I read to relax, to be entertained, and to learn something new. Learning something new is what happened recently as I turned the pages of Mary Pipher’s Writing to Change the World, a book chock-full of scholarly references and bunches of quotable lines, ending with ten pages of recommended readings.
But sometimes I like to escape; I simply want to be entertained with endearing, odd-ball characters like in Elizabeth Berg’s Night of Miracles, a novel which provides “a delightful take on the cycles of life,” as one reviewer puts it.
Amazon blurb: Night of Miracles
Lucille Howard is getting on in years, but she stays busy. Thanks to the inspiration of her dearly departed friend Arthur Truluv, she has begun to teach baking classes, sharing the secrets to her delicious classic Southern yellow cake, the perfect pinwheel cookies, and other sweet essentials. Her classes have become so popular that she’s hired Iris, a new resident of Mason, Missouri, as an assistant. Iris doesn’t know how to bake but she needs to keep her mind off a big decision she sorely regrets.
When a new family moves in next door and tragedy strikes, Lucille begins to look out for Lincoln, their son. Lincoln’s parents aren’t the only ones in town facing hard choices and uncertain futures. In these difficult times, the residents of Mason come together and find the true power of community—just when they need it the most.
“Elizabeth Berg’s characters jump right off the page and into your heart” said Fannie Flagg about The Story of Arthur Truluv. The same could be said about Night of Miracles, a heartwarming novel that reminds us that the people we come to love are often the ones we don’t expect.
I review many books I read, but even if I don’t review a book, I’ll usually make note of lines I like the sound of, or find thought-provoking.
Here are some quotable lines I found from Night of Miracles, which I read back in November 2022:
15 She will dream of Frank tonight, she can tell. She will feel she caught him by the tail of his spirit and he really is here, a see-through Frank come back to her. She will believe she is holding him tightly, running her hands up and down the personal mountain range of his spine, which she remembers perfectly, as she remembers everything about them being together, she truly does.
119 One good thing about someone really liking something you have is that you appreciate it yourself all over again. It is funny, isn’t it, the little door snapping open, the bird popping out and then quickly back in, the door slamming behind him.
120 It came to her as she was napping that afternoon and so she knows it will work out fine: things that suggest themselves in sleep almost always work out.
176 The words bring sudden tears to Lucille’s eyes and she wipes them away, embarrassed. That’s what Frank did, made her feel watched over. It was the only time in her life she felt that way. All the rest of the time, it was Lucille watching out for Lucille. Oh, she could do it, but how nice it was for that brief period of time to feel like someone had her back, whether he was right with her or not. If he was in the world, he was watching over her.
188 . . . they had a ride called the Whirligig. You sat in some wooden contraption that jerked you here, there, and everywhere. One minute you’d be going forward, the next backward or sideways or tilted over so far you thought you might fall out. It was never still and you had no idea what might come next. That’s life. You’re born, and you get a ride on the Whirligig.
Share some favorite book titles?
When you read a book, do you record lines you like?
Author Berg points out, things that “suggest themselves in sleep almost always work out.” Do you think that’s true?
Besides reading, what do you like to do to relax?