Published by NAL Trade on May 6, 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Friendship
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
Also by this author: The Accidental Book Club, Second Chance Friends
Writing a new future takes a little time—and a lot of love.
Jean Vison never expected 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. 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 unraveling again—her daughter forced into rehab and her troubled teen granddaughter, Bailey, coming to live with her in the interim—she 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…
Making Dreams Come True, Book Club-Style
For many years, I dreamed of becoming a women’s fiction author. Before I ever wrote a single word in a young adult novel (which I write under the name Jennifer Brown), I’d written four women’s fiction novels, none of which sold. It took me 13 years of writing and submitting to finally find a home for my women’s fiction work, so to say that seeing The Accidental Book Club on bookstore shelves is a dream come true is putting it very mildly. It is a long-awaited dream come true.
But The Accidental Book Club fulfilled another dream of mine, as well, which was to write a story that featured a regular gathering of friends. I’d long wanted to write one, but had never had an idea before.
There’s something special about having a good girlfriend. Something vital. It’s good to have someone who gets your feminine perspective—someone who can watch you cry without feeling like they have to “fix” you, someone who understands your complaints, your fatigue, your weird obsessions, because they’ve felt them, too. There’s something special about having that person who will get as excited about a recipe as you do, or who will take you shopping for that dress you don’t want to have to buy. Someone who will send you a one-sentence text complaint, knowing that you don’t have to agree to understand.
But there’s something even more special about gatherings of friends. A whole group of you who bring individuality and hilarity, but still share that ability for intimacy.
It was important to me to make Jean’s group as real as possible, which is to say I made them as different from one another as I could. They weren’t all like Jean, because, in reality, finding another person who is exactly like you is so rare as to be impossible. In fact, none of them were exactly like Jean—quiet, controlled, self-conscious, lonely. There’s Mitzi, the outspoken, opinionated friend who is secretly too hard on herself. There’s Janet, the shy one, only moved to speak out to defend herself when she feels as if she’s defending others. There’s Dorothy, the one struggling to keep up with her unruly sons, and May, the young one who doesn’t want any part of dating life. There’s Loretta, because every group has a shocking, foul-mouthed (yet harmless) troublemaker. And, of course, there’s Bailey. The angry teen. The one they can’t give up on.
But in all of our groups, even when we’re different, there’s something about us that ties us all together. A kernel of shared truth. A common goal. In Jean’s group, sure, it was the books, but it was also something more. Loyalty, perhaps. Loneliness, maybe. Or possibly just a hope to make a difference.
And maybe that’s what we all share in our favorite groups. Maybe it’s when you find a gathering of souls that match your own on a deeper level, it doesn’t matter that all you do together is eat brownies and talk about kids or boys…or books.