Berg takes readers back to her story of Arthur Moses and tells of his youth and early adulthood. Arthur is the central character from The True Story of Arthur Truluv. Here we find him falling for Nola McCollum when they attend high school together. Unfortunately, Nola is interested in his brother.
The unrequited love for Nola defines Arthur’s life. His heart is set on the girl who thinks of him as a good friend. The friendship is touching but also sad. However, there are a couple of situations that involve issues that are not really addressed. Bad parenting and an inappropriate adult relationship should be red flags, but they get little attention.
The story may be predictable and Arthur may be unbelievably sweet, yet he’s so likeable that he warms your heart. His relationship with his brother Frank is also tender and moving and a highlight of the novel. The story is clearly set in an earlier era when dating was more chaste and that simplicity is nostalgic. While Arthur is shy and unassertive, Nola is popular and looking for a special boyfriend. Her friendship with Arthur is real and she genuinely enjoys her conversations with him, but she can’t see the truth of his feelings or his potential.
Perhaps loving the characters is enough to carry the plot. Berg writes with such tenderness. Her avoidance of tackling the tough issues she included was what kept my approval lower than most Berg books elicit from me. Still, an enjoyable and sweet novel.
I hadn't read the Mason series prior to reading Earth's the Right Place for Love, but it's not required reading to enjoy Elizabeth Berg's prequel. She weaves a rich tapestry of characters, and I'll look forward to more of this family.
Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for sharing this book with me. All thoughts are my own.
Economical and beautiful, this book is another shining example of what Berg does best: show us the beauty of the human heart in a world that sometimes tests our ability to see that beauty.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
Earth's the Right Place for Love by Elizabeth Berg is a prequel to her Mason series. I have read the first two books in the series, so when I saw that this book was about Arthur Truluv when he was growing up, I definitely wanted to read it. Arthur's real name is Arthur Moses, and this is the story of his early life. I loved getting to know his family. His father had issues and made mistakes, but in those days, you didn't admit you needed help. Arthur and Frank had such a great relationship. The were brothers but also best friends. I loved how much fun they had together growing up. Of course, we find out how he met his beloved Nola. This is a book that had all my emotions in play. I was laughing at their antics one moment, upset at another and in tears at other points. It is a beautifully written book, descriptive, yet quick moving. I was totally engrossed in Arthur's life and all that happened to him growing up. With well developed characters, and a down to earth story, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Earth's the Right Place for Love is beautifully written, heartwarming, and a wonderful coming of age story. Elizabeth Berg both wrote and narrated the story. I enjoyed her narration, as she was able to add emotion and expression where she intended when she wrote this one.
Earth’s the Right Place for Love
by Elizabeth Berg
I have read several novels by Elizabeth Berg. She excels at writing character driven novels. The first book I read by her was The Story of Arthur Truluv. I was enchanted by the character of Arthur, a kind, nonjudgemental, gentle, elderly man. In Earth’s the Right Place for Love, Berg returns to the character of Arthur as a sixteen year old. We learn that Arthur was the kind of person you could trust even as a teenager. He was always different from his peers. Never interested in sports, Arthur loved nature, especially plants. Most of the book follows his love for Nola who was cute, popular, and enjoyed Arthur’s friendship. Arthur wanted more, but never pushed for more from Nola who was very interested in Arthur’s older brother Frank.
I almost stopped reading the book during the first part because of physical abuse that happened when Arthur’s father was drunk. Those passages are not graphic but recognizing the occurrences is unavoidable. They ended about one-third of the way into the book. I was glad I just pushed on through as the rest of the book was so good. There is sadness to the book, but is is also a hopeful book with the main character mostly optimistic and patient.
Besides Arthur and Nola, Frank is another likable main character. He is bold, good at sports, and appeals to women. A sounding board and mentor for Arthur, Frank’s goal is to become a writer. The brothers’ relationship and Frank’s story are important parts of this novel. Their mother models love based on commitment. At times her actions make her seem weak, but actually she is strong and determined to keep her family together.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Category: General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Notes: 1. Although the protagonist, Arthur Moses, is the same Arthur as found in The Story of Arthur Truluv, this novel is about Arthur as a boy and young man. The stories are not dependent on each other.
2. The setting of the story is the small town of Mason where Berg has set three other novels.
3. Warning of potential trigger for some readers: references to physical abuse.
Publication: March 21, 2023—Random House
If nothing else, Arthur had learned this: love came in without knocking and stayed without your permission. And when hard times came between you and the one you loved, you didn’t run away. You stayed. His mother had told him that. His mother had demonstrated that.
“Remember, Pop was an orphan. And he didn’t get adopted until he was ten.” “Yeah, so?” “So it makes a difference, Arthur. Pop’s got a hole we won’t ever fill.”
The natural world was better than anything. He couldn’t say in words what it gave him, but he could feel it the minute he stepped outside: a kind of expansiveness and peace.
I tried to get into the book a few times, but I couldn’t connect with the characters. Perhaps if I’d read Arthur Truluv first, it would have made a difference.
I gave three stars because I think it was more about me than the book.
This beautiful coming of age novel provides the origin story for Arthur Truluv when he was just a shy teenager. I honestly didn’t read The Story of Arthur Truluv but I’m running to read it now!
Thank you #smpress and #NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review
This is the first book that i read by Elizabeth berg. I really enjoyed her writing. I think if i had read the other book i may have loved this book more. That being said it was still an enjoyable read for me and i would recommend it.
Thank you for the ARC netgalley.
I enjoyed Berg's latest delve into Arthur Truluv's past. He's a sweet teen boy with a love for Nola, a classmate. His brother is the athlete, the cool guy. His father is angry and his mother is just trying to hold it all together. I didn't think it flowed as well as other Berg books but it was a quick, entertaining read that gives the reader a glimpse of the events that created our beloved Arthur. We all should be so lucky to believe so wholeheartedly in love.
I absolutely love going back to Mason, Missouri with Elizabeth Berg. It just always feel like going home and being greeted with open arms. This is a wonderful book!
Many thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for this advanced readers copy. This book released March 21, 2023.
Confession. It’s been so long since I read Arthur Truluv, I went into this with no expectations - and was absolutely charmed. Gentle, touching,, and the right read at the right time.
What a beautiful, yet heartbreaking read. Elizabeth Berg develops characters so well and this book was no exception.
I loved this book. I had loved Arthur Truluv and was excited to see this prequel available. The writing is so simple, but yet so moving.
Love everything by Elizabeth Berg…and I didn’t realize this was an Arthur Truluve story until the end when I googled her other books…I need to reread the others. This book made me happy, made me cry, and made me think. Highly recommend.
As someone who loved Arthur Truluv, to read a prequel of his relationship with Nola was refreshing. I love Berg's writing style and how this story was just so simply told. Set in the late 1940's, Arthur's family is not without their share of issues. He and his brother are very different, but the love they have for each other just reflects on the character of Arthur. Their father has anger issues, but is a good person at heart.
And Nola. Nola and Arthur are best friends, and we all know (from books) that the best relationships start as friendship. I loved seeing their relationship develop from the very beginning. This book doesn't have a lot of action, but there is certainly levels of family dynamics and relationship dynamics included. Overall, it was a sweet book that fits perfectly with the other Arthur Truluv books.
Earth's the Right Place for Love is the prequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv. Arthur is young, growing up in Mason, Missouri with his parents and his brother, Frank. Nola McCollum is the girl of Arthur's dreams and nobody else even comes close. Between the moments of hope come heartache and grief, but will Arthur's dreams finally be fulfilled?
Honestly, I expected more from this novel and was a bit disappointed. There was a huge disconnect between Earth's the Right Place for Love and The Story of Arthur Truluv. Having read the other books in the series first, this novel just did not really have the impact that it should have. Nola and Arthur felt like different people from the aforementioned novel. Additionally, Nola was not exactly what I had expected, as she was different than the picture that Arthur painted of her. Overall, I almost wished that I did not read Earth's the Right Place for Love, as I did not feel that it detracted from the series as a whole.
Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Reader's Copy by NetGalley and the publisher. The decision to read and review this novel was entirely my own.
Oh, Elizabeth Berg has been an author I have loved for years. Her memorable characters and way with words - there is so much hidden wisdom in the seemingly innocent dialogues. This book is a prequel to The Story of Arthur Truluv. While it would help to read the other books in the series first, I think you could also read this one first and go from there. It is definitely a comfort read.
Elizabeth Berg has written such a beautiful coming of age story! I am a sucker for great imagery in a book and that is all what this book captured. Berg paints a clear picture for all readers to see this small town, to get to know the families and even the love. I enjoyed my time spent with this book. Elizabeth did a wonderful job.
Ah, it's the prequel for the Arthur Truluv stories. This one takes us back to Arthur's high school years as he grows up and in love. His older brother, Frank, is instrumental in guiding Arthur through the bumps of the mid teenage years. The boys share a bond that is endearing and yet typical. The older brother chaffs as the confinements of their father's mercurials moods, whereas Arthur is more compliant.
The Arthur Truluv books are delightful stories of his life and love and how he's able to share that love across generations.
I listened to this one on the Libby app. It is narrated by the author, which I thought made the book even better.
This is the first book I've read by this author, and apparently I should have started with The Story of Arthur TruLuv. This book furthers that story as a prequel to it. It's the story of 16-year-old Arthur Moses, his love for classmate Nola McCollum, and the family that shaped his life.
Arthur and his older brother, Frank, have always been very different, but their bond is strong. They spend many nights sharing secrets in their room, and lately, those secrets have been about the girls they both love. Arthur is devoted to Nola but she has a crush on his brother. Can he make her see that she's looking at the wrong Moses?
When tragedy strikes the Moses family, will they come through better than they were?
OK, so I had to keep telling myself as I read, "This is the 1940s, not now." So many people would have been jailed today for their actions in the story, but it was a different time, different mindset. I liked Arthur a lot, and I liked Frank, even though he was a bit of a trouble maker. His heart for his brother and willingness to take his father's beatings so his brother wouldn't ever have to made me like him even more. These characters had the ability to get under my skin.
If you have the chance to listen to the story, I can definitely recommend the audio version. It's a little slow to get into at first, but the reward of sticking with it is a very satisfying read.