Night of Miracles: A Novel

Night of Miracles: A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

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Overview

The feel-good book of the year: a delightful novel of friendship, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change your life, by the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv
 
Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.

When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community—just when they need it the most.

“Elizabeth Berg’s characters jump right off the page and into your heart” said Fannie Flagg about The Story of Arthur Truluv. The same could be said about Night of Miracles, a heartwarming novel that reminds us that the people we come to love are often the ones we don’t expect.

Praise for Night of Miracles

“Happy, sad, sweet and slyly funny, [Night of Miracles] celebrates the nourishing comfort of community and provides a delightfully original take on the cycles of life.”People (Book of the Week)

“Find refuge in Mason, a place blessedly free of the political chaos we now know as ‘real life.’ In Berg’s charming but far from shallow alternative reality, the focus is on the things that make life worth living: the human connections that light the way through the dark of aging, bereavement, illness and our own mistakes. . . . As the endearing, odd-lot characters of Mason, Missouri, coalesce into new families, dessert is served: a plateful of chocolate-and-vanilla pinwheel cookies for the soul.”USA Today

“Full of empathy and charm, every chapter infuses the heart with a renewed sense of hope.”Woman’s World

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780525509516
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/13/2018
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 3,440
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Story of Arthur Truluv, Open House (an Oprah’s Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg’s work has been published in thirty countries, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy and Still Happy. She lives outside Chicago.

Hometown:

Chicago, Illinois

Date of Birth:

December 2, 1948

Place of Birth:

St. Paul, Minnesota

Education:

Attended the University of Minnesota; St. Mary¿s College, A.A.S.

Read an Excerpt

Surely you’ve had this happen. You are seated by choice or misfortune in a window seat on an airplane. You look out as the plane takes off, rises up higher and higher, levels off. If you chance to glance down, you see a particular kind of order not realized on earth. You might feel a kind of hopefulness at the sight of houses clustered together in their various neighborhoods, at roads running straight or artfully curved, at what look like toy cars. You see the lakes and rivers, occasionally the wide stretch of ocean meeting horizon. You see natural quilts formed by the lay of fields and farmlands, you see the grouping of trees into parks and forests. Sometimes you see the splendor of autumn leaves or Fourth of July fireworks. Or sunsets. Or sunrises.

All of this can inspire something unnamable but nearly graspable, a kind of yearning toward a grand possibility.

And then you land.

But what if you landed differently?

Diamonds in a Box

After she has dried and put away her supper dishes, Lucille Howard sits at her kitchen table and contemplates what to do with another empty evening. A few years back, she might have sat out on the front porch with her former neighbor and then roommate, Arthur Moses, a man too good of heart for this world, in Lucille’s opinion, though she and many others profited plenty from his continual kindness.

She pushes herself up from the table and goes out onto her front porch to stand with her hands on her hips, taking in a better view of the night sky. From the kitchen window the stars are so clear they look like diamonds; out here, it’s even more glorious.

As a child, Lucille thought stars were diamonds, and that if only she prayed in the right way, the cigar box she kept under her bed would be filled with them some morning, and she could make a necklace out of them. Never happened. Well, of course it never happened, stars are not diamonds. They’re suns, really, just balls of gas. If there’s one thing Lucille hates, it’s how science has to rain on whimsy’s parade: Rainbows not a gift from leprechauns offering pots of gold, but only a trick of refraction. A blue sky not a miles-wide painting done by a heavenly hand, but molecules scattering light. Still, when Lucille sees the stars strewn across the sky on a night like tonight, they’re diamonds, and she thinks they might end up under her bed yet. Maybe she’ll put a box back under there. Tradition. Whimsy. Hope. Magical thinking, oh, she knows it’s magical thinking; and she knows, too, that she’s more prone to it now than she ever was. But what fun to imagine kneeling down to lift the dust ruffle and just check. And there they are at last, diamonds in a box, shining so hard they light up the surprised oval of her face.

It’s cold enough for a jacket, this being the first of October, but Lucille is still in the habit of summer (the roses still blooming!) and so has neglected to put one on. It feels like too much work to go back in and get one, so she settles into a rocking chair, wraps her arms around herself, and moves vigorously back and forth. There. That’s fine. It’s good for you to be a bit uncomfortable from time to time, especially if you’re only a few steps away from relief. People forget about the value of adversity. It was something she always tried to teach her fourth-grade students, how adversity can strengthen character. She also tried to teach them the value of having to work for something instead of it being handed to you the instant you said you wanted it. That’s what happens these days, no one waits for anything. But Lucille used to give her class construction-paper coupons with points for good behavior or for scholastic merit; and when they had enough points, she’d bake them a little baby pie in a five-inch tin, whatever kind they wanted, and they got to keep the tin. They’d loved that. Once, a boy named Danny Matthews had wanted to cut his pie up so that everyone in the twenty-three-pupil class could have some. That had been a good lesson in mathematics. Danny was one of those kids who was never much liked, no matter how hard he tried. He was a very clumsy boy (the kids called him Mr. Magoo for the way he tripped over and bumped into things), and perpetually disheveled. Well, Lucille liked him and his crooked grin, and he loved her—he might act up with others, but he always listened to her. She heard he’d enlisted and gotten killed in Afghanistan.

It was true what they told her on the first day of teachers’ college: you never forget some of your students. For Lucille, it was the cut-ups she could never keep from laughing at, the dreamers she had to keep reeling back into the classroom, and little Danny Matthews, with his ragged heart of gold.

Lucille gives herself a challenge: she’ll stay out here until it feels like her teeth might chatter. Then she’ll go inside, draw a bath, and have a soak in Epsom salts. One thing she’s grateful for are the grab bars she’s had installed, though even with them, getting herself down into the tub is a herculean task that reminds her a bit of elephants lowering themselves onto tiny stools, the way they used to have to do in the circus. She’s glad no one can see her, the way she grunts and huffs and puffs. Lord! they would say. Why don’t you switch to showers? You’re eighty-eight! True, but mostly she feels like she’s sixty-eight. When she was sixty-eight, she felt like she was forty-eight. And so, although she knows the logic is off, she tells everyone that she feels forty-eight.

Lucille will not give up her baths. No. In the tub, she is what she thinks being stoned must be like: she enjoys a feeling of timelessness and wide content. A float-y, perfumed detachment. After her bath, she’ll read her Maeve Binchy book, and then she’ll go to sleep.

Maeve Binchy died young. Seventy-two. Lucille bets there are seventy-two-year-olds who can still do the splits. If she could have given Maeve Binchy a year from her own life, you can bet she’d have done it. She actually cried when Maeve Binchy died, she sat in a kitchen chair and twisted a Kleenex in her hands and cried, and she felt a little tornado of frustration in her midsection because there was another good one, gone too soon.

Well, bath and bed and then another day will be done, and she’ll be another step closer to the exit grande. She’s not morbid, she’s not sad, she’s just a realist. She is closer to death. Everyone is, from the moment they slide out of the womb. From time to time, Lucille even feels a jazzy jump of joy, thinking about the journey to the place no one knows about, really, never mind the stories of the bright light and the tunnel and whatnot. No one really knows.

Just as she’s ready to get up and go inside, she sees the neighbor who bought her old house, right next door to the smaller house she lives in now, which was Arthur’s house. He willed it to Maddy Harris, the girl who used to live here with them, and Lucille now rents it from Maddy, if you call “rent” simply taking care of the place. The neighbor is coming out to walk his dog. Lucille has nothing against dogs, but that one is the ugliest thing she’s ever seen. An ancient, mid-size gray mutt who looks like he needs a shave. Bugged-out eyes like a pug. A bit bowlegged. A tail that looks more like Eeyore’s than a dog’s. And his name: Henry. Now, why in the world would you give a dog that looks like that a name befitting a king?

“Hello, Lucille,” the man calls over.

“Hello, Jason,” Lucille answers, though she muffles the name a bit. Is it Jason? Or is it Jeremy? Or Jeffrey? It’s a little past the point where she can ask; the neighbors have been there for almost a year. The J. person, his wife, Abby, and their ten-year-old son, whose name is . . . ​well, for heaven’s sake. Starts with an L. Liam? Leroy? Lester?

She closes her eyes to concentrate. Lincoln! That’s it. Another strange name, if you ask her. What’s become of Spot and Rex and Champ for dogs? What’s become of Mary and Sally and Billy for children?

This is what happens. You live past your time of importance and relevance and the world must be given over to the younger ones. Lucille is all right with that notion. As the old folks yielded to her as a young woman, she will yield to the young folks coming up after her. But there is one thing she’s going to get before she is here no more. And that is a very specific miracle, which she feels is owed her. In spades.

Lucille has kept her eyes closed and is startled now by the sound of footsteps: J. and his dog, coming up onto her porch. She cries out and leaps to her feet.

“Sorry,” the man says. “Did I scare you?”

“Yes!”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right.” She pulls her hand down from where it had flown up onto her chest.

“I just wanted to ask you if you’d be free to come to our house for dinner tomorrow night. Abby’s been meaning to ask you forever, but we—”

“Tomorrow night? What time?”

“Seven?”

“Seven! How can your son wait that long to eat?”

“Six?” the man asks, smiling.

“That’s better.”

“Okay, good, we’ll see you then.” J. pulls at the leash, but Henry apparently has no interest in going anywhere. He stares up at Lucille as though he’s forgotten something in her house and won’t leave without retrieving it.

“Run along now, Henry,” Lucille says. “Obey your master.”

The dog moves closer to her, sniffs at her toes, then at the hem of her pants. “I was just going in . . .” she says, and Henry barks: once, twice, excitedly.

Lucille puts her hands on her knees and bends toward the dog. “What is it, girl?” she asks. “Is Gramps in trouble?” She looks up at J., grinning.

The man stares at her blankly.

“Lassie?” Lucille says.

“Who’s that?”

“A show that used to be on TV? About a collie dog? And his boy, Timmy?”

“Ah,” J. says. “Right.” He pulls harder at the leash and the dog finally comes to him. “See you tomorrow.”

“I’ll bring dessert,” Lucille says. She has some cake left over from the last class she taught. Her baking classes have been getting so popular that she recently put an ad in the local paper to hire some help.

The man turns around. “Uh, we don’t . . . I hope this doesn’t offend you, but we don’t eat dessert.”

Lucille cannot think of one thing to say, but finally manages a stiff, “I see.” And here is a bit of a miracle right now, because what she really, really thought she’d say is, “Never mind, then. I don’t want to come.”

They’re probably vegans. They’ll probably have a square loaf of some brownish mass on an ugly pottery platter and a bunch of vegetables so barely cooked they’re next to raw. Lucille will put a potpie in her oven before she goes over, so she can eat when she gets home.

She goes inside, and the warmth of her house settles around her. Come here, dearie, says the kitchen. Come and have a nice slice of cake.

She does exactly that. Yellow cake with milk-chocolate frosting, a classic, but if you use Lucille’s recipe for yellow cake and buttercream (Southern, of course) it’s a bit more than a classic. It’s a table-pounder. It’s a groaner. “Oh, my goodness, this is five stars!” said a woman who took the class, after she tasted the cake. “Six!” said another, her mouth full, and Lucille has to agree. She never expected that the adult response to her desserts would be more enthusiastic than the kids’. But then for the young children she teaches (ages five to seven, no older, no younger, no exception), everything is still a wonder. One day, teaching a fancied-up version of Rice Krispies Treats, she had to compete for their attention with a squirrel that came to the kitchen window to look in. The weather’s another distraction. Let big fat snowflakes fall, or thunder boom, or a sudden wind whoosh through the trees, and she’s lost the entire class.

After Lucille eats the cake, she weighs herself in an effort not to have a second slice. It does not work, which she might have predicted, and so she does have a second slice. Well, she finishes the cake. Maybe it’s two and half slices. Maybe it’s three.

She bathes, and she supposes it’s having eaten all that cake that makes it even more difficult than usual to get out of the tub. Worth it.

She climbs into bed, reads for a while, then turns out the light. She lies flat on her back and stares at the ceiling, aware of a throbbing loneliness that comes over her from time to time. “Lucille Pearson,” she says into the darkness. And then she says it again, more slowly, “Luciiiiillllle Peeeearson.” Still not right. “Mrs. Frank Pearson,” she says, quite briskly, even authoritatively. That’s the one. That’s how she would have said her name, if she’d had the opportunity.

This is the first time she’s ever said out loud what she would have been saying for five years now, had she married him. The words make for a quick mix of emotions: First a zippy thrill, then a big ploppy sense of contentment, and it’s like butter in a pan, that feeling of contentment, melting and spreading out inside her. Then a terrible bitterness, because she is not Mrs. Frank Pearson, nor will she ever be.

She sighs and turns onto her side. Tears slide down her cheeks and she wipes them away. She supposes she’ll always cry over Frank: finding the first and only love of her life in high school and losing him, then finding him again—at eighty-three!—only to lose him again, to a heart attack, just like that. Here, then gone again. So very much here, then so very much gone.

She closes her eyes and tells herself to dream of him. Oftentimes, it works, telling herself to dream of someone, and her dreams are increasingly very real-seeming. After the death of her friend Arthur, she could summon him up on a regular basis. She dreamed of Arthur sitting on the porch with her, as he so often used to do, eating cookies, taking his tiny bites and brushing crumbs carefully into his hand.

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Night of Miracles: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 45 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perfect Berg! She creates warm and wonderful characters who live and love with poetic wonder. Always reading heaven.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ELIZABETH+BERG+HAS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I+love+this+book+and+all+the+others.++I+always+miss+the+characters+when+they+are+gone.
LibbyMcKinmer 4 months ago
Mason isn’t a big metropolis, but it is filled with residents with wonderfully big hearts. Lucille Howard is a very busy senior and her baking classes revealing the secrets of her Southern yellow cake and other sweet treats are a big hit. In fact, they’re so popular Lucille hires new Mason resident, Iris, to lend a hand…even though Iris is no baker when she starts helping Lucille. When her new next-door neighbors face a family crisis, Lucille is there to step in and offer support and assistance. There are a number of interesting and conflicted residents in Mason, each facing his or her personal challenges and changes. How each links with the other and how they handle what life has thrown at them makes for a story that makes the reader want to be a part of the community. Night of Miracles is a story to savor, with characters who you will be interested to get to know.
Debable 8 months ago
I loved this book! Sometimes you need a "Hallmark" story, a laugh with old friends, and to hope with new ones. “That is the gift of love, not only that you have somebody but that you are changed by somebody….People need something to depend on. They need something to love.” I am not a fan of Romance fiction or chic lit. Night of Miracles shares stories of wonderful, quirky characters. Anxious, hopeful, afraid, sad, jealous – Berg nails the emotions without becoming ponderous. Lucille is back and makes me smile out loud. “Lucille will not give up her baths. No. In the tub, she is what she thinks being stoned must be like: she enjoys a feeling of timelessness and wide content. A float-y, perfumed detachment….After Lucille eats the cake, she weighs herself in an effort to to have a second slice. It does not work, which she might have predicted, and so she does have a second slice.” Berg’s writing shines with gentle, unforced humor. “Iris is an animal lover, but spiders and centipedes don’t make the cut.” A simple phrase sets a scene, “a yellow plate that is perfect for morning.” Food descriptions might make you drool. “Thank the Lord for green pastures, blue skies, and butter that is 83% butterfat. The scent of the cake is so rich it makes her shoulders rise up and her hands squeeze into happy fists.” (I’d love to see recipes included!!) Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for granting access to an arc of this book for an honest review. I will visit Lucille and gang again!
bookaholique More than 1 year ago
4.5 Night of Miracles picks up where The Story of Arthur Truluv left off. Lucille has started giving baking classes out of her home. This allows her to meet people she would not have met otherwise and introduces us to some new characters who live in Mason, MO. Everyone in this story has an issue or two that they are dealing with, both happy and sad. I was thrilled to see this sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv. I enjoyed every single minute I spent with the folks from Mason. I liked how the characters lives intermingled and they all ended up helping each other. Even the sad parts were handled with compassion and love. I sure hope there will be more tales to come from this lovely little community. My thanks to Random House Publishing and Netgalley.
SL22268 More than 1 year ago
Lovely story! Thank you to Random House Publishing and NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a sweet book. A sequel to Arthur Truluv, this story continues with Lucille, and her baking business. She hires an assistant because she needs the help as she is getting on in her old age. Iris is her assistant who is friends with Tiny, who is in love with Monica (great storyline here). We can't forget Maddy and her little girl, Nola, who have become like grandchildren to Lucille. I recommend this to anyone that has read Arthur Truluv! If you didn't read it, I highly recommend reading it before reading Night of Miracles. Lovely story!
Selena More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I have ever read by Elizabeth Berg. Absolutely fantastic!! A wonderful heart felt and warming story that makes your heart smile. The characters are beautifully thought out and written and you find yourself loving them as if they are real. A story of love, struggles, forgiveness and life. I do plan on going back and reading The Story of Arthur Trulov because I loved this so much.
JHSEsq More than 1 year ago
Elderly Lucille Howard enjoys staying busy teaching baking classes in her Mason, Missouri home during which she shares her secret recipes and tips. In fact, word has spread about her classes and she's become so busy that she hires an assistant. Iris Wilson doesn't know anything about baking, but she needs a job and to keep busy. She has just moved to Mason from Boston and does not want to be reminded about the decision she made ten years ago -- and has regretted since. Lucille's next-door neighbors, Abby and Jason, ask if their young son, Lincoln, might stay with Lucille from time to time. Abby has been diagnosed with cancer and is going to need treatment that can only be received in nearby Columbia. Lucille forges friendships with newcomers Iris and little Lincoln, and remains close to Maddy, the young girl who moved in Arthur, Lucille's now-deceased beloved, when she was eighteen and pregnant. She worked as Arthur's housekeeper. Lucille moved in, as well, and they formed a family. Maddy had no mother, was estranged from her father, and had been bullied in school. But now she has nearly finished college and they keep in touch via phone calls and occasional visits. Lucille dotes on Maddy's little daughter, Nola. Sure enough, Lucille is the heart and soul of a community compromised of residents care and look out for each other created by author Elizabeth Berg. Berg's characters are reminiscent of close family or friends her readers know and, therefore, eminently believable and infinitely endearing. Time spent with them is as fulfilling as time spent with one's own family and readers will find themselves laughing at their quirks and flaws, and then crying with them when they endure tragedy. Lucille wisely relates her experiences aging, railing against her own mortality, and mourning the love she found late in life and, as a result, with whom she had such precious little time. She admits her own mistakes and regrets, but knows that dwelling on them won't change a thing. The result is a charming, uplifting, and lovely story that is thoroughly delightful and ends far too soon. Night of Miracles is, simply, a beautiful book that should not be missed. One of the best of 2018. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.
Edi McNinch More than 1 year ago
I was hooked as soon as the author described the view from an airplane window, as I have often looked down and had similar musings of the beautiful patchwork of our American landscapes and it's inhabitants. It is so well written I had no idea it was a sequel book until I looked for a list of the author's other books. However, it was the third chapter before I caught on that all the characters were intertwined in the little town of Mason. Wonderful study of human character and relationships if you look a little below the surface. It makes you feel that you want go there and meet these people and never want to leave. I rarely give 5 stars, but this one wins! A great read. I received this book as an advanced copy from Random House via NetGalley for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own. Thank you Random House and NetGalley.
Carolefort More than 1 year ago
Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg comes along at a time when we are approaching the holiday season. This is a follow-up to The Story of Arthur Truluv but is easily read as a standalone novel. It is the story of the importance of community in the small town of Mason, Missouri. The author has assembled a disparate cast of characters who cross paths and positively influence each other's lives. Small gifts of time and friendship bring joy and hope to the members of this small community. This little gem tells a beautiful story without being corny. It is the season of kindness and charity and Night of Miracles is the perfect book at this time. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
PattySmith87 More than 1 year ago
Many thanks to Netgalley, Random House and Elizabeth Berg for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advanced copy. I have always felt that if I could come back and live another life, I would choose to live that life in a small southern town. You know. The kind where everyone knows each other’s names and are up into each other’s business, where you find good people, salt of the earth and neighbours help each other out. The kind of town you can wander into, plunk down roots and watch the most beautiful sunset from your porch and later, on that porch, your friends will gather and someone will pull out a guitar, someone else the spoons and you’ll make music into the night. The Saturday afternoon movie version of what life would be like. Night of Miracles is set in that sort of town. As a quasi-sequel to Berg’s “The Story of Arthur Truluv”, this one can be read as a stand-alone, however, after you read it, you will want to pick up every one of her other books. Berg writes beautifully, simple, clean. This isn’t the kind of literary fiction with language so flowery it can give you a headache. But she can make you feel as if you are right there, walking down main street or smelling Lucille’s cherry pie right out of the oven (check out the recipe!). I wanted to don one of Lucille’s aprons, bake in a class with people who will become my friends, or stop in the diner for the usual, or teach with kids like Lincoln in my class. With a small cast of characters that you come to care about, life, with its ups and downs, is just a little better because you have people around to help you. If you read Arthur Truluv, you will know most of the characters. The story centers around Lucille Howard, the elderly woman Arthur lived with, who is renting the house that Arthur left to Maddy. Maddy and her daughter Nola, are not central to the story, but we do get to follow up with her and see how she is doing. Lucille, a retired teacher, has been teaching baking classes from her home and they are becoming quite popular. She has been watching Lincoln, the next door neighbour’s kid , because Abby, the mother has just been diagnosed with leukaemia. Lucille is also trying to grow her baking classes and hires Iris to help her out. Iris has left her husband and was on her way to San Francisco, when she stopped in Mason and decided to stay. She becomes friends with Tiny, a big lug of a guy who taxi’s everyone around town. Tiny is in love with Monica, the waitress at the diner, but is too shy to make a move. Monica, who is also in love with Tiny, tried to make the first move and ask him out, but poor Tiny got so flustered he said no and now the two of them don’t know what to do with each other. Trying to convey what this book is about by listing the characters and their sub-plot, is not doing any justice to the story. That is not what the book is really about. It is about people, who are quirky, odd, with strengths and flaws, who are just trying to get by, with every day’s challenge. How opening your heart to let people in, to lean on those around you, to be grateful for who you have in your life is what makes life worth living. It is about second chances, and how you have agency in how you live your life. It is about hope and how we all get a miracle. You’ll need tissues. It is a great read, one of my favourites. The characters are ones you will want to spend time with. Her writing is seamless as she
mzglorybe More than 1 year ago
“Never think winter will last when spring is equally inevitable.” It is highly recommended to precede this reading with “The Story of Arthur Truluv” by Elizabeth Berg. You’ll get much more satisfaction from this novel about his neighbor, Lucille, by knowing the background of the main characters and how they met and bonded. It’s a short, fast and delightful read. Elderly Lucille Howard started her baking classes while Arthur from book 1 was still alive and she was living in his home along with Maddy, a young woman he befriended after meeting her at the cemetery where he’d go to have lunch at the resting place of his deceased wife, Nola. Arthur left an indelible mark on their lives. In this novel Lucille is still grieving the loss of her “truluv” Frank, who died unexpectedly and shortly before they planned to be married. Her heart was empty and broken. A former teacher, Lucille was at loose ends, and baking is what gave her comfort. She was known for her “white thumb” as she always shared her baked goodies with others, young and old, male or female. Teaching others to do so seemed like the answer to her empty days, and brought her new experiences and yes, “lessons” of her own in this journey of life. Her classes are successful and growing, she brings in a new character Iris to help. Lucille’s cakes will have you salivating, wishing you were one of her students. Even so, you will learn a thing or two you may not have known about baking, one of my passions as well. In true Berg style, her sense of humor is evident in the pages of her novels, we share a few chuckles, shed a tear or two, and maybe even look at life a bit differently. I found this an enjoyable read, with lots to ponder about life and where it leads us. The friends we make that become family, the past and the present day... “Let the day’s fierceness and tenderness hold you... with these friends let it bless you.. Let its vastness be undisguised in all your days“ ~ Jane Hirshfield Berg rarely disappoints. Seeming effortlessly, she strings the written word together to bring us joy, laughter, love, and gratefulness for each true thing. My unbiased review was provided with thanks for an ARC from the publisher, Random House.
csmmom More than 1 year ago
If you read my review of The Story of Arthur Truluv, then you know that I loved that story. I was so excited to see that this was a companion novel to that beautiful story. I jumped in expecting it to continue with the story of Maddy but this story was a bit different. It took me a little bit of time to get into, but once I did, I was all in. I love Elizabeth Berg’s writing style and her stories are so atmospheric and touching that I can’t complain about any of them. This story grabs hold of your heart and does not let it go even long after you are done reading the story.
Bookaholic_Cindy More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I really am anxious to read the first book. Each chapter is about a different person that lives in this small town. At first, I was getting the characters confused! After I got to know them, the book moved along nicely. This is a feel good book about a small town and how the community all help one another. It was just a fun read with sweet, caring people. Lucille was my favorite with her cooking classes and absolutely beautiful cakes. I could picture them in my mind! Looking for a good book, this is one that I would definitely recommend! * I was provided an ARC to read from the publisher and NetGalley. It was my decision to read and review this book.
NovelKim More than 1 year ago
Night of Miracles is a feel-good look at people in a small town who take the time to get to know their neighbors and those who cross their daily life. Not everything is perfection and harmony, there are some warts, bumps and hard feelings. People protect their friends and are wary of outsiders. People jump to conclusions and sometimes take things at face value. Friendships are lost and won. Love can be elusive but it might be the savior of many. The writing fits the people and place so beautifully that I want to quote chapter after chapter, not for the prose but for the truisms that have only just been revealed to me. There is so much not so common knowledge that should be taught, learned, understood. I hope that everyone who picks up this book is able to pick out all the “diamonds in a box”. So much of Night of Miracles reminded me of Fannie Flagg’s books. Both writers are able to conjure the feel and smell of small town USA and the every day people who inhabit those places. They are able to create a story that will speak to so many. When I closed Night of Miracles I felt so fortunate to have had this book come my way. How could you not love a book that allows a child to ask; “is it true that people get born because God puts His Thumb on their foreheads and pushes them down to earth?”! Thank you NetGalley and Random House for a copy.
PamMcC More than 1 year ago
Elizabeth Berg gives us characters that are humorous, flawed, loving, scared, and well, are just real people. In this book, Lucille Howard is getting older and not liking it, but she’s still her honest self as she holds baking classes out of her home. She seems to want the past but will settle for helping people out in the here and now. There is a network of people that need each other’s help or encouragement. There’s Lincoln, the little boy next door to Lucille; Tiny and Monica can’t seem to get on the same page; Iris has regrets but needs to move forward; and little Nola brings things to full circle with Grandma Lucille. Everyone needs anywhere from a little miracle to a very large and life-changing one and Lucille Howard is at the heart of it all.
bookluvr35SL More than 1 year ago
This is the second Arthur Truluv book, but don't worry if you haven't read the first one. The author makes it really easy to pick up on who everyone is, in the town of Mason, Missouri. You know how it is with small towns..... everyone knows everyone else, people are connected in multiple ways, and if you ever need a helping hand you need to look no further than next door. This is a story of love, friendship, heartbreak, sickness, and unfortunately death. This is an excellent book. I felt so invested in all of the characters, I couldn't put the book down. Every one of the characters were ones I wanted to root for. I highly recommend this book.
mkdmom More than 1 year ago
Another visit with Lucille, Maddy and Nola from The Story of Arthur Truluv as well as many other wonderful characters! I was excited to continue the story of these characters and see where they've gone in life. Lucille is really the star of this book. It's amazing her transformation from the beginning of her story in Arthur to her story here. This is a lovely story of friendship, community and love. A perfect feel good story especially leading into the holidays.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been surprised by some other reviews where the readers gave 1 and 2 stars with some negative comments. But that’s what makes for interesting books....not everyone likes the same things! I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I have read other Elizabeth Berg books and like her casual, endearing style of writing. While the book mainly focuses around the character of Lucille Howard, an elderly woman living alone and has a baking business and classes, there are full storylines about several different characters., and how they intertwined with each other. It really felt like such a small community of days past....where everyone knows each other, cares about each other and helps each other. But not to be lost is how lonely Lucille really is, that she is a stereotypical crabby but loving old lady, and how she knows she has more things to do in her life before she goes. It’s a good read that i can wholly recommend for reading. I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in return for an honest review of the book, which this has been.
bamcooks More than 1 year ago
The sequel to Elizabeth Berg's The Story of Arthur Truluv is another feel-good story, this time about Lucille Howard, the elderly woman living in Arthur's former home that she rents from Maddie, the young woman Arthur befriended and made his heir. There Lucille teaches fabulous baking classes with recipe names I guarantee will have you drooling. Oh, if only we could have her recipes! Berg adds several new characters to the line up including Iris, who has moved from Boston to the small town of Mason, Mo, to start over after her divorce. Lucille hires her as her assistant, even though Iris is not much of a baker. Then there's Abby, Lucille's neighbor, who learns she has a potentially-deadly disease. And the people at Polly's Henhouse, the local eatery, one of whom might have a crush on a handsome regular but is too shy to pursue her dream of true romance...and vice versa. Many years ago my mother and I enjoyed sharing the Mitford series by Jan Karon and these stories, based on small-town people who genuinely care about each other, remind me very much of those wonderful stories. I received an arc of this book from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. Many thanks.
andi22 More than 1 year ago
I quite liked The Story of Arthur Truluv--so I was delighted to read this sequel. 3.5 but cannot round up because I felt it was not at the same level as Arthur. Some of the same characters--particularly Lucille Howard --around whom much of the story revolves. And Maddy--now raising her daughter, Nola [named after Arthur's late wife] and about to be married. Of the new characters, I most enjoyed Iris and Tiny. This too is a charming story about small town America--Mason, Missouri. I enjoyed the writing and the few instances of humor. And the angels. There were several phrases that resonated: "People forget about the value of adversity." Lucille's favorite cookie jar: "...big self-satisfied porcelain pig with his hooves crossed over his belly..." "She used to have pretty feet, but now her toes look like they can't agree on what direction they should go. Arthritis." "Nola's perception that at sunset, the sky comes down." "So often when she seemed persnickety, she was only right." What detracted: the sideline story of Abby was too predictable and I could see it coming. And, no spoiler from me, but I guessed about Tiny [another telegraphed storyline.] This was an easy read and I enjoyed it. But,. Sweet and not much substance.
Aqswr More than 1 year ago
Sweet yet thoughtful exploration of the ties that bind us even after we have suffered great losses. Author Elizabeth Berg continues with main characters first introduced in a prior book and readers get a chance to learn how they have faired over time. Aging is not for the timid and a fair representation of it is depicted. Much of the book shares commonality with Fannie Flagg’s work as we learn about different members of a small community who interact in small or meaningful ways. This is a fast read that leaves a warm feeling in its wake. I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Caroldaz More than 1 year ago
This is a feel-good, heartwarming story that grabs your heart and makes you want to be more kind and loving! The characters are real, their struggles are real and the love and forgiveness throughout the story is very real. It has been mentioned that one should read the previous book “The story of Arthur Truluv” first, but I haven’t and it did not spoil the story at all. I will still read about Arthur Truluv! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
IrishEyes430 More than 1 year ago
This is a truly heartwarming story. If you have read The Story of Arthur Truluv, then you will be familiar with some of the characters in this book. It is not necessary to have read it as this book stands on its own. This story is in a quaint small town where everyone knows your name and your business. Personalities aside, the members of this community always take care of their own. Lucille Howard is a former teacher and excellent baker. She gives baking lessons and is quite the perfectionist. You will meet many characters in the town, root for them when things are going wrong and are happy when things go well. Altogether a great read that gives you a lot of hope!