Tapestry Of Fortunes: A Novel

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Tapestry Of Fortunes: A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

Random House Publishing Group | April 8, 2014 | Trade Paperback |

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In this superb new novel by the beloved author of Open House, Home Safe, and The Last Time I Saw You, four women venture into their pasts in order to shape their futures, fates, and fortunes.
 
Cecilia Ross is a motivational speaker who encourages others to change their lives for the better. Why can't she take her own advice? Still reeling from the death of her best friend, and freshly aware of the need to live more fully now, Cece realizes that she has to make a move-all the portentous signs seem to point in that direction.
 
She downsizes her life, sells her suburban Minnesota home and lets go of many of her possessions. She moves into a beautiful old house in Saint Paul, complete with a garden, chef's kitchen, and three housemates: Lise, the home's owner and a divorced mother at odds with her twenty-year-old daughter; Joni, a top-notch sous chef at a first-rate restaurant with a grade A jerk of a boss; and Renie, the youngest and most mercurial of the group, who is trying to rectify a teenage mistake. These women embark on a journey together in an attempt to connect with parts of themselves long denied. For Cece, that means finding Dennis Halsinger. Despite being "the one who got away," Dennis has never been far from Cece's thoughts.
 
In this beautifully written novel, leaving home brings revelations, reunions, and unexpected turns that affirm the inner truths of women's lives. "Maybe Freud didn't know the answer to what women want, but Elizabeth Berg certainly does," said USA Today. Elizabeth Berg has crafted a novel rich in understanding of women's longings, loves, and abiding friendships, which weave together into a tapestry of fortunes that connects us all.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

Praise for Tapestry of Fortunes

 
"A testament to the power of female friendships . . . Berg strips her writing down to what is essential and takes an unflinching look at lifelong regrets. The characters . . . will settle in your heart."-Booklist (starred review)
 
"Elizabeth Berg has carved out a place as one of America's most beloved chroniclers of female friendship."-Chicago Tribune
 
"Luminous . . . As always, her writing is spare and lyrical, filled with . . . elegant description and profound insight."-Library Journal
 
"An incredibly uplifting and life-affirming story . . . Berg explores the themes of change and personal reinvention with exquisite phrasing, sharply-focused attention to detail, and boundless joy and heart."-Bookreporter

Praise for Elizabeth Berg
 
"Truth rings forth clearly from every page. [Elizabeth] Berg captures the way women think-and especially the way they talk to other women-as well as any writer I can think of."-The Charlotte Observer, about Talk Before Sleep
 
"Elizabeth Berg's gift as a storyteller lies most powerfully in her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday."-The Boston Globe
 
"Berg's writing is to literature what Chopin's études are to music-measured, delicate, and impossible to walk away from until their completion. [Grade:] A+."-Entertainment Weekly

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: April 8, 2014

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345533798

ISBN - 13: 9780345533791

Found in: Fiction

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– More About This Product –

Tapestry Of Fortunes: A Novel

Tapestry Of Fortunes: A Novel

by Elizabeth Berg

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 240 Pages, 5.12 × 7.87 × 0.39 in

Published: April 8, 2014

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0345533798

ISBN - 13: 9780345533791

Read from the Book

When I was growing up, my mother’s best friend was a woman named Cosmina Mandruleanu. I liked her for a lot of reasons: her name, of course; her ash-blond hair and throaty voice and loud laugh; her bangle bracelets and black nylons and the way she was generous with the Juicy Fruit gum she always kept in her purse. She was someone who made smoking seem alluring; if she looked at you in that sidelong way when she exhaled, you felt as though you were sharing a risqué secret. She told me her grandmother was a Romanian gypsy who had passed on to her the Gift: Cosmina could tell fortunes. Mostly she used tea leaves, but she also read palms or used a crystal ball or her grandmother’s ancient Tarot cards. She said her gifts were in her mind, that she could use anything, even a pair of pliers, as a catalyst for accessing her powers. But people liked the traditional props, and so she accommodated them. She once told my mother that she, too, was a bit psychic, which made my mother fluff up with pride and say, “You know, I thought so.” When I asked Cosmina if she thought I had the Gift as well, she looked at me for a long time. Then she said, “You are a good student of human nature. That’s a start.” Cosmina once volunteered to tell fortunes at my junior high school’s annual fund-raiser, so that the adults would have something to do besides drink weak coffee and watch Dunk the Principal. She sat in a corner of the gymnasium behind a T
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From the Publisher

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In this superb new novel by the beloved author of Open House, Home Safe, and The Last Time I Saw You, four women venture into their pasts in order to shape their futures, fates, and fortunes.
 
Cecilia Ross is a motivational speaker who encourages others to change their lives for the better. Why can't she take her own advice? Still reeling from the death of her best friend, and freshly aware of the need to live more fully now, Cece realizes that she has to make a move-all the portentous signs seem to point in that direction.
 
She downsizes her life, sells her suburban Minnesota home and lets go of many of her possessions. She moves into a beautiful old house in Saint Paul, complete with a garden, chef's kitchen, and three housemates: Lise, the home's owner and a divorced mother at odds with her twenty-year-old daughter; Joni, a top-notch sous chef at a first-rate restaurant with a grade A jerk of a boss; and Renie, the youngest and most mercurial of the group, who is trying to rectify a teenage mistake. These women embark on a journey together in an attempt to connect with parts of themselves long denied. For Cece, that means finding Dennis Halsinger. Despite being "the one who got away," Dennis has never been far from Cece's thoughts.
 
In this beautifully written novel, leaving home brings revelations, reunions, and unexpected turns that affirm the inner truths of women's lives. "Maybe Freud didn't know the answer to what women want, but Elizabeth Berg certainly does," said USA Today. Elizabeth Berg has crafted a novel rich in understanding of women's longings, loves, and abiding friendships, which weave together into a tapestry of fortunes that connects us all.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.

Praise for Tapestry of Fortunes

 
"A testament to the power of female friendships . . . Berg strips her writing down to what is essential and takes an unflinching look at lifelong regrets. The characters . . . will settle in your heart."-Booklist (starred review)
 
"Elizabeth Berg has carved out a place as one of America's most beloved chroniclers of female friendship."-Chicago Tribune
 
"Luminous . . . As always, her writing is spare and lyrical, filled with . . . elegant description and profound insight."-Library Journal
 
"An incredibly uplifting and life-affirming story . . . Berg explores the themes of change and personal reinvention with exquisite phrasing, sharply-focused attention to detail, and boundless joy and heart."-Bookreporter

Praise for Elizabeth Berg
 
"Truth rings forth clearly from every page. [Elizabeth] Berg captures the way women think-and especially the way they talk to other women-as well as any writer I can think of."-The Charlotte Observer, about Talk Before Sleep
 
"Elizabeth Berg's gift as a storyteller lies most powerfully in her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday."-The Boston Globe
 
"Berg's writing is to literature what Chopin's études are to music-measured, delicate, and impossible to walk away from until their completion. [Grade:] A+."-Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Last Time I Saw You, Home Safe, The Year of Pleasures, and Dream When You're Feeling Blue, as well as two collections of short stories and two works of nonfiction. Open House was an Oprah's Book Club selection, Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for an Abby Award, and The Pull of the Moon was adapted into a play. Berg has been honored by both the Boston Public Library and the Chicago Public Library and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Her work has been translated into twenty-seven languages. She lives near Chicago.

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Tapestry of Fortunes   “A testament to the power of female friendships . . . Berg strips her writing down to what is essential and takes an unflinching look at lifelong regrets. The characters . . . will settle in your heart.” — Booklist (starred review)   “Elizabeth Berg has carved out a place as one of America’s most beloved chroniclers of female friendship.” — Chicago Tribune   “Luminous . . . As always, her writing is spare and lyrical, filled with . . . elegant description and profound insight.” — Library Journal   “An incredibly uplifting and life-affirming story . . . Berg explores the themes of change and personal reinvention with exquisite phrasing, sharply-focused attention to detail, and boundless joy and heart.” —Bookreporter Praise for Elizabeth Berg “Truth rings forth clearly from every page. [Elizabeth] Berg captures the way women think—and especially the way they talk to other women—as well as any writer I can think of.” — The Charlotte Observer , about Talk Before Sleep “Elizabeth Berg’s gift as a storyteller lies most powerfully in her ability to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, the remarkable in the everyday.” — The Boston Globe “Berg’s writing is to literature what Chopin’s études are to music—measured, delicate, and impossible to walk away from until their c
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. Cecelia is a motivational speaker who preaches that "getting lost is the only way to find what you didn''t know you were looking for" (8). Do you think Cecelia is able to take her own advice? How does mov­ing in with Lise, Joni, and Renie help her explore this philosophy?

2. Throughout the novel, Cecelia  and  the other  women  often rely on her box of fortunes to help them search for answers to their big questions. How do these answers affect their decision-making? Do their fortunes make a difference, or is it something else that ultimately guides them to these answers?

3. "I,  the motivational speaker,  have not been able to motivate myself into making a new life without her," Cecelia says, referring to Penny''s death (10). What eventually changes for Cecelia and enables her to start a new life? Does Penny play a part in this change, even after her death?

4. When Brice, Penny''s husband, tells Cece that he is getting re­married, she is initially surprised, but also happy that he is moving on. "People with people, good.  People alone, bad,"  Penny always used to say to Cece (35). Is it difficult for Cece to heed this advice? Why might it be easier for Brice?

5. Soon after Cece receives the postcard from Dennis, she decides to go visit him. What makes Cece so certain about seeing him again? Do you ever get over your first love? How might this relate to Lise''s situation?

6. When Cece moves into the house, Renie is initially defensive and skeptical. Her career as a columnist, too, highlights her skeptical and sarcastic  tendencies. Why do you think Renie shows only this side of herself for much of the novel? How are the other women eventually able to uncover the more sensitive side of Renie?

7. When Cece volunteers at  the Arms and meets Michael, she opens up to him about Penny''s death. She explains that it was "one of the most beautiful experiences" of her life (124).  What  does Cece mean about Penny''s death being beautiful? How does that beauty continue to influence Cece''s life?

8. Renie asks the women whether they believe  in the truth of the saying  "Be kind, for everyone is carrying a heavy burden'''' (174). Wanda, the waitress  they meet during the road  trip, asserts that al­though not everyone carries a heavy burden, everyone does carry the burden of fear (175). How is this "burden of fear" a theme throughout the novel?

9. Mother-daughter relationships are central to the story: Renie struggles with meeting her estranged daughter; Lise''s daughter urges
her not to reunite with her ex-husband after their divorce; Cece grows annoyed with her mother for acting more like a girlfriend than a parent (110). What makes a mother-daughter relationship so special? What makes it so fraught, and sometimes difficult?

10. After Michael dies, Cece remembers a conversation that she and Penny once had: Cece asked, "What''s the point in loving  anything when it will just change or be  taken away?," and Penny replied, "The point in loving is only that. And when you lose something, you have to remember that then there is room  for the next thing. And there is always a next thing." (213) How does this idea relate to the broader theme of the novel? What is the "next thing" that Cece, Phoebe, and the other characters manage to find?

11. Toward the end of the novel, Cece mentions something that Dennis said about photography, which she  feels reverberates in her own life: "The greatest understanding of a thing is when you can''t reduce it any further." (217) How does this statement relate to Cece''s views  on love and friendship? How might it relate to your own?

12. Lise, Joni, Renie, and Cecelia are all very different. What do you think makes their relationships with one another thrive, in spite of their differences? Consider how this relates to the quote at the end of the  novel: "We are a convergence of fates, a tapestry of fortunes in colors both somber and bright, each contributing equally to  the Whole." (218-19)

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