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Night of Miracles
Cover of Night of Miracles
Night of Miracles
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
The feel-good book of the year: a delightful novel of friendship, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change your life, by the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

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.
Praise for Night of Miracles
"Happy, sad, sweet and slyly funny, [Night of Miracles] celebrates the nourishing comfort of community and provides a delightfully original take on the cycles of life."People (Book of the Week)
"Find refuge in Mason, a place blessedly free of the political chaos we now know as 'real life.' In Berg's charming but far from shallow alternative reality, the focus is on the things that make life worth living: the human connections that light the way through the dark of aging, bereavement, illness and our own mistakes. . . . As the endearing, odd-lot characters of Mason, Missouri, coalesce into new families, dessert is served: a plateful of chocolate-and-vanilla pinwheel cookies for the soul."USA Today
"Full of empathy and charm, every chapter infuses the heart with a renewed sense of hope."Woman's World
The feel-good book of the year: a delightful novel of friendship, community, and the way small acts of kindness can change your life, by the bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv

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.
Praise for Night of Miracles
"Happy, sad, sweet and slyly funny, [Night of Miracles] celebrates the nourishing comfort of community and provides a delightfully original take on the cycles of life."People (Book of the Week)
"Find refuge in Mason, a place blessedly free of the political chaos we now know as 'real life.' In Berg's charming but far from shallow alternative reality, the focus is on the things that make life worth living: the human connections that light the way through the dark of aging, bereavement, illness and our own mistakes. . . . As the endearing, odd-lot characters of Mason, Missouri, coalesce into new families, dessert is served: a plateful of chocolate-and-vanilla pinwheel cookies for the soul."USA Today
"Full of empathy and charm, every chapter infuses the heart with a renewed sense of hope."Woman's World
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Surely you've had this happen. You are seated by choice or misfortune in a window seat on an airplane. You look out as the plane takes off, rises up higher and higher, levels off. If you chance to glance down, you see a particular kind of order not realized on earth. You might feel a kind of hopefulness at the sight of houses clustered together in their various neighborhoods, at roads running straight or artfully curved, at what look like toy cars. You see the lakes and rivers, occasionally the wide stretch of ocean meeting horizon. You see natural quilts formed by the lay of fields and farmlands, you see the grouping of trees into parks and forests. Sometimes you see the splendor of autumn leaves or Fourth of July fireworks. Or sunsets. Or sunrises.

    All of this can inspire something unnamable but nearly graspable, a kind of yearning toward a grand possibility.

    And then you land.

    But what if you landed differently?

    Diamonds in a Box

    After she has dried and put away her supper dishes, Lucille Howard sits at her kitchen table and contemplates what to do with another empty evening. A few years back, she might have sat out on the front porch with her former neighbor and then roommate, Arthur Moses, a man too good of heart for this world, in Lucille's opinion, though she and many others profited plenty from his continual kindness.

    She pushes herself up from the table and goes out onto her front porch to stand with her hands on her hips, taking in a better view of the night sky. From the kitchen window the stars are so clear they look like diamonds; out here, it's even more glorious.

    As a child, Lucille thought stars were diamonds, and that if only she prayed in the right way, the cigar box she kept under her bed would be filled with them some morning, and she could make a necklace out of them. Never happened. Well, of course it never happened, stars are not diamonds. They're suns, really, just balls of gas. If there's one thing Lucille hates, it's how science has to rain on whimsy's parade: Rainbows not a gift from leprechauns offering pots of gold, but only a trick of refraction. A blue sky not a miles-wide painting done by a heavenly hand, but molecules scattering light. Still, when Lucille sees the stars strewn across the sky on a night like tonight, they're diamonds, and she thinks they might end up under her bed yet. Maybe she'll put a box back under there. Tradition. Whimsy. Hope. Magical thinking, oh, she knows it's magical thinking; and she knows, too, that she's more prone to it now than she ever was. But what fun to imagine kneeling down to lift the dust ruffle and just check. And there they are at last, diamonds in a box, shining so hard they light up the surprised oval of her face.

    It's cold enough for a jacket, this being the first of October, but Lucille is still in the habit of summer (the roses still blooming!) and so has neglected to put one on. It feels like too much work to go back in and get one, so she settles into a rocking chair, wraps her arms around herself, and moves vigorously back and forth. There. That's fine. It's good for you to be a bit uncomfortable from time to time, especially if you're only a few steps away from relief. People forget about the value of adversity. It was something she always tried to teach her fourth-grade students, how adversity can strengthen character. She also tried to teach them the value of having to work for something instead of it being handed to you the instant you said you wanted it. That's what happens these days, no one waits for anything. But Lucille used to give her class construction-paper coupons with points for good behavior or for scholastic merit; and when...
About the Author-
  • Elizabeth Berg is the author of many bestselling novels, including The Story of Arthur Truluv, Open House (an Oprah's Book Club selection), Talk Before Sleep, and The Year of Pleasures, as well as the short story collection The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year. She adapted The Pull of the Moon into a play that enjoyed sold-out performances in Chicago and Indianapolis. Berg's work has been published in thirty countries, and three of her novels have been turned into television movies. She is the founder of Writing Matters, a quality reading series dedicated to serving author, audience, and community. She teaches one-day writing workshops and is a popular speaker at venues around the country. Some of her most popular Facebook postings have been collected in Make Someone Happy and Still Happy. She lives outside Chicago.
Reviews-
  • Library Journal

    June 15, 2018

    Familiar to fans of best-selling/Oprah Pick author Berg's The Story of Arthur Truluv, Lucille Howard is enjoying her waning years by giving baking classes. She's also reaching out by hiring a new resident as her assistant and helping the folks next door with their son. Warm and satisfying as Lucille's cookies.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Kirkus

    September 1, 2018
    Berg's sequel to TheStory of Arthur Truluv (2017) checks in with Arthur's friends, neighbors, and beneficiaries.When the saintly Arthur Moses, dubbed "Truluv" by his de facto ward, Maddy, dies, he leaves behind a legacy of kindness. Maddy inherited Arthur's Mason, Missouri, home, now occupied rent-free by Lucille, his elderly former neighbor. Lucille is the central figure of this installment, although, judging from her dream visitations by the angel of death, it won't be long before she follows Arthur and her own late beloved, Frank, into the afterlife. For the nonce, however, Lucille's baking talent has led to a popular class hosted in her kitchen, and her cakes are hotly sought after by Polly's Henhouse, a local diner. The Henhouse is the site of one major subplot: Iris, a well-off resale maven from Boston, notices that Monica, a waitress, and Tiny, a regular, appear to have a crush on each other but are each too shy to act. Iris and Lucille share a longing for the children each, for different reasons, never had. Iris' decision was compelled by her ex-husband, Ed, now remarried--with child!--whence her flight to a small town. Seeking distraction, Iris answers Lucille's call for an assistant. The deepest dives are into Lucille's sugar- and fat-laden creations--no diabetes fears here. Link, short for Lincoln, Lucille's neighbor, is raised by vegetarians and must be disabused of such scruples by Lucille, who babysits for him while his mother, Abby, receives treatment for leukemia. We long for more substance as Berg touches on, but does not really engage, topics like aging, mortality, and America's obsession with appearance. She never acknowledges the contradictions--or the opportunities--presented by Iris' strange compulsion to forgive Ed, Lucille's devil-may-care attitude toward buttercream, the weight issues Tiny and Monica share, and the fact that the person with the healthiest diet gets cancer. In this small town, truisms prevail over truth every time.Psychological realism sacrificed on the altar of niceness.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    September 10, 2018
    Mason, Mo., is the enchanting setting for a series of small but life-changing events in Berg’s winning novel (following The Story of Arthur Truluv). Lucille Howard teaches a baking class out of her home, filling some of her days now that her friend Arthur has passed away. Maddy and Nola, Arthur’s “adopted” daughter and granddaughter, often stop by, dotting the days with brief visits that bring back fond memories. Other characters in the ensemble cast include Iris Winters, new in town and still trying to move on from her divorce; Abby Summers, whose recent cancer diagnosis is challenging for her as well as for her husband, Jason, and their son, Lincoln; and Tiny Dawson, who can’t stop going to the local diner but also can’t find the courage to ask out waitress Monica Mayhew—who in turn can’t stop wishing he would. The story’s center, however, is Lucille, who doles out companionship to the friends and acquaintances who come and go through her kitchen. The language is smooth and the story moves along at a comfortable pace to a fitting, albeit easy, ending. This pleasant novel highlights the joys that can come from the little things in life.

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A Novel
Elizabeth Berg
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