Good Things I Wish You: A Novel

Good Things I Wish You: A Novel

by A. Manette Ansay
3.5 10


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Good Things I Wish You: A Novel by A. Manette Ansay

“A lyrical, haunting exploration of loves past and present. Witty, sprightly, surprising, this deeply original and utterly captivating new novel … beguiles the senses and dazzles the heart. A beautiful book.” —Diana Abu-Jaber

“As the parallels between the two relationships multiply, the novel catches fire. . . . Ansay is a gifted and sure-handed storyteller.” —Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

From the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Vinegar Hill and Midnight Champagne comes a beautifully written story of two summer romances—one of a brilliant pianist, one of a struggling novelist—separated in time by nearly two centuries. If you enjoy the novels of Ann Patchett (Bel Canto), Claire Messud (The Emperor's Children), and Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin), you’ll find much to love in A. Manette Ansay’s stunningly original Good Things I Wish You.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061239953
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/22/2010
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

A. Manette Ansay is the author of eight books, including Vinegar Hill, Midnight Champagne (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award), and Blue Water. She has received the Pushcart Prize, two Great Lakes Book Awards, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches in the MFA writing program at the University of Miami.


Port Washington, Wisconsin; now lives in New York City

Date of Birth:


Place of Birth:

Lapeer, Michigan


MFA, Cornell University, 1991

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Good Things I Wish You 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book started out with such promise. Soon fizzled out. Character and plot development went nowhere. Seemed as though the author lost interest in the story....I know I did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book b/c I was interested in the relationship between Clara Schumann and Bach. However, most of the book ended up being about the author and her own life. It was a decent book, just not exactly what I expected. I would have liked to hear more about the Schumann/Bach relationship, read more of the letters between them, see more photos, etc.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
scantrll More than 1 year ago
I was wanting a lot more from this book. Honestly I only felt like 1/2 of two different stories. I don't know if that's what the Ms. Ansay meant you to feel, but I was horribly disappointed in the end. Also, as a NOOK reader, the formatting is WAY off in some points and from page 176 or so till 200+ is nothing but author's notes and bibliography. I wanted to know more of what happens to the main characters which is the only reason this gets 2 stars instead of 1 from me. They were good enough characters that I wanted more, but the author never gave it to me and it felt very cut off at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sunnyMS More than 1 year ago
I haven't read a good love story for a long time. But I was glad that I found this book. I enjoyed every single lines with two different couple at the separate time. This book was very well written and I couldn't put it away.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
Award winning novelist Manette Ansay (Vinegar Hill, Midnight Champagne, Blue Water) doesn't seeem to shy away from challenges. She set quite a task for herself in crafting a work of fiction focusing on two complex relationships - one historical and the other contemporary. While the author assures readers in an Author's Note that this is purely a work of fiction, the inclusion of letters and diary excerpts penned by Clara Schumann, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms tend to create a feeling of historical accuracy. To my knowledge the question of whether or not Clara and Johannes were close friends or lovers is still the subject of discussion. One can draw his or her own conclusions when reading some of their correspondence included in this story. From Johannes to Clara in 1856: " I wish I could write you as tenderly as I love you and tell you all the good things that I wish for you. You are so infinitely dear to me, dearer than I can say....." From Clara to Johannes in 1858: "I wish I could find longing as sweet as you do. It only gives me pain and fills my heart with unspeakable woe." The other relationship explored takes place over a century later and involves 42-year-old Jeanette Hochmann, a novelist who is working on a book about the bond between Clara and Johannes. Recently divorced she is wounded, alone save for her young daughter, Heidi. Through a dating service she meets Hart, a handsome German businessman . By coincidence his native home is Leipzig, which was also Clara's, and he offers to help Jeanette with her research by translating for her. Of course, more than translation develops. For this reader the lives of the Schumanns and Brahms proved more intriguing than the connection between Jeanette and Hart. Nonetheless, the play of a historical pairing with a modern one does result in entertaining reading reminding us that the stories of love truly are timeless. - Gail Cooke
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ajpohren More than 1 year ago
In Good Things I Wish You, author A. Manette Ansay delivers a rather unique writing style, with her plotting of interweaving historical fact/fiction, with present day. Starting out with Jeanette, a woman and single mother of a young daughter, who is recovering from a divorce, we learn of her struggles to find her way, as she writes her first book. The book that she is crafting, is all-encompassing, in a way that the characters wrap themselves around Jeanette and ache for their story to be released. This story? The tale of Clara Schumann, a world renowned female pianist, her husband well-known composer Robert Schumann and the young protege Johannes Brahms. As a surprise twist of fate, Jeanette meets a rather mysterious man who grew up in Leipzig, East Germany, birthplace of Clara Schumann. There is a strange sort of connection between Jeanette and this man, Hart, who claims that men and women can never be friends and quite frankly, he does not feel any sort of chemistry between himself and Jeanette. However, as Hart aides Jeanette in translations and researching the various places from which Clara's, Robert's and Brahms' stories take place, the connection between the two become even greater. This brings forth, again, the question: Can women and men ever be just friends? More importantly, doesn't the basis of a friendship and companionship make for the most stable of relationship foundations? Perhaps, perhaps not. Though not the typical romance, I found the relationship between Jeanette and Hart an interesting one. A combination of historical fiction and contemporary fiction, Good Things I Wish You is a story that will reach an array of audiences. Two completely different woman, living many decades apart, yet sharing so many similarities and common traits. I found the similarities between Clara's love and desire to compose and Jeanette's love and desire to write, an interesting likeness. Both with children they love (though Clara did consider the children that she birthed, her husband's children, rather than her own), torn between love and duty to them and their deep seeded need to express themselves through their creative talent. In both past and present, this is often the case for women, I think, putting aside their own desires and goals until those around have been reached and taken care of first. I know, woman's lib and all of that aside, I still see this as a common trend. I have to admit that when I first received Good Things I Wish You, I wasn't completely aware of what I was in for. The story sounded incredibly appealing and the twist of past and present blended in one story intrigued me. When the book first reached my hands, I randomly flipped through pages, as I so often do when I receive a lovely new adventure to lose myself within. I have to say that I was beyond thrilled when I saw the photographs enclosed throughout the book. They are amazing and lend a completely new dimension to the story, itself. Amid the photos are excerpts of letters and diary entries sent between Clara, Robert and Brahms, as well as footnotes from the destinations these were obtained. What a wondrous way to follow up the intrigue and curiosities that this story conjures up for these historical figures. Though the story interweaves past and present, the transitionings of these times and chapters are seamless and incredibly smooth. The writing style of A. Manette Ansay is largely enjoyable and her characterizations
harstan More than 1 year ago
Recently divorced, forty-two years old Floridian Jeanette Hochmann is struggling with balance. She works at the university, is raising her four years old child virtually alone, and is writing her novelization of the four decade relationship between nineteenth century German pianist Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms, her spouse Robert's protégé as composers. Jeannette, a child prodigy classical pianist, hopes to bring freshness to the legendary triangle, but instead feels lethargic and despondent following her acrimonious divorce war. Through an agency Jeanette meets slightly older entrepreneur Hart, the first man she dates in nineteent years. He coincidently comes from Clara's hometown Leipzig, Germany. Hart kindly helps her with translations of her research from German to English though they seem to have nothing in common except they are attracted to one another. In fact she realizes his ten year old daughter, a musical prodigy, is much more like her than Hart is. As they travel Germany and Switzerland together, their relationship heats up yet increasingly seems to emulate that of Clara and Johannes. This is a fascinating look at the legendary triangle between the Schumann duo and Brahms in which the nineteenth century subplot with original photos and letters is extremely gripping; but in turn makes the modern day entry seem intrusive. The cast in both centuries are fully developed, however once again the historical persona steal the show. Although GOOD THINGS I WISH FOR YOU might have been better as an exclusive look at the historical relationship, fans will enjoy A. Manette Ansay's fine tale of how convoluted life is then and now. Harriet Klausner