I admit I’m a hard sell when it comes to a
great piece of fiction. I’m a continuous reader. Some say I’m addicted to
books. I probably read more books in a month than most people do in a year.
Having never read a Louise Shaffer novel, I began my adventure with an open
mind. I was drawn into the story from the first paragraph. As much as I wanted
to devour the novel in one sitting, I savored it.
Serendipity is Louise Shaffer’s
engaging story of four strong, complicated women and their struggles to find
happiness and fulfillment. The book centers on Carrie Manning, whose father was
a famous Broadway musical writer. Carrie’s grandmother was a Broadway star.
Carrie’s father died when she was very young and she never knew her
grandmother. Carrie knows nothing except her mother and grandmother had a
falling out many years ago. No matter how hard she tries, Carrie can never seem
to devote herself fully to anything or anyone. She just can’t seem to get her
life on track. Something is clearly missing from Carrie’s life. Her quest to
“find herself” takes place after the death of her mother.
The story begins 10 days after Carrie’s
mother, Rose, passes away. Carrie knows little of her famous father, Bobby
Manning, and estranged her grandmother, Lu Lawson. In fact, Carrie didn’t even
know her own mother all that well. Carrie works her way backward into Rose’s
family’s history with the help of Rose’s brother, Paulie. Through Paulie,
Carrie learns about her mother (Rose), her grandmother (Lu), and her great
grandmother (Mifalda). She learns of their struggles and their relationships.
The struggles and experiences of those three women greatly influenced the woman
Carrie has become. When Carrie finally gathers the courage to meet her
estranged grandmother, Lu, things finally fall into place. Lu fills in the
blanks for Carrie so she has a much better understanding of her parents. By
doing so, Lu gives Carrie the missing pieces to the puzzle she’s been trying to
solve for years. One of those puzzle pieces, a “secret” that only Lu knows,
gives Carrie much insight into Rose. With Lu’s help and encouragement, Carrie
finds closure and is able to move forward with her life.
A Yale School of Drama graduate, Louise
Shaffer is an accomplished actress with many television and stage credits to her
name. She is best known for her portrayal of Rae Woodard on the daytime soap
opera, “Ryan’s Hope.” In 1983, Shaffer won a Daytime Emmy (“Outstanding Actress
in a Supporting Role in a Daytime Drama Series”) for her role on “Ryan’s Hope.”
Shaffer also worked as a writer on “Ryan’s Hope,” “As the World Turns,” and “All
Serendipity is a wonderful book. It’s full of
strong women and colorful characters. The story is emotional and relatable.
Louise Shaffer is a beautiful writer. She paints a lovely picture for the
reader to see, hear, and feel. From beginning to end, this was the closest
thing to perfect I’ve read in a very long time. Serendipity was the
first Louise Shaffer book I’ve read, but it certainly won’t be the last.
For more on Louise Shaffer, including her
three previous books (The Three Miss Margarets, The Ladies of
Garrison Gardens, and Family Acts),
visit her official
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