Patricia Gaffney – Circle of Three: A Novel

55. Circle of Three: A Novel by Patricia Gaffney (2000)
Length: 350 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 16 May 2014
Finished: 20 May 2014
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 1 June 2001
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and had read and enjoyed The Goodbye Summer by the same author in the past.

After the sudden death of her husband, Carrie struggles with feelings of immense grief and guilt. She silently wonders: “Can grief last for a person’s whole life?” For her, these feelings are twofold: Although she mourns the loss of her husband, she also mourns the death of their love – an emotional erosion that occurred long before her husband’s heart gave out. Struggling to go on, to support her vivacious, loving fifteen-year-old daughter, Ruth, Carrie must shake off the sorrow and depression that surrounds her and begin a new life. For Ruth, as much as for herself, Carrie will somehow learn to live again.

Complicating matters is Dana – Carrie’s mother – an industrious, snobbish, yet sympathetic woman who tries to do what’s right for herself and, unfortunately, for Carrie as well. It was fear of her mother’s disapproval that drove Carrie away from her unforgotten first love – the soulful, passionate Jess – who has recently re-entered her life.

Little does Carrie realize that her mother suffers secret miseries of her own. For Dana, life is still as mysterious as it was in early youth. Like her only daughter, Dana has lived within the confines of a silent marriage. And, like Carrie, Dana too, mourns a painful loss – the slow disintegration of her relationship with her daughter. Her unspoken wish is: “I’d give anything for the closeness we used to have. I love my daughter more than anyone else on this earth, but she won’t let me in.” 

At the end point of these two generations is Ruth, who silently copes with a double tragedy of her own – the loss of something she can never know – a real relationship with her father – and the emotional abandonment of her mother. Her secret sadness is: “She’s still got me, but she’s about half the mother I used to have. When Dad died I lost him and part of her. I’m almost an orphan.” A precocious girl, quivering on the brink of womanhood, Ruth is eager to discover who she is and what life holds – even if that knowledge will draw her away from the people she loves.

Shining through the interconnected lives of three generations of women in a small town in rural Virginia, this poignant, memorable novel reveals the layers of tradition and responsibility, commitment and passion these women share. Ms. Gaffney explores the dichotomies inherent in all women’s relationships – the tears and laughter, despair and hope, misunderstanding and compassion, anger and love – that occasionally divide them yet ultimately bind them together. In Circle of Three, the silken bonds of family are brilliantly illuminated, as are the delicate yet resilient bonds of feminine understanding and friendship.

I absolutely loved this book. I truly became immersed in this story – it was definitely a page-turner; moving and poignant, filled with emotional, well-developed characters with whom I connected deeply. I found myself caught up in the story, wanting to know what happened next. I actually have read this book before – about ten years ago – and while the story was familiar to me in places, I still enjoyed reacquainting myself with these characters. I give Circle of Three: A Novel by Patricia Gaffney an A+!

A+! – (96-100%)
 
Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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