My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When NetGalley gave me the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Elizabeth Berg’s latest novel, Night of Miracles, which is scheduled to be released this November, I didn’t realize that it was a follow up to her previous novel, The Story of Arthur Truluv. I worried that I would be lost or feel as if I were missing something but the fact that I haven’t yet read the earlier novel (but I absolutely will!) didn’t hinder my enjoyment of Night of Miracles in the least.
Berg is one of my most beloved authors almost immediately I found that Night of Miracles was a bit different in tone than many of Berg’s other novels that I have read (which is most of them). Reading the heart-warming story of the interconnected citizens of Mason, Missouri as they face their own struggles while trying to be good neighbors, friends, parents, and teachers often felt more like a Fannie Flagg novel. Perhaps this was due to the small town midwest setting or the complex quirkiness of the characters – especially Lucille – but the qualities I love most about reading Berg’s novels was there too. Along with her completely real characters, one of the things I admire most about Berg’s writing is her unique attention to detail and way of expressing the beauty of the everyday ordinary things and that quality abounds in Night of Miracles from a starry night sky to breadcrumbs on a windowsill.
At its heart, this story of the characters’ individual struggles – be it Lucille’s coming to terms with her age, the changing world, and her lost love or Iris’s quest for forgiveness and happiness after losing hope of ever having the one thing she’s always wanted or Abby, Jason and Link’s journey through an unexpected illness or Tiny and Monica’s quest of love through miscommunications and missed opportunities – is a story of love. While each of the characters gets through their trials with their own strength, it is only with the help of their friends and neighbors that they are able to get out of their own way. Mason, Missouri serves as a compressed view of our world and shows the power of love and neighborliness in a time when those qualities aren’t always evident.
Elizabeth Berg’s Night of Miracles is for anyone who needs a heartwarming read with a sense of humor or could use a helping hand to see the beauty in the little things when the big picture looks so grim.