Confession Club started accidentally. It used to be Third Sunday Supper Club . . . after a while, they decided to meet [weekly]. At each meeting someone confessed to something she’d done . . . And just like in church, it made people feel better . . .
My book club, the Blue Ridge Readers, just finished discussing Elizabeth Berg’s #2 book in the Mason, Missouri series – Night of Miracles. Someone says,”Did you know there is a new Elizabeth Berg book set in Mason?” The group votes unanimously, “Put it on the list for next season!”
You don’t need to read The Story of Arthur Truluv and the Night of Miracles to enjoy The Confession Club – but I recommend you do so. In any case, I want to give a thumbnail of each book in the series to entice you to read the entire series.
We had all fallen in love with Arthur Moses in Book #1 –The Story of Arthur Truluv. We were enchanted with the characters and felt like we should move to Mason, Missouri in these turbulent times. Sometimes you need to go a place where everyone knows your business and your neighbors accept you with all your warts, quirks and flaws. That kind of book that makes you feel good inside and out without being sappy or cookie-cutter cute.
Arthur gave a homeless pregnant teenager (Maddy), abandoned by the child’s father, a place to live. We meet Arthur’s next-door-neighbor, Lucille and we fell in love with her eccentricities and hugged her when she needed it. In time, Lucille moves into Arthur’s house joining Maddy, her daughter, Nola, named after Arthur’s wife, and Arthur; together they form a loving family. When Arthur passes on to reunite with his beloved wife, we know he is in a better place.
Arthur’s home becomes the central setting for book #2 – the Night of Miracles. The house now belongs to Maddy. When Maddy completes college, she marries her college professor. The newlyweds move away leaving Lucille, alone, living in Maddy’s house. Lucille’s baking classes have become a booming success and she hires an assistant, Iris Winters; an unlikely choice as she doesn’t know the first thing about baking, to help her handle the financial and business aspects. Arthur’s loving presence is always there.
Book #3, The Confession Club, is once again is set in Mason, Missouri. Our beloved Lucille has passed on (not without giving the angel of death a run for his money). Iris Winters now lives in “Arthur’s” house and is carrying on Lucille’s baking classes. Maddy and Nola have inexplicably returned to Mason and moved back into the house with Iris.
The newest book opens with a cluster of town women in a weekly meeting of the Confession Club commiserating with each other over mistakes and “naughty” moments in their past that they regret. The confidences are not exactly earth shaking but the fellowship with friends is the point of the whole exercise. In time, Iris and Maddy stumble on the group and soon become members.
The central stories involve Iris and Maddy. Iris develops a relationship with an unlikely new love interest – a homeless man squatting in a remote abandoned house. As we learn more about the man, I am not sure that it is a healthy relationship but -hey – I’ll suspend my suspicion until the fourth book. Hint hint Elizabeth Berg. Meanwhile, Maddy and Nola’s sudden return to Mason, Missouri bewilders Iris along with the faithful fans of the first two books.
I will be honest. The Story of Arthur Truluv is my favorite. The next two books feel comfortable and easy. Reminds me of coming home to Grandma’s house and finding out what is new in town since my last trip to my old hometown.
Recommended women’s fiction.