Night of Miracles

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 28 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I very much enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it.  It reminded me of Fannie Flagg's books, which I also enjoy.  It was a quick read, but I felt like I got to know the characters well and connect with them.  It's a heartwarming story and who doesn't need that right now?
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Lovely feel-good book about life, friendships, especially those among women, and small towns. It also sparks reflection on the interweaving of lives through its many stages.
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Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg is a sequel to her 2017 novel The Story Of Arthur Truluv.  This alone would have made me read it, because I LOVED The Story Of Arthur Truluv.  If you have never read it I highly recommend it.  Night of Miracles was good, but the characters were not as endearing to me and the theme of the novel was not as apparent so it didn’t wind its way into my heart to the extent that the first book did.

The first novel was—well—comforting even though there were some hurtful situations in it.  Why?  Because its theme of kindness shone through and there were characters that took that hurt and made it better.  This novel is also about the comforts of small town life and we get to pick up with the happenings of some of the characters in the first novel and are introduced to new characters.

The small town is Mason, Missouri, where real life seems somewhat suspended.  One of the new characters, Iris, who moves there to recover from a painful divorce has moved there because she remembers her college roommate’s descriptions:  “One river, one cemetery, one department store, with wooden floors and a ribbon department."  I.e. a peaceful place she thinks.

And she isn’t wrong.  In Mason people care about other people and helping them get through life.

Berg, in her novels, many times seems to help her characters solve problems with a touch of magic realism.  This is true of one of my favorite carryover characters Lucille Howard.  Lucille, 88, is a lifelong spinster who had a career as a teacher of children.  She now teaches enormously successful baking classes where she puts her talents as a master baker ( and teacher) to work.  Here are two passages about Lucille that give you a taste for the novel.  The first passage is an example of that magic realism because the angel of death features in it:

“LUCILLE SITS AT HER KITCHEN TABLE WITH A CUP of coffee, staring straight ahead and seeing nothing. What a dream she had last night! Not about Frank. Not about Arthur. Not about anything she’s ever dreamed of or imagined. She almost can’t believe it didn’t really happen. But of course it didn’t. 
In the dream, she was awakened from sleep by the sound of a great thud coming from the backyard. At first, she thought it was an earthquake, and she lay still, trying to remember what she was supposed to do. Stand under a doorframe? But then, moving in the kind of slow-motion, underwaterish manner common to dreams, she went to the window, looked out, and saw a luminescence coming from the bank of hydrangeas running along her back fence. 
She cupped her hands around her eyes to see better into the darkness. A figure lay on his side next to the bushes, a man slight in build, short in stature, wearing blue jeans and a T-shirt. She widened her eyes, stepped back, then looked out again. He had something … What was that? It looked like he had something growing out of his back. 
She put on her robe and went downstairs and out onto her little back porch. 
“Hello?” she called out. 
“Oh! Hello,” the man called back. 
“Do you need help?” 
“Little tangled up here. I can’t seem to get up and stay up.” 
“I’ll call the paramedics,” Lucille said. 
“It won’t take them long.” 
“Don’t bother. They won’t be able to see me. I am invisible to everyone but you.” Okay, Lucille thought. A nutcase. She opened the door to go back inside and call the police. 
“Once, you tried to kill yourself, but you didn’t really mean it,” the man said. 
Lucille turned around slowly. It was true. She did try to kill herself, once, after Frank died. But all that happened is that she threw the pills up. And then Arthur came over and helped her, and well … here she is. 
“Who are you?” she called out. 
The man tried to get up again, and fell.
“Tell me who you are!” 
Any fear she might normally have had was muted in the dream, and she walked right over to the man. He looked like someone she knew, but she couldn’t think who. He sat up, put his hands in a prayer position, and looked up at her. 
“Lucille Rachel Howard, I am the angel of death, and I have come to take you home.” “Oh, you are not.” 
But she looked again at his back. Wings? 
“I’m afraid I am. That pain you had in your chest? It’s going to come back in a second, and you—” 
“Now, you listen to me. I am not ready and I’m not going with you, I’m going back inside my house. And you just …” She waved her hand as though swatting away a fly. “You just go on back where you came from because I am not ready!” 
She started walking, taking short, huffy steps, then spun around quickly. “For one thing, I have not had my miracle!” 
The man smiled at her and spread his arms wide. “What do you call this?” 
“You’re not even real!” Lucille said, and she ran into the house, slammed the door, and went back to bed.”

The second passage comes from the first chapter:
“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 were so clear they looked 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 was good to revisit some of the characters of the first novel in this sequel and I thank the publisher Random House as well as NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book and for allowing me to review it
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Following the last book I read, which was a pretty dark and scary, I wanted something nice as a bit of a palate cleanser. Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg seemed to be just the ticket. The sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv, I knew it would be just the thing I needed. This novel follows Lucille Howard and a whole new cast of neighbors in the small town of Mason, Missouri. We see bits of Maddi and Nola, but they are auxiliary characters in a book focused on Lucille's business, the family who has moved into her old house next door, Iris moving to town, and Tiny and Monica's will-they-won't-they relationship.

I absolutely adored Arthur Truluv and this book had so much of that same magic and charm, but I didn't find it quite as satisfying as I did the first book. This one ended too quickly and somehow it felt unfinished to me. Luckily Berg is working on a third book in the series so hopefully that will round it all out and give me that feeling I'm missing. Or maybe I still won't be able to get enough of these sweet characters. I can only hope that while Berg is at her writing table, she might consider adding a collection of Lucille's recipes. The descriptions in the book make my mouth water!

If you haven't read Arthur Truluv yet, I highly recommend that you do and then add Night of Miracles right behind it. You'll love this sweet small town and all the lovely people who live there.
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I have not read the first book in the novel, so this was a very confusing read because I had to identify the characters. However, it was a very charming, simple, and heart-wrenching read. I plan on reading the first novel to truly appreciate the sequel. Elizabeth Berg is a very talented writer, and I look forward to more.
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Author Elizabeth Berg returns to the small town of Mason, Missouri, in this follow-up novel to her wonderfully sweet tale, “The Story of Arthur Truluv.” In this “Winesberg, Ohio,”-ish tale readers get to reconnect with some of the characters from that earlier novel. This work is considered a stand-alone, and Berg does a wonderful job in providing readers with the information they need to know, but it’s a much better read if readers get to know Arthur, Lucille, Maddy and Nola first.
Lucille still lives in Arthur Moses’s house. Maddy and Nola have moved out of town and Maddy is finally pursuing her college degree in photography. Nola is five years old. While they move in and out of the plot, Lucille is the character that takes center stage, and she’s as busy keeping up with the goings-ons and gossip as she can be.
Her baking classes have become quite popular. So popular in fact that a woman of her age just can’t do it all anymore. She hires one of the town's new residents, Iris Winters, who is still trying to move on from her divorce as her assistant.  
Another character readers meet is Tiny Dawson, who operates the local taxi. Tiny takes most of his meals over at Polly’s Henhouse. He’s not there solely because of the food---he’s smitten with one of the waitresses, Monica Mayhew. He wants to ask her out, but can never seem to find the right words. And unbeknownst to Tiny, Monica is equally as smitten with him. Will they get together?
Lucille finally sells her house, which is right next door to the Arthur’s house. She keeps a close eye on the house, which has been purchased by a young couple and their son. A cancer diagnosis turns their world upside down, and Lucille pitches in to help.
I’ve read that Berg plans to set future novels in Mason, Missouri. I hope so. And I hope that she continues these sweet stories about real people facing real problems in a small town life.  I truly enjoyed “Night of Miracles,” and it receives 5 out of 5 stars in Julie’s world.
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Lucille continues her cooking classes in the home she inherited after Arthur Truluv passed away.  This is Lucille's story, along with that of Iris.  New-t0-town after an unsatisfying marriage, Iris unknowingly ruffles feathers for Monica.  Tiny, the local taxi driver, has been sweet on Monica for months and Iris helps him find his way.  Next door, in Lucille's old house, live a new family where the young mother is battling cancer.  Lucille becomes the childcare provider for the elementary-aged son.  Lucille asks the angel of death for one miracle before she dies. Whether that is her imagination or not, we do not know.  
Each of the characters has their own heartaches, but friendship with one another helps them move toward more peace and joy.
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This was a very sweet and charming southern tale. I have to admit though, I didn't know there was a story before this one about Arthur Truluv. So, I wasn't familiar with the characters that carried over from that story to this one. However, having said that, I still recommend this book. 

This second book picks up with Lucille Howard. An honest, gruff, strong woman with a heart of gold. She is a very giving person and would do just about anything for those she cares and loves about. Her late friend inspired her to start teaching a baking class (something he did in the first book - one of those things I missed). Through his inspiration, her small baking class has become quite successful. Since, she's not the youngest spring chicken, she hires Iris to help her out. 

Iris is new to town and trying to come to grip with some of the choices she's made in life. When Lucille starts spending more time with her neighbors, babysitting the children, and adopting them as if they were her own family, Iris has more time to come into her own. She meets Tiny, her neighbor who has a crush on the local waitress. Finding out how this will sway town thoughts and the dynamics of friendship are explored.

The book is sweet and I feel like I read it entirely too fast since I just couldn't put it down. I hope she writes more about this town and it's characters. I can't wait to see what will happen next. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the ARC and entering me into a world I didn't know existed.
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So I just finished this book today. It was a quick, light read with lovable characters and lots of mini plotlines which are woven together by the characters in unexpected ways. It's a glimpse of life in a small, friendly town, and Berg writes from various characters POVs, so we get a good understanding of the story and can relate to it better. It is a simple storyline, with a very slight supernatural element that is very effective in its portrayal of its characters, their hopes and desires, their flaws and their misunderstandings.

I didn't love Arthur Truluv as much as most people did. I found it kind of boring and feel similarly disappointed with this one. It's Elizabeth Berg so of course the writing is good. But I think it's just not my genre.
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Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgally for review purposes.

I'm actually not that big into this 'genre' of book, but I actually really liked this! It, to me, was a type of cozy read. The characters were quaint, each story was cute, and overall it was enjoyable. I feel like a lot of cozy reads can be kind of cringey and border on annoying, but this one was really refreshing. I know it's sorta a sequel but I'd never read the first, and I can say without a doubt I'll be checking it out next time i stop at the library.

Really cute little book!
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I discovered Elizabeth Berg here on Net Galley and she is quickly become one of my favorite authors.  She has a talent for describing charcters and a flow to her writing that is so pleasing you never want the book to end. I highly recommend this book for your reading enjoyment. 
Thank you for the ARC with gratitude which does not influence my personal review. .

There is a sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv.  I do recommend reading it first.  Five years have gone by and our feisty 88 year old Lucille is busy with her baking classes. She requires a helper so she puts out a ad for help.  A woman named Iris who has arrived from Boston answers her ad. Iris is not a baker but she wants to learn and the two women bond immediately.  Soon their lives are intertwined. 

Lucille is friends with the neighbors son Tiny, who lives in the same  building . He is terribly shy and Lucille wants to help him by encouraging him to flirt with the women he is in love with. This is a very sweet side to this book and so endearing. This is just one of many lively charcters that keep this story so heartfelt and sweet. I love the way the author weaves each character to Lucille with a basis of kindness and compassion. 

I love Elizabeth Berg’s ability to write inspiring stories about people who are kind, care for their neighbors and genuinely have compassion for their fellow man. The charcters in this book are all doing good for others something that is rare in today's world.  I am always swept away by her stories and sad when the book ends. I highly recommend this book for your reading enjoyment.  This is a wonderful read of good moral charcters and a step back into a better way of life.
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Night of Miracles by Elizabeth Berg is a story of community, friendship, and helpers. It’s a small town filled with various character of all ages, showing us that compassion and empathy overcomes all differences. 

This is actually the sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv. It isn’t necessary to read the first book to enjoy this one, I haven’t read it, yet. I’m adding it to my TBR because I loved the writing and the characterization.

Lovely is the best word to sum up this book. If you love small stories of community, vibrant characters, and the lesson of love thy neighbor - this book is for you!
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This is classic Elizabeth Berg. It was engaging, sweet, with loveable characters. However, mid-way through, I gave up. There were so many characters Berg wrote about it, it became a bit frustrating. Thankfully, I picked it up again a day later and couldn't put it down. 
I wouldn't really term this magical realism. I think of Alice Hoffman when I think MR, and Bergs foray into the category is very tepid. So if you love magical realism, you might be "where is it?" If you are staying away from the book because of MR, no need, this is very light on that. And you'd be missing out on a wonderful cozy read. As always, you'll be hungry while reading, so have some really good desserts around, preferably, home-made!
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i was completely taken in by this story. I read it as a standalone but it did prompt me to check out other titles in the series. It's sad, but uplifting and can restore your faith in humanity. Just a feel good book
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This book was a sequel of sorts to "The Story of Arthur Truluv," as Lucille from that book is one of the main characters, and there are appearances by Maddy as well. Basically, it's about a bunch of quirky character in a small town in Missouri, and more so than plot it's about the connections between people and all different kinds of friendship and relationships. I loved "Arthur Truluv" (even though I hate the title), but I loved this one even more - there are definitely sad parts of the book, but overall it's just such a heart-warming and life-affirming story. You could theoretically read this as a standalone, but I wouldn't recommend it. So if you already read the first one, definitely read this one, and if not, go back and read "The Story of Arthur Truluv" and then read this one too and you won't be disappointed.   4.5 stars.
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What a lovely book.  I think you must read "The Story of Arthur Truluv" before you read this book to give you some context and get introduced to the cast of characters, otherwise, I'm afraid "Night of Miracles" might leave you feeling a little lost.  However, those same characters are back like old friends and it was a joy to see them again with all their quirks and faults.  Honestly, I was sad when the book had to end.

Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Night of Miracles picks up where The Story of Arthur Truluv left off.   Lucille has started giving baking classes out of her home.  This allows her to meet people she would not have met otherwise and introduces us to some new characters who live in Mason, MO.  Everyone in this story has an issue or two that they are dealing with, both happy and sad.

I was thrilled to see this sequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv.  I enjoyed every single minute I spent with the folks from Mason.  I liked how the characters lives intermingled and they all ended up helping each other.  Even the sad parts were handled with compassion and love.  I sure hope there will be more tales to come from this lovely little community.

My thanks to Random House Publishing and Netgalley.
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'Night of Miracles' is the second novel in the Arthur Truluv series by Elizabeth Berg. If you haven't read the first one I highly recommend you go get yourself a copy to read and then come back to this. It's a wonderful read as stand-alone but the story that comes before it is so sweet and gives a bit more background for some of the characters in the novel that you're truly missing out if you don't read that too.

This story was touching and sweet, yet also sad and thoughtful at times. It contains true-life life events and situations and it makes you think a bit about your mortality and the legacy you leave behind. A wonderful women's fiction novel for anyone that enjoys a touching story about life.
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Before you read this book, I suggest you read The Story of Arthur Truluv as it sets up the story for a few of the characters. I didn't realize Night of Miracles was the sequel and I felt I may have enjoyed the book better. I received the ARC of this book through Netgalley and Random House. 

Lucille is a retired school teacher who is getting up there in years. To keep busy she holds baking classes for the residents of Mason, including some children's baking class. She receives some unexpected help in the form of Iris, new to Mason after leaving an unfulfilling marriage. Iris, though she doesn't need a job, knows she needs to keep busy. She can only sit around her apartment for so long without becoming bored. She'd also like to meet new people. She happens upon Lucille through a baking class and offers her marketing expertise to Lucille. Lucille often dreams of her beloved Frank, a man she truly loved but never got a chance to marry when he died suddenly. She dreams often of him but isn't quite ready to join him in the hereafter. Night of Miracles projects you into the lives of Lucille, Iris, and a host of other characters.

While I did enjoy this book, I didn't love it. I really wanted to see the relationships between the characters develop more, particularly between Tiny and Monica. 
I felt as though the story seemed a little rushed and it seemed like there were too many characters. There wasn't enough time to get to know them better. Tiny and Monica's romance though quirky and ill-timed (as all good romances are), seemed a little rushed. I really fell in love with Tiny and wanted to know more about him. The same goes for Abby and Jason. Abby's illness also felt rushed and incomplete.

Overall a lovely book and an enjoyable read.
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Elizabeth Berg is among my favorite authors because she writes from the heart. Her latest, "Night of Miracles," is yet another example of what happens when a writer creates inspiring characters.

The novel is the sequel to "The Story of Arthur Truluv," a love story with twists, but it can stand on its own as an inspirational tale of hope, redemption and commitment. Set in a fictional Missouri town, it's the story of Lucille, an 88-year-old baker extraordinaire and spitfire. She keeps an eye on the comings and goings next door where Arthur once lived, but now occupied by a young couple and their 10-year-old son.

Did I mention Lucille is an outstanding baker? She gives baking lessons in her home, and supplies Polly's Henhouse restaurant with delicacies. The baked goods are a favorite of Tiny, a cab driver who is in love with a waitress named Monica. The pair are working towards a relationship when Iris, a Boston divorcee with personal issues, comes to town.

Berg's novel has a full cast of characters, and each one is finely detailed and intricate. There's love, illness, thanksgiving, death, but most importantly, compassion and hope all woven into this fictional tapestry. And together, these colorful characters make up a community where we all would enjoy saying "Hi, neighbor." 

ARC provided by NetGalley
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