With the holidays around the corner, empty-nester Bren Epperson realizes that for the first time in decades, she has no large family to cook for, no celebration to create. So she starts teaching a holiday cooking class, and it’s a hit—until Virginia Mash, the old lady upstairs, bursts in complaining. Rather than retaliate, Bren suggests that the class shower Virginia with kindness—and give her one hundred gifts. So they embark on the plan to lift a heart. Along the way, amidst the knitting and the making and the baking, they’ll discover the best gifts can’t be bought and family celebrations can be reborn.
CONVERSATION GUIDE INCLUDED
Karen Freeman, Melinda Crocker, and Joanna Chambers have never met—but every morning they get their coffee at the Tea Rose Diner. Karen stops in on her way to the office job she’s held for more than twenty years, wondering how her sweet-faced boy turned into a misguided young man. EMT Melinda fuels up for her days helping others, after nights spent worrying her fear of having children could drive her husband away. And Joanna, with her long blonde hair and bohemian flair, digs into the Boston cream pie and hides—from her friends, from her family, and most importantly, from herself.
Their paths may have never crossed. But one morning, on the lawn of the Tea Rose, the three women collide during a searing event in the life of twenty-something Maddie Routh. In the nine months that follow, they return to the spot over and over. To discover what it means to be a mother, a wife, a lover, a friend. To find Maddie Routh. And to find themselves. Despite the challenges they’ve faced, these four women unite to show us second chances do exist, if only we have the courage to see them.
Writing a new future takes a little time -- and a lot of love.
Jean Vison never planned to run a book club, until her life took an unexpected turn. Now, with Jean's husband gone, what began as an off-the-cuff idea has grown into a group of six women who meet the second Tuesday of every month for a potluck supper, for wine and laughter -- and for books.
There's Loretta, who deals with the lack of intimacy in her marriage by diving into erotic novels, and Dorothy, whose ruffian sons are a never-ending source of stress. May entertains the group with her outrageous dating stories, while Mitzi finds something political to rant about in every book -- including Loretta's trashy romances. Even Janet, with her mousy shyness and constant blush, has helped Jean rediscover the joy in life.
So when Jean's family starts coming undone again -- her daughter entering rehab and her troubled teen granddaughter, Bailey, coming to live with her in the interim -- Jean turns to the book club for comfort and support. And, together, they all, even Bailey, discover that family is what you make of it, especially the family you choose.
Sometimes coming home for the holidays isn’t as easy as it seems….
It’s December 21, and the Yancey sisters have been called home. When the girls were young, holidays at their family farm meant a tinsel-garnished tree, the scent of simmering food, and laughter ringing through the house. But as the years unfolded, family bonds fractured, and the three sisters scattered and settled into separate lives. Until now. The Yancey sisters are coming to spend the holidays with their mother. They’re also coming to bury their father.
Claire, the youngest, a free spirit who journeyed to California, returns first. Then comes Julia, the eldest, a college professor with a teenage son of her own. And finally there’s Maya, the middle child, who works so hard to be the perfect mother and wife.
During the sisters’ week together, old conflicts surface, new secrets emerge, and the limits and definitions of family are tested. And as the longest night of the year slips by and brightening days beckon, the sisters will have to answer one question: When you’re a sister, aren’t you a sister forever?