A love of books, emotional support and friendship have kept The Book Club together for so many years. The five participants, Eve, Doris, Annie, Gabriella and Midge, come from a variety of backgrounds and more than likely would not cross paths socially except for the club.

Founding member Eve Porter is devastated when Tom, her doctor husband, unexpectedly dies of a heart attack. Beyond losing her husband of 20 years, Eve must comfort her two bereaved children and confront a financial picture that is anything but rosy.

Even though helping women through tough times is what attorney Annie Blake specializes in, she never thought shed need to help Eve. Toms sudden death makes Annie all too aware of time and mortality. She and her husband John delayed having children, but now Annie feels compelled to become a mother. Unfortunately, her reproductive system doesnt want to cooperate.

Doris Bridges has been a wealthy housewife and charity volunteer for most of her adult life. Doris clings to the illusion of stability in her marriage, but the repercussions from Toms death also impact the reality of her life with husband RJ.

Gabriella is the earth mother of the group. With four kids and a career as a nurse, caring and nurturing come naturally. But Gabriella, too, has her problems. A financial strain builds as her husband Fernando is about to be downsized.

Art therapist and artist Midge Kirsch also faces uncertainty. Midges mother Edith has decided that she wants to move in with Midge. Theirs has been a rocky relationship and Midge values her freedom and privacy.

Having the courage to start over and forge ahead in tough times are themes that run eloquently through author Mary Alice Monroes very special new novel. THE BOOK CLUB is a dynamic snapshot of life, with all its joys and sorrows. (Sep., 408 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith