By Roberta Austin
Jun 16, 2009 - 12:44:29 PM

Carrie Manning is eating potato chips and having a hard time dealing with her mother’s recent death. As her friend Zoe says, Carrie has “mommy issues”. Carrie lived with her mother, Rose, the first twenty-seven years of thirty-seven. Even when she got out on her own, Carrie could not seem to find her way in the world. She has bounced from job to job, even selling out her interest in a truffle business that was truly starting to take off. She was engaged to a wonderful, supportive man, but cancelled the wedding three days before the big event. Amazingly, Howie is still her friend and has been there for her in her grief.





Carrie starts to investigate her roots, thinking that may help her move forward with her life. Her grandmother, a famous actress, is still alive, but was estranged from her daughter Rose, and thus granddaughter Carrie for years. Visits to a specialty library and a great-uncle set Carrie on a journey that explores Broadway and Manhattan of the 1950’s. The reasons why Rose left a life of luxury behind and raised Carrie in a small apartment in a bad neighborhood slowly come to light.

I am ashamed to say I have not yet read THE THREE MISS MARGARETS or the other two books in author Louise Shaffer’s acclaimed trilogy, but I will rectify that very soon. This current novel, SERENDIPITY, is a standalone story that looks at the complex relationships of mothers and daughters among other issues that will resonate with readers. The women in this multigenerational saga are strong, but are unlucky in love. They love too well, but unwisely.

Before starting her writing career, Ms. Shaffer was an actress. She brings Manhattan to life for those of us who have not lived there and gives the reader a glimpse behind the Broadway scene.

My Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines serendipity as “the faculty of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for”. Carrie experiences this and so will the readers of this captivating tale.





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