Gossip by Beth Gutcheon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
'Loviah French owns a boutique dress shop in Manhattan. She has two best friends: Dinah - a columnist covering New York's wealthiest - and Avis - a prominent figure in the art world. Despite the deep affection they both feel for Loviah, Dinah and Avis have been allergic to one another since an incident decades earlier that has been remembered and resented. But when a marriage means that Dinah and Avis must set aside their differences, Loviah must manage her two friends' secrets as wisely as she can. Which is not wisely enough, as things turn out - a fact that will have a shattering effect on all their lives.'
Gossip is a book that I probably wouldn't have picked for the blurb on the back alone but I did like the cover and felt that this would have pushed me into buying it.
To be honest I didn't really connect with the book; I found there was little to keep me interested, the characters were flat and I found it hard to relate to them, the story line was very slow and I really struggled to keep up with what was going on with all the jumping about in the past and present. It felt a confusing read not one that I particularly enjoyed.
The story is about three women who all went to an elite high school; Lovie who is now in her sixties is the narrator who owns a high end clothing store on Madison Avenue in Manhattan where she is privy to a lot of gossip from her very high profile clientele. She remains friends with two particular girls from her high school days, Avis and Dinah. Avis is the eldest of the three and is more genteel and refined than the others and ends up marrying a man older than herself and has a daughter Grace. She appear to be more concerned in a career than bonding with her daughter Grace. When Grace and Nicky get married Lovie has to play the go between watching what she says and to whom she says it to is difficult for Lovie.
Dinah is quite a different character, loud, in your face, a fun person who people find they are irresistibly drawn to. She has two sons but dotes on one son, Nicky. Her other son RJ is settled and happily married but it is Nicky that she worries and frets over and she is desperate for him to make something of his life. Add to the mix his marriage to Grace Avis' daughter and the friends lives become ever more tangled.
The basis for a good story was there but I really never felt a connection with the characters, some of the descriptive passages were good and showed Gutcheon's skill at writing but overall it was just a little lack lustre for me. It felt that it wasn't really going anywhere and got a little bit boring which made it difficult to stay with until the end. To be honest it left me a little flat, I am not really sure what the point of the novel was other than perhaps you should be careful with secrets and who you share them with - no pizzazz for me, like a damp squib. I can only really justify giving this 2.5 stars (rounded up to 3 for Goodreads and Amazon) - in a word - disappointing.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy in exchange for an honest review.