Tuesday Night Miracles

Tuesday Night Miracles

3.7 8
by Kris Radish

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In this poignant and transformative novel, bestselling author Kris Radish weaves a tale of five women yearning for change—and the potential for happiness that lies within every heart.
Free-spirited psychologist Dr. Olivia Bayer suspects she’ll need a miracle to help the four wildly different women in her anger management class.

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In this poignant and transformative novel, bestselling author Kris Radish weaves a tale of five women yearning for change—and the potential for happiness that lies within every heart.
Free-spirited psychologist Dr. Olivia Bayer suspects she’ll need a miracle to help the four wildly different women in her anger management class. Grace, a single working mother, can barely find a moment’s rest. Jane, a high-profile real estate agent, is struggling in the recession. Kit, in her fifties, has had it with her taunting older brothers. And Leah, a young mother of two, is starting over after ending a troubled relationship. All have reached a crossroads, and Dr. Bayer has an unconventional plan to steer them on the right track. As the class gets taken everywhere from a bowling alley to a shooting range, the women’s Tuesday meetings transform from tense, reluctant gatherings into richly rewarding experiments in female bonding. As Grace, Jane, Kit, and Leah open up—revealing secrets, swapping stories, and recovering long-lost dreams—old wounds begin to heal, new friendships are forged, and miracles manifest in the most surprising ways.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dr. Olivia Bayer is at the end of her career as a therapist when she is given a new group of women for court-ordered anger management classes. Her evaluation is all that stands between them and jail time. Kit has assaulted a domineering brother in a drunken rage after her mother’s death; elegant and controlled Jane took the spiked heel of a red stiletto to the face of a co-worker when a desperately needed property sale fell through; and Grace repeatedly rammed her car into her daughter’s boyfriend-from-hell’s car when she found it parked in front of the house. Leah, a last-minute addition to the group, is a battered wife living in a shelter with a story even more disturbing than the others’. Olivia decides that for once she is going to follow her own instincts and put aside the strict protocol usually required of such weekly group therapy sessions, with uneven results. Radish exhibits a deep understanding of and compassion for women who opt for fight rather than flight in tough situations. She does not trivialize them, their crimes, or the painful process of recovery; she has a keen eye for the good and bad in female relationships. The weak link here has to do with Olivia’s experimental approach to anger management, which comes across as underdeveloped and simplistic. Nevertheless, the strong personalities will resonate for many readers. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
Praise for Tuesday Night Miracles

"Radish delves into the hearts of four women in her latest novel and uncovers the feelings, insecurities and hidden hurts. Full of strong, complex characters, this story is riveting." —Romantic Times

"Reader alert: This is the kind of book you'd better commit to read if you start it, because you probably won't be able to put it down." —Huntington News

"Radish employs wry humor with a light touch here, and she includes details that are believable and tantalizingly possible. These things kept me reading and they kept me loving this novel. . . Tuesday Night Miracles is dynamite." —Washington Blade

"Not since How To Make An American Quilt by Whitney Otto have I been so interested in a group of women and their stories." —Girlfriends Book Club

"The characters take on many important issues, such as domestic violence, empty nests, family secrets, self-growth and forgiveness. The resolutions of each of their stories, including Dr. Bayer’s, are satisfying as was Tuesday Night Miracles. —Destin.com

Praise for Kris Radish
“Kris Radish creates characters that seek and then celebrate the discovery of . . . women’s innate power.”—The Denver Post
“An inspiring story for fans of Rebecca Wells and anyone with a strong woman in her or his life.”—Booklist, on Hearts on a String
“Radish unrolls a rollicking yet reflective read that adds to her robust repertoire of beloved fiction. . . . What’s a reader to do but relish the ride.”—BookPage, on Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA

"Radish exhibits a deep understanding of and compassion for women who opt for fight rather than flight in tough situations. She does not trivialize them, their crimes, or the painful process of recovery; she has a keen eye for the good and bad in female relationships…Will resonate for many readers.” —Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews
Four women are sentenced to a very unusual anger-management class. Olivia, a Chicago psychotherapist, is launching a daring new variant of the anger-management group sessions she has been leading for years. Her latest patients have been court-ordered to attend the class in lieu of jail, after angry outbursts landed them in the criminal-justice system. Kit went after her brother with a broken bottle after he criticized her care during their elderly mother's final weeks. When a deal falls through, Jane, a once-affluent broker whose business was decimated by the Crash of '08, beats a colleague with a stiletto shoe. Exhausted after a hard day of nursing, Grace reacts to her teen daughter Kelli's disobedience by wrecking Kelli's boyfriend's car. Leah, who lives in a domestic-abuse shelter, hits one of her children. To varying degrees, all four patients have man problems. Olivia, abetted by her amazingly sentient cocker spaniel Phyllis, challenges the women with assignments that reflect the unspoken longings of each: Jane is sent on a nature hike and to a children's birthday party, and Kit to a comedy club. Leah is chauffeured for a mani/pedi, and Grace escapes from a singles event to close a bar with a fellow divorcée. Group excursions include sessions at a rifle range and a bowling alley. All the women, including Olivia, harbor secrets. The framework of an anger-management class offers many opportunities for spellbinding storytelling, and Radish avails herself of almost none. Too often the women's debacles provide a platform for platitudinous preaching and pat affirmations rather than for insightful examination of their anger issues. An intriguing concept, woefully underdeveloped.

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Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
7.96(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt


Truth or Consequences

The three manila files on Olivia’s dining-­room table have been opened and closed so many times that the edges are stained with coffee, several varieties of pasta sauce, more than a few red-­wine streaks, and the dark imprints of each one of her tiny fingers.

Before she grabs them this time she brushes her hands along her well-­worn navy bathrobe, leaving a long white trail of pretzel salt down both sides. When she glances at herself in the hall mirror on the way to her favorite living-­room chair, she laughs out loud, because the dark bathrobe that grazes her ankles and leaves her large white fluffy slippers exposed makes her look like a human-­size blue penguin.

If Olivia Bayer could change one thing about herself, even this late in the game, it would be her stumpy legs. Forget about the bad knee, her inability to qualify for LASIK eye surgery, or the twenty other physical tragedies that manifest themselves pretty much 24/7. She wants gams long enough to let her reach the top shelf.

Tonight the top shelf is the least of her worries. Olivia hasn’t even met the three women whose words are waiting for her inside the thin files, but she has a veteran’s suspicion that this is not going to be a walk in the park. A naked run through a land-­mined street is more like it.

“Come on, Phyllis,” she says to the gorgeous tan cocker spaniel sitting in the doorway. Phyllis would follow her mistress to the ends of the earth—­and she does. “We’ve got work to do.”

She grabs the silver half-­glasses that are held together by three rubber bands, pulls down the reading light above her head, turns it on, takes a breath to steady her thoughts, and picks up the first file:

It’s not like this happens every day. I’m sorry, okay? What gets me angry is people who don’t do what in the hell they say they’re going to do. Waiting for someone else to do something. Crooked lines that should be straight. I don’t have much time in my life to sit down and think about things like this. Obviously I’m also mad at the economy or this would never have happened.

Good Lord.

As Olivia moves to the next file, she reaches down and runs her palm across Phyllis’s calm back. The three pieces of paper inside are written in handwriting so large and bold, and with a hand that pressed so hard, she sees holes when she holds the pages up to the light:

I’m really pissed at my mother, for starters. Why now? It doesn’t take a genius to know my brothers make me furious, and if there is a step beyond furious they push me there, too. Cheapskates. Deadlines. Empty wine bottles. The Vietnam War. Is this the kind of thing you mean?

Olivia can’t bring herself to move beyond page one in this file. She almost fears the file might rise up and slap the living hell out of her all by itself.

The third file, the last file, has been her favorite since the beginning of this interesting mess. When she’s not in her bathrobe, Olivia calls the mess “a challenge,” but here, in her home, it’s a mess. At least this file, with its five pages of lovely cursive writing, offers a glimmer of hope. Either that or the writer has this kind of exercise already figured out:

. . . so maybe it’s just that sometimes you simply forget and go too far. You know? Whoever you are, I bet you know—­especially if you’re a woman. But that’s avoiding the question. I get that. So: Loud music, obviously. Men who cheat. Fad diets. Those things get me angry.

This isn’t bad for starters. Olivia quickly reads through the other pages again until she comes to something she must have missed. How could this be? Is she reading this correctly or does she need new glasses again? Is all hope lost?

. . . that doesn’t give people younger than us the right to disobey us, to cross the lines we have drawn, to disrespect our generation. Sometimes these things work both ways. Sometimes someone has to make a stand.

She drops the third file into her lap with the other two and then pushes them all to the floor. She watches as they land on top of one another like large playing cards.

Olivia’s done this so many times it would be impossible for her to count. Years and years of files. Years and years of the faces and then the blinding reality of the failures mixed in with the successes—­sometimes too few successes.

And now this.

These three files and these three women and this chance—­one last chance to take a moment, a series of moments, perhaps a lifetime of moments, and create a miracle. How many miracles are left? How many more times can Olivia risk it before her own miracle card expires? She thinks about all the years of white lies when she gave someone an extra chance, tried something no one had ever thought of trying before, scorched her own heart yet again when her professional skills came so close to crossing the boundary—­a boundary that these three women in the files have obviously crossed. Is it even possible for a person to bring one kind of life to an end and finally start out in a new direction?

If only she knew the answers to her own questions.

Olivia hesitates before she touches the files again, and she makes what every colleague would call a rash decision. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s way past time. Retirement is waving its frightening hands in front of her face, and Dr. Olivia Bayer so wants to open up her secret bag of tricks and do something she has always dreamed of doing. This could be her last chance. But can she take that chance and make a real difference in the lives of these women? These women have been pushed over the edge, and what woman hasn’t been pushed over the edge the way they have? She’s already in trouble, and this pile of folders is like a blinking neon sign that is screaming, “Danger . . . danger!”

Then she bends down and randomly grabs the file with the blue dot on it. The blue dot and, yes, the red one and the green one, too, will have a name and a face tomorrow night.

She opens the file and her eyes land on the last paragraph. The blue dot is the smallest file, the one that has but a single page of writing, and she seizes one sentence.

“It’s not like I even have a choice.”

“Me, either,” she whispers to Phyllis, and then closes her eyes. With her eyes closed, she misses that absolutely glorious moment when day finally surrenders and the dark line of night marches swiftly across the horizon.

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