The Confession Club

The Confession Club

by Elizabeth Berg

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An uplifting novel about friendship, surprising revelations, and a second chance at love, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Story of Arthur Truluv.

When a group of friends in Mason, Missouri, decide to start a monthly supper club, they get more than they bargained for. The plan for congenial evenings—talking, laughing, and sharing recipes, homemade food, and wine—abruptly changes course one night when one of the women reveals something startlingly intimate. The supper club then becomes Confession Club, and the women gather weekly to share not only dinners but embarrassing misdeeds, deep insecurities, and long-held regrets.

They invite Iris Winters and Maddy Harris to join, and their timing couldn't be better. Iris is conflicted about her feelings for a charming but troubled man, and Maddy has come back home from New York to escape a problem too big to handle alone. The club offers exactly the kind of support they need to help them make some difficult decisions.

The Confession Club
is charming, heartwarming, and inspiring. And as in the previous books that take place in Mason, readers will find friendship, community, and kindness on full display.

Advance praise for The Confession Club
“[A] feel-good testament to taking risks, falling love, and reinvention . . . Berg effortlessly wraps her arms around this busy universe of quirky characters with heartbreaking secrets and unflagging faith. . . . Readers new to Berg’s Mason will be dazzled by this bright and fascinating story, and fans will be cheering for the next volume set there.”Publishers Weekly

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781984855183
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/19/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 577
File size: 2 MB

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.


Chicago, Illinois

Date of Birth:

December 2, 1948

Place of Birth:

St. Paul, Minnesota


Attended the University of Minnesota; St. Mary¿s College, A.A.S.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Spill It, Girls

For Confession Club, Joanie Benson is going to make Black Cake. It seems right: dense, mysterious, full of odd little bits and pieces of surprising ingredients. It was seeing The Belle of Amherst that gave her the idea. Joanie had enjoyed the play, not so much for all that “Truth must dazzle gradually” stuff—although, come to think of it, didn’t that fit right in with Confession Club? But no, never mind Emily Dickinson drifting around the stage in her white dress, tossing off lines of poetry that made others in the audience quietly gasp; Joanie was fixated on the cake Emily was making. Emily gave out the recipe in a rush of ingredients, but of course one is not prepared to copy down a recipe in a darkened theater, and besides, Joanie wasn’t persuaded that it was a real recipe, anyway. But in the lobby afterward, the theater did a very nice thing: they served Black Cake, and Joanie had some, and it was delicious.

When she was driving home from the play with her friend Gretchen Buckwalter, Joanie waited to get off the freeway to talk. No matter who is driving, they don’t talk on the freeway, they don’t even listen to the radio. (Joanie is a better driver than Gretchen in the sense that she still will make left turns. Gretchen goes around the block, so that she can make a right.) But once they were on the two-lane highway leading to Mason, driving past open fields, Joanie relaxed her grip on the wheel. She told Gretchen she was going to find the recipe for Black Cake and make it for Confession Club, which, don’t forget, was at her house this Wednesday.

“What?” asked Gretchen. She hadn’t been listening; she’d been trying to catch a glimpse of herself in the side-view mirror, never mind the lack of light. Gretchen is sixty-nine years old and one of those former knockouts who just can’t stop mourning the loss of her looks. She admits that if she didn’t think God would punish her by making her die on the OR table—and if she could afford it—she’d have every bit of plastic surgery she could, head to toe. Gretchen knows she is shallow in this regard, but she kind of enjoys being shallow this way. And anyway, she believes her fixation with looking good helps make her store, Size Me Up!, the success that it is. Her boutique is for women of a certain age who still want to fight the good fight, as Gretchen sees it. She has lots of cape-y and drape-y things that cover a multitude of sins. She also sells a lot of jewel-toned scarves that seem to say, Yoo hoo! Up here! Look up here!

Her dressing rooms have curtains that close all the way and her sales staff is trained never to open those curtains—if another size is needed, the customer’s arm comes out when she is good and ready to snatch the hanger. The lighting in the dressing rooms is adequate but merciful, due to the use of pink bulbs; the carpeting is thick, and the white leather benches for sitting on are not those tiny insubstantial things you see in other dressing rooms. Best of all, good music is always playing and wine is available, too, should you need it to counteract the shock of seeing yourself in a full-length mirror in your underwear.

Joanie, on the other hand, has always been satisfied with her admittedly plain-Jane looks. Who cares? She looks friendly! She is friendly! She still wears the bob she wore in high school and she eschews any makeup beyond mascara and pink lipstick. She has a wide-eyed expression that seems to say, Well, hi there! She doesn’t mind the extra weight she carries. She thinks Gretchen is a little nuts for the way she is always dieting, for the way she holds on to her long red hair and hoop earrings. But Gretchen does have her good qualities. And for heaven’s sake, they’ve been friends since they were both in their high school’s production of South Pacific. Gretchen, a senior, was Nellie, the lead; Joanie, a freshman, was one of the native girls wearing a “grass” skirt made of newspaper strips painted green, and a bikini top. She used to help Gretchen run lines and they just hit it off, despite the age difference that then seemed immense and now seems negligible.

“What did you say?” Gretchen asked Joanie, and Joanie told her again that she was going to make the Black Cake Emily Dickinson had talked about. She said she’d go to the library where she used to work and research the recipe. Joanie liked any excuse to go to the library; she liked it especially if a patron came up and said they missed her.

“That was your takeaway from the performance?” Gretchen asked. “The cake?”

During the play, Gretchen herself was all Miss Pittypat, her bosom practically heaving, her eyes damp enough to require Gretchen dabbing at them now and then with a balled-up Kleenex. Gretchen was the first to rise for the standing ovation, which the actress did deserve—my goodness, all those lines, all that feeling—but Joanie got a little annoyed that she had to move her jacket and purse and then push up hard on the armrests to stand, which hurt her elbows, because even though she’s only sixty-five, she has awful arthritis. Then she had to endure what she thought was excessive—really, just excessive—applause from the crowd (one person shouting, “Brava!” with a rolled r, for heaven’s sake!). All that clapping and clapping and clapping, Joanie’s hands got tired, but who wanted to be the party pooper and stop clapping first?

Well, that’s what you get when you leave the sensible little town of Mason, Missouri, and drive all the way to Columbia, everyone putting on airs all over the place, even the waitstaff in the restaurants: “Good evening, I’m Thaddeus, I’ll be your server for the evening. May I start you out with one of our signature cocktails?” And then that business of not writing down anything she orders, which always makes Joanie a nervous wreck. Joanie prefers the greeting offered by the waitstaff in restaurants she frequents in Mason: “Well, look who’s here. The usual, hon?”

Still, one must endeavor to incorporate a little culture into one’s life. One can’t rely on the Town Players and the Gazebo Summertime Band and Poulet Frisée Olé for everything. Joanie also attends the monthly poetry readings at the library, but that is less culture than charity, Grace Haddock and her impenetrable lines of alliteration every time. Alliteration does not a poem make, thinks Joanie, and she’s not the only one, judging by the gritted teeth and crossed arms of the people around her whenever Grace grips the edges of the podium and lets fly. Most of the poems the participants present aren’t very good. Still, each time Joanie walks home from one of those readings, she thinks about something she heard. Once a man wrote about his first kiss. “Lips as soft as petals,” he’d said shyly, his head down, and it made Joanie go all melty inside, which only went to prove that she was, too, a romantic person, never mind what others sometimes said about her. (Once, at Confession Club, they were talking about first loves and someone said Joanie’s first—and only—love was Dewey Decimal.)

The poet that night said something else, too, about eyes shining in the dark, and Joanie liked thinking about that, those young eyes, that first kiss. It made her think about her own first kiss, which was in a basement and, oh, Lord, it was her cousin, which she will never tell anyone, and she hopes he never will, either. He doesn’t live in Mason anymore, thank goodness. It still makes her squinch up inside to think about that kiss, which was the best kiss she ever had, and isn’t that sad, to have had your best kiss when you were twelve years old? If she’d known that at the time, she might have felt like throwing in the towel. But there’s more to life than sex, especially at her age. She’s at a kind of tipping point, she feels. Not young anymore, not old, but looking down at old like it’s a pool she’s going to have to dive into soon. But not yet. Not yet. She’s glad many of her friends are younger. She and Gretchen agree that it’s good to be around younger people. Things rub off. Totally, Joanie has begun saying, with no self-consciousness at all. Gretchen has yet to follow, but she does say cool. She also says that cool was created more by their generation than by this one. So.

Confession Club started accidentally. It used to be Third Sunday Supper Club, formed from a group of eight women ranging in age from their thirties to their seventies, all of whom had taken baking classes with Iris Winters. After the women grew comfortable enough with one another, they began sharing things they’d done wrong. It just became, as they say, a thing, and after a while, they decided to meet more often, twice a month, then weekly. At each meeting, someone confessed to something she’d done recently or long ago. And just like in church, it made people feel better, because at the end of the meeting the group said in unison to the confessor, “Go in peace.” Very powerful words, whatever your belief system. On certain days, those words could make you feel like crying.

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The Confession Club 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous 2 days ago
The third book in this series focuses more on Iris, her life as a divorced woman living and working in Mason, Missouri, and also brings Maddy from the first book back home. Just as with the first two books, there is the hometown sweetness to the characters that makes you share a slice of pie with them. The only thing for me is that I didn’t feel there was a whole lot of substance to this book. The story line of sexy-but-homeless John didn’t ring true, and the build up of Maddy’s “confession” didn’t quite have the payoff I thought it would. Not a bad book, by any means----I think that would be impossible for Elizabeth Berg to write, anyway----but not her best. Special Note: Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3900980 3 days ago
A group of women from a small Missouri town agree to a monthly meeting to confess intimate stories of their lives which they have never told anyone before. They decide to call themselves the Confession Club. What begins as a way of unburdening themselves, turns into a group of women who help and support each other as they divulge secrets some have kept hidden away for years. The cast of characters gives you that small town community feel, where everybody knows everyone’s business (mostly) and the gossip can be spot on, or misleading. Iris is a divorced woman who teaches baking classes in the town. Lonely and still heartbroken she meets a man, John who himself is tortured by his own sense of loss. Maddy and her daughter Nola live in New York with Maddy’s husband. Maddy decides to take Nola back to the town because she yearns for that township feel, but is afraid her husband will not agree, so instead of discussing this with him, she runs back to her past. Maddy’s young daughter Nola is the sage of the group, happily doling out her innocent yet profound advice to them all. And of course there are the funny quirky characters you will find in any small town whose adventures (and confusion) keep the reader amused! With humor, love, sadness and determination, the women of the Confession Club not only come together to teach each other with their advice, but their lessons of letting go of guilt can be learned by anyone who reads this beautifully written story. My one caveat would be that Iris’ recipes should be included! My mouth was watering during each club meeting!
rcahill 4 days ago
Many women rely on the support they receive from friends under the guise of a book club, church small group, or a dinner club. Elizabeth Berg takes this idea of female friendship and offers us The Confession Club, based upon a weekly meeting in which its participants unburden themselves in a judgement free zone. This novel is the third in the Mason, MO series and although the three books include overlapping characters, each novel can stand on its own. In The Confession Club we meet a multitude of supporting players, but then we get to know Iris, a woman who has resettled after her divorce and is pursuing a dream of offering baking lessons. She is unsure about herself and planning for her life in middle-age, when a mysterious man comes into her life. Iris will use her new friendships as a framework for her updated outlook on life and her self-worth. The women in The Confession Club are representative of multiple generations, attitudes, and backgrounds, so each reader will identify with at least one member. The real takeaway from Berg’s novel is the importance of female support and friendships, no matter your age.
mzglorybe 4 days ago
2019 My Recommendation 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 because it’s Elizabeth Berg, one of my faves. I am never sorry to have read any of her works. I didn’t realize that this was a continuation of the Trulove novels which I so enjoyed, when I requested it from NetGalley. These are about some of the people mentioned in those novels and the continuation of their stories, and some new characters as well. The Confession Club is a group of women in Mason, Mo. who meet weekly for socializing. It turns into a confession club when one woman confesses to something that has been bothering her and it’s decided that that will be the topic for the meetings, rotating around to each member of the club. I found their stories entertaining and as I have come to expect from Berg, a few gems of wisdom tossed in. I highlighted several statements I want to remember. I particularly liked how one woman defined how she wants to exit this world with a party and how she will choreograph it all if she gets the chance and whenever the time comes. Brilliantly, I thought. Very cute but ended rather abruptly with a predictable situation. Thank you NetGalley, Publisher Random House, and author Berg for the fun and enjoyment of reading this ARC. .
BigReader7860 4 days ago
First of all, I must say I have always loved Elizabeth Berg’s writing. Never Change is high on the list of my favorite books ever. Lately I’ve been somewhat disappointed. While I did enjoy Arthur Truluv, I am not happy about the last three books. Okay- that said, I found The Confession Club hard to read. I even had a difficult time remembering who was who. It was not the writer of her earlier books which had sentences that brought tears to my eyes. I liked The two main characters but had a hard time with both of them. I was in college when Vietnam took place. Yes I may have been somewhat sheltered but I have never met anyone with PTSD. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest opinion.
MLyons 5 days ago
The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg is the third in a series (following The Story of Arthur Truluv and Night of Miracles) — and hopefully not her last! Although this can definitely be read as a standalone, please do yourself a favor and read the previous novels in this series before this one. The characters will become even more memorable as you read along. The story Berg tells in The Confession Club is a one which takes place in a small town in middle America — Mason, Missouri. It focuses on a dinner club in which the members take turns confessing personal details about themselves for which they feel guilty and are then forgiven by the other women. It is a character-driven story of community, camaraderie and women supporting women. The characters are very well-developed, and the novel is beautifully written, heartwarming and inspiring. I have found all of Berg’s novels to be wonderful reads, and this one is no exception.
Anonymous 6 days ago
The Confession Club is a novel set in the same location with some of the same characters from The Story of Arthur Truluv.. This is the continuing story of Maddie, they young girl from the previous novel. Her story continues after she has moved back temporarily with her daughter, Nora, New characters are introduced as a group of women of all ages have formed the Confession Club - a meeting where participants discuss their own personal confessions. This heartwarming novel is character driven as each grows and works through their own struggles. It was a nice follow up to The Story of Arthur Truluv and fans of Elizabeth Berg will not be disappointed. Thank you to Random House and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review the book in exchange for an honest review.
Shelley-S-Reviewer 9 days ago
So I began reading Ms. Berg's The Confession Club and found myself drawn in right from the start. Elizabeth Berg is a character-oriented writer who is absolutely brilliant in her ability to create personalities that are vibrant and believable - and that includes every age, from 8-88. There's a hint of "Our Town" in a way that is very appealing. The book covers life in the small Missouri town of Mason. The individual characters' stories are fascinating all by themselves. Berg's choreography intertwines the characters, both new and old. The Confession Club is uplifting, but never saccharine, so I absolutely adored it. This is the third book in the series, there is no need to read the other two but I highly recommend you do. Now that I've read all three Mason books I'm going to read the other two books again, then return to this one for another look at the entirety of the town and its fascinating citizens. I don't want to say more - no spoilers - but even if this is not your genre, you may well love it as much as I did. When a writer is so good at creating realistic and compelling characters, genre is not an issue...even though she is my favourite author. In a word...this book is wowsome.
Anonymous 10 days ago
I was so excited to get my hands on this book by Elizabeth Berg. I've been a fan of hers for YEARS. I admit, that the last few books of hers I have not read and perhaps that's why I didn't LOVE this one. Also, I have come to realize that I love the grip of thrillers. I thought this would be a nice treat, a quick read with beautiful descriptions of ladies similar to the Southern ones I've known all my life. I have to say, I struggled to finish this one. I struggled with all of the characters, their names felt unfitting for their ages and I found that each time I picked it back up, I had to re-acclimate myself with each of them. For that reason, I gave The Confession Club 2 stars. It just wasn't my speed. And, that was difficult for me because I love the writing style of Elizabeth Berg so much, I follow her on FB because her updates are so beautifully written. Better luck next book! I received this digital ARC from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an unbiased review. Thank you to @Netgalley and @RandomHouse !
marongm8 10 days ago
This book was received as an ARC from Random House Publishing Group - Random House in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own. Books like these are very heartwarming and they definitely put a smile to my face. It's wonderful to see a group of women coming together and just because one of them shares an intimate story, that was a turn around from a sharing group to a confession club. The stories they share and the support they gave one another was very inspiring and I cried almost through the entire book. Elizabeth Berg really embraced this concept and did a spectacular job bringing it to life. I know our library community will really appreciate but most of all embrace this book and we can't wait to share it with them. We will consider adding this title to our Adult Fiction collection at the library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
marquis784MA 11 days ago
I received this digital ARC from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for an unbiased review. With characters gathered from the prior two novels, a group of women from Iris’s cooking class organize a group for “confessions”. They rotate their meetings and serve a dinner appropriate for the occasion. Each night to dedicated to a particular member who can share a secret or concern to unburden herself. The group’s goal is offer confidential support and advice to their fellow members. The story continues as Maddy Harris returns from New York where she needs a respite from her busy life. She moves in with Iris Winters who has since begun to care for the house in her absence. Iris has continued with the cooking lessons started by her friend and mentor Lucille. The group decides to allow Maddy and Iris into their exclusive group where support and understanding are the ingredients for their recipe of friendship.
singingshauna 11 days ago
Elizabeth Berg can write. Maybe it’s my age, maybe she’s writing about things that I know about, such as a Magic Slate or the Marlboro Man. And baby goats! Yes, we should all google baby goats. This is a most beautifully written story. Pretty sure I will put it forward as my Book Club selection next summer. It’s that good. Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for the ARC.
bookluvr35SL 11 days ago
In Mason, Missouri a group of ladies decides to start a monthly supper club. It begins as a place to get together and have a nice home-cooked meal with lots of wine & conversation, but one night one of the ladies confesses something to the others and from then on it beomes the Confessions Club. Each month someone has to take a turn confessing something to judgements and nothing ever leaves the room. They invite Iris & Maddy and it is perfect timing since they each have something in their lives they need to unburden themselves with. First, let me say I love Elizabeth Berg's books and the Mason, Missouri series. Second, I do want to add that if you haven't read any of the others, it is fine. They all take place in the same town and the stories build on each other, but you won't be lost if you read them out of order. I love the small town setting & characters. They feel "real" they may be someone you know. She has a knack for telling a story that makes you feel like you are really there.. I loved this book and I highly recommend it!
Shoeguru 11 days ago
I really loved the characters in this book and how they put it all out there in their confessions. This book was fresh, fun, and really kept me intrigued to learn more about their stories. I really loved the writing style and the overall character development was very great. This is one of these books that ends and you don't want it to. I will definitely be recommending this book to others and will seek out more works from this author. Thanks for the ARC, Net Galley.
LHill2110 11 days ago
Writing: 4/5 Plot: 3.5/5 Characters: 4/5 The Confession Club is the third book in the continuing chronicles of Mason, Missouri (aka the Arthur Truluv sequels). Iris Winters — almost 50, renting the house where Arthur Truluv once lived, and continuing Lucille Howard’s baking classes — falls slowly and gently in love. The target of her affections is a man most would consider inappropriate — a homeless man who has taken up residence in a nearby abandoned farm. As a kind of Greek chorus, we also meet a group of women who belong to the Confession Club, where each meeting focuses discussion on one woman’s confession of perceived misdeed or general shame. This opens the story up to interesting exchanges about morals, guilt, and general life expectations. Berg writes comforting books — books where happy endings exist and joy can be found even by those who least expect it as a possibility. Her characters are not young, hunky, and confused — instead they are older, experienced, and possess beautiful souls rather than bodies. The characters are well developed and endowed with a wide range of personalities — I found it interesting to see which characters I was drawn to, which irritated me, which I found prissy, funny, warm, or refreshingly direct. I’m sure each reader will have his/her own personal reactions to these realistic individuals — they serve as a kind of Rorschach test for understanding ourselves. I did enjoy this book, but it didn’t bowl me over as did The Story of Arthur Truluv. Whereas I found Arthur to be a believable (and very lovable) character, I had a little more trouble with John Loney, the homeless veteran. He didn’t feel quite as fleshed out or believable (to me) and definitely not a representative sample of the homeless people I encounter regularly in San Francisco.
andi22 11 days ago
I loved The Story of Arthur Truluv; less so Night of Miracles. This one--not at all. I laughed from time to time, but also grimaced at what I thought a contrived plot and some of the "action." [SPOILER ALERT: I saw the hookup between Iris and John coming miles away. And one of the "ugh" moments-- "The shape of his lips makes her feel as though she's gone liquid." Additionally, when one of the characters noted that she thought The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted was a beautiful book [and this was at the beginning], that sort of sealed the downward trajectory for me as I DID NOT LIKE that book either. Occasionally a sentence/image, I liked. "...frail scaffolding of self-confidence..." "...moved on to a rose...the clerk at County Line liquors couldn't stop raving about. "He said it had fine character...As if he were providing a job reference!" "...phones have become adult pacifiers" I could have walked away from this book at any time. Although I liked all the characters, I never felt engaged. Sweet [sometimes almost cloying] but not enough. A huge disappointment.
3593918 13 days ago
Loved the book, did not realize it was a continuation of the Arthur Trulove story which made it even better, Being the same age as Iris I cried on the last page when I realized what was happening. I wish more books were written about seniors!
brf1948 13 days ago
I received a free electronic copy of this contemporary novel from Netgalley, Elizabeth Berg, and Random House Publishers. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read The Confession Club of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I urge friends and family to read this book. It will have you laughing, crying, and seeing your own life through a happiness filter. I received an ARC for Elizabeth Berg's 'Talk Before Sleep' in 1993 and fell in love with her prose. And then there was 'Range of Motion'! What heartbreaking tales featuring the warmth and caring of humankind! The 'Confession Club' is another excellent example of this. Elizabeth Berg can play your heartstrings with just a sentence or two. In this latest Berg novel, we have women ranging in age from their thirties to their seventies in this little insular town of Mason, Missouri who years ago started the Third Sunday Supper Club, alternating meetings at members kitchens. Membership was ideally limited to eight as that is all that can be seated at their kitchen tables. As the ladies became more comfortable with one another they began sharing secrets, then meeting more often, and they eventually became the weekly Wednesday Night Confession Club. Because you always feel better when your secrets, recent or in the deep dark past, aren't just yours any longer. And you trust they won't go beyond these club members. The ladies take turns hosting each week, sharing a sin, big or little, after supper and dessert. They discuss thoroughly this sin and share ideas or shared common sins and then end the meeting by everyone saying 'Go in peace'. This also eventually evolved into 'Go in Peach' (thanks to Leah) and was accompanied by this week's confessor wearing home the club forgiveness symbol, a delicate peach scarf. Joanie Benson is a divorcee and 65, the town's recently retired librarian with severe arthritis. She is a 'native' Masonite along with 69-year-old Gretchen Buckwalter, owner of the local grocery store. Rosemary Doleman is 58, more 'glamorous' than the others, the wife of the local Chevrolet dealer who is a bit spoiled and is turning 60 in 18 months. She has to get used to saying 'almost sixty', and it will take time. Dodie Hicks is 'north of seventy', though she won't say how far north, dyes her hair deep black and wears alarming makeup. Anne McCrae is 74 and she and Leah Short live in the local retirement home. Leah is their senior member at 77. Toots Stout is 47 and the newly elected president of the town council. She does her best to keep order among club members whether they like it, or not. Karen Lungren, 35, is the minister's wife and the youngest member of the Confession Club. She often has to remind the ladies that her husband is the pastor - she is just the wife and not necessarily bound by the same rules. Together, these ladies are hilarious and very, very touching. They offer each other joy and forgiveness and lots of humor and goodwill - but change is in the wind. Will it be the same when Anne and Leah move to a retirement home in sunny Arizona next month? Iris Winters is a relative newcomer to Mason, a Boston transplant pushing 50, also divorced, who teaches a baking class for local women in the kitchen of her rented home once a week. Club member Joanie is a student of Iris' weekly baking class and gets Iris involved with the club when Joanie needs a Black Cake
CynB 13 days ago
Elizabeth Berg returns us to the town of Mason for the Mason series’ third installment. Yes, read the series in order. It will enhance your appreciation of this town which seems to exist in a bubble, exempt from any influence of national events, let alone politics. I am not sure that I would want to live there but I definitely want to visit. Mason is a community in which people grow up and age among family, friends, and neighbors. They connect and stay connected despite all the slights, hurts, and misunderstandings that we all confront. This story focuses on a group of women who began a monthly supper club which morphed into a “Confession Club.” What is a Confession Club? It is gathering at which members confess those things they have done, and about which they are deeply ashamed and embarrassed. This is a sweet, uplifting story – an antidote to the murder and mayhem genre from which many of us need to occasionally take a break. I’ve enjoyed this series and will look to visit Mason when the next installment is released. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read an electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
bookaholique 14 days ago
A group of women, who live in Mason, MO, decide to turn their monthly supper club into a confession club. Each attendee is allowed to confess her deepest and sometimes darkest secrets, without fear of judgement. As luck would have it, group newcomers Iris and Maddy are invited to join just when each has a need for friendship and support. What a joy it was to be back with the folks in Mason, MO. It is such a delightful place to spend time and I was reminded how much I enjoyed the characters. The women of the confession club are of varying ages and each brings a unique personality and perspective to the table. And while it wasn't always hugs and kisses at each meeting, by the end of their get togethers they still walk out as friends. Each time I finish one of Elizabeth Berg's story set in Mason, I find I have a smile on my face and happiness in my heart. This one did not disappoint! My thanks to Random House Publishing and Netgalley for this ARC.
NovelKim 15 days ago
There is no big bang, just a few women who come together to shed their troubles and share their inner most thoughts. Missing ice cream, missing sex or not, missing companionship, trying to decide if they can unravel some of their screw-ups, being comfortable enough with each other to discuss things most of us keep tucked away. One of the characters makes the observation that she is surrounded by “broken people, doing the best they can.” And yet I had the feeling that these were every day, ordinary people dealing with the ups and downs and curve balls of life. No big deal, no big reveal. Admittedly they had pluck, humor, compassion and the desire to support a neighbor. So, maybe not such ordinary everyday folk, maybe a little bit brave and extraordinary. Maybe the whole point of this book centers around that quote by Elaine May; “The only safe thing is to take a chance.” Not my favorite book of the series but a pleasant read. Thank you NetGalley and Random House for a copy.
labmom55 16 days ago
As a member of two book clubs with only women, I see up close how we share and rely on each other. And we’re the same ages as the older members of The Confession Club. “Not young anymore, not old, but looking down at old like it’s a pool she’s going to have to dive into soon.” I’m not sure I would be as brave or foolhardy as Iris, befriending John. But I loved that storyline. The writing is gorgeous and there are some wonderful ideas, like a psychic divorce. The book reminds me in some ways of Olive Kitteridge. We get a variety of characters, each dealing with their own issues. They provide a support network for each other. They’re the kind of friends you want for yourself. This book makes you think. It’s the right mix of humor and pathos. There’s no heavy drama, no tearjerker scenes. It’s just quietly thoughtful. My thanks to netgalley and Random House for an advance copy of this book.
AE2 16 days ago
This was a heartwarming story with lots of endearing characters--both those who were prominent in the first two books and the series and new characters. I loved the bits of wisdom that were woven through the story as well as the way the women in the confession club support one another. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the previous two books in the series, but I still found it to be an enjoyable read. I read an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
SheTreadsSoftly 16 days ago
The Confession Club by Elizabeth Berg is a recommended heartwarming feel-good story and her third story set in Mason, Missouri. A group of women have a weekly supper club that turns into the Confession Club, a meeting where a different woman confesses some hidden secret, misdeed, or regret. Iris Winters and Maddy Harris are invited to join on a trial basis, but they easily fit in with the group of women spanning all ages. Iris is conflicted over a relationship with a homeless man, while Maddy is escaping from NYC - and maybe her husband. Hopefully, the club will provide the support they need right now. The Confession Club is the third novel set in the small town of Mason, Missouri, following Night of Miracles, 2018 and The Story of Arthur Truluv, 2017. It is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an easy to read novel that promotes friendship optimism, and kindness in a congenial small town community. While I really liked the first two books in the series, this one fell short for me. Iris has some further character development here, but most of the other characters are a continuation from the other books. Some of these women are good people who really care about others. You might wonder, as I did, why most of us don't meet women like this in everyday life. Life as described in Mason almost makes you want to move to a small town. Berg writes in a simple, easy to read style that fits in well with the heartwarming feel-good stories she excels at writing. While deeper problems are presented, they are not delved into much deeper than a surface presentation of facts and other's reactions are equally shallow. But problems and societal issues aren't the focus here and not what most fans want from Berg. She presents the problems, questions, and issues, but her characters are quick to understand others, offer support, comfort, and forgive misdeeds. This is the series to read when you just need familiar characters who support others - and enjoy cooking classes. Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Random House
jdowell 16 days ago
Such a warm and inviting atmosphere Elizabeth Berg has created in this book! I loved the time I spent with the ladies of The Confession Club. A group of friends started out having a monthly supper club, but later it became a weekly meeting where they shared their most embarrassing secrets. The ladies are great friends and don't have to fear anyone in the group will tell their secrets outside of the group. The story is set in the small community of Mason, Missouri and is filled with that small-town sense of friendliness and charm. A very heartwarming and enjoyable read. Thanks to Elizabeth Berg and Random House Publishing Group through Netgalley for an advance copy.