sitting in the next room, was completely unaware of the danger and only said that she thought something smelled funny. Later that night, Beryl called Rumer at home in Montana and mentioned the incident, and by the next morning, Isak was calling from California with the name of a neurologist. Beryl said she was sure old Dr. Hamilton could diagnosis the problem, but Isak had insisted Mia see a specialist, so three weeks later, on a bright blue sky September morning, Beryl had taken Mia to Boston.
They'd arrived early, hoping to have lunch in Quincy Market, and after perusing the menus of several outdoor cafés, they picked a sunny table and ordered Waldorf salads, mint iced tea, and a slice of peach raspberry pie to share. Afterward, they happily discovered that they still had time to look around in the shops. In one boutique, Mia had found a lovely silk scarf for Isak; at an outdoor stand, she'd purchased a pair of beautiful turquoise earrings for Rumer; and finally, in a little bookstore at the end of the building, aptly named The Bookend, she'd discreetly tucked away a small package for Beryl. Then she'd happily declared, "I've officially started my Christmas shopping. I only hope I can remember where I've put these things when Christmas gets here."
"Don't worry, Mum," Beryl had said, putting her arm around her, "I'll remind you." As they'd turned to go, Mia bumped into a display of books, sending a whole stack tumbling to the floor, but when they knelt to pick them up, a friendly voice called, "Don't worry. It's my fault. I knew they were too close to the counter."
Beryl stood up, balancing the books in her arms, and when she saw the source of the voice, her face lit up. "Micah?"
A slender man peered at her over round horn-rimmed glasses, looking puzzled, and then smiled shyly. "Beryl!" He looked over her shoulder and saw Mia too. "And Mrs. Graham!" Happily surprised, he came around the counter to give them each a hug. Beryl hugged him back warmly, but Mia pulled away, looking startled and confused.
Beryl quickly came to her rescue. "Mum, y
Excerpted from More Than You Know by NAN ROSSITER. Copyright © 2013 by Nan Rossiter. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Posted September 17, 2013
This was my first book by Nan Rossiter and loved it! As we get older we all are concerned about our parents’ last years; how to handle health care, nursing homes, funerals, and the aftermath. The novel was well written with loveable characters. I hope someday when it is time-- my sister and I will find some family secrets such as this!
The three sisters are all different with names of famous authors raised by a single mother (her husband dies in a car accident on their 5th wedding anniversary and the same day her last daughter is born. The Mother (Mia) has a great outlook on life and loves life daily and loved by many.
When the mother dies, the three daughters come home to go through the tea house her mother owned and the contents of the house. What they find is a secret and lovely romance with a famous married artist. The romance was going on for years after of course the husband had died. The paintings and the letters to her daughters were bittersweet. Unfortunately by the time his wife dies, she has lost her memory and is in a nursing home.
In the meantime while they are dealing with their mother’s affairs, the three sisters have issues of their own. Beryl (the one who lives in the same town) revisits her an old friend and his daughter (his wife has died), and the other two sisters have marriage and family problems as well.
A beautiful story – I highly recommend to men and women of any age - I look forward to reading more by this author!
5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 25, 2013
More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter is a quiet sort of book. It's not one to come in and take you by storm, and can I say Thank Goodness! There was already a lot of emotion in the book, and drama that was natural to the plot... It didn't need a lot of grandstanding by the author.
PLOT IN A JOT:
Three sisters come together after the death of their mother. Each sister is at a crossroads and/or dissatisfied with her life. How they cope with the death of their mother and how to live their lives is at the heart of the novel.
LOVED LOVED LOVED ABOUT IT
I loved the moments when the sisters were together, remembering their mother, shedding tears. Mia, the mother, was a Godly woman... But after her death her daughters find out that she was definitely not a saint.
I also loved the pacing of the novel. It all takes place in about a week~ but through the natural flashbacks, it covers much more. It's never rushed.. More Than You Know is more of a stroll than a sprint.
Unfortunately, there were parts that I didn't particularly care for. Those were the written letter/ journal that the mother left behind for her daughters. While it gave a lot of insight, not only into her life and her loves (and her disease)... I hate epistolary novels. If the letter/journal goes on for more than a paragraph or two at a time, I tend to skim over them. These were done well, but... I don't know if there was a better way to do it or not. We, the reader, are enriched by the information and the connection to the missing character...
But I just don't like them. It's a personal preference thing, Too many bad ones that I had to choke through in college.
When all is said and done... I highly recommend this book. Although the subject matter is heartbreaking, the book itself is not. It's up-lifiting, oddly enough.Great for a summer beach read. Or even a sitting in the back yard, while your 7 year old plays pirates, muttering "Uh-huh! Go kill Captain Hook, Honey!"
Yah. I've done that.
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Posted August 15, 2013
I like this author's writing style but the story is so bland and boring. I got to the end and went blehhhh.
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Posted June 27, 2013
More Than You Know by Nan Rossiter
The girls are all back home to attend to their mother's funeral. As they are going through her thing they do find a ring with a card from David. None of them know who he is.
Love how the phrase in the book describes love and is the title. I have a similar one for one of our grandson-to the moon and back and his response is I love you more... Love to hear Micah and Charlottes response as it is so near to ours.
Their personal lives are in turmoil, for the most part as we find out more deeply about each of them.
The story also follows the life of Micah-a local who now runs a bookstore in Quincy, MA. His wife died and he has their daughter Charlotte to care for while living at his parents.
He helps them with more clues of who David is. There are newspaper clippings and I love hearing of the Old Man in the Mountain as I've seen it myself and have traveled there just last year to see what's left.
Love how they all get along, so easy with one another and as they find more clues in the letters she left them. Mia had met David when she worked at the artist colony serving meals. Her burden is a heavy one til the day before he's due to leave the area.
Loved learning so much from this book! I had just read the aviator's wife about the Lindbergh's.
Tragedy strikes the family anf they all rally together. Very detailed descriptions of the places and there are a handful of characters-easy to keep track of them all.
Recipes are included at the end!
I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review
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Posted October 11, 2014
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Posted April 27, 2014
Mia Graham almost lost her life the night their car was broadsided by a drunk driver. As it was, she lost her husband and gave birth to their third daughter: Beryl.
Now Beryl and her sisters, Rumer and Isak have come together to bury their mother, who died in the Nursing Home they'd had to move her to as she slowly succumbed to dementia. The three girls luves have diverged as two have married and Beryl remained to be there for her Mom.
As they begin the dreadful tasks that come with the end of life, they find a memoir of sorts that Mia has left behind, telling them of another love in her life, the joys and sorrows she shared with him, and how after the death of their father she had found love again.
Each sister is struggling with their own lives and as Mia is laid to rest, their lives are enriched by others whom she touched.
This book is a gift....a big time gift
Posted December 26, 2014
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Posted September 4, 2013
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Posted February 5, 2015
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