Tapestry of Fortunes – Elizabeth Berg – Review
Random House/2013
By – Sheri de Grom

Tapestru of Fortunes book coverElizabeth Berg’s latest novel, Tapestry of Fortunes, invites the reader into the lives of four women.

Cecilia Ross, the main character, is looking for change in her life. It doesn’t matter that she’s a motivational speaker and the author of several books. She can tell everyone else how to change but can’t take her own advice.

Cecilia is reeling from the death of her best friend. But it’s her mother, now living in an assisted living environment and grabbing all that life has to offer each day, who pushes Cecilia into taking the steps that will change her life forever.

I was with Cecilia as she made the decision to sell her suburban Minnesota home along with all the furniture in it.

She moves into a gorgeous old house in Saint Paul. She knows all will be right with her world when she sees the garden in the back and has permission to do with it as she wants. Cecilia also has her own bedroom and private bath—and three diverse and fascinating housemates.

Lise: the home owner and a divorced mother at odds with her twenty-year-old daughter.

Joni: a superior sous chef who wants nothing more than to escape her jerk of a boss and set-up her own small restaurant.

Renie: the youngest roommate and perhaps the most unsettled. She has a secret and it’s eating away at her.

Elizabeth Berg develops these four characters and pours their relationships onto the pages in a way that shows life’s little details springing into action. Each woman becomes as important as the one presented before or after.

Tapestry of Fortunes is exquisitely written. The prose is often poetic. Elizabeth Berg sets four women on a mission and, in turn, the reader is shown the inner truths of women’s lives.

Tapestry of Fortunes is my twentieth Elizabeth Berg read. She never fails to entertain me with a relatable story that reaches deep into the soul. As the years have passed, her characters have become more mature, but I’ve aged as well and it’s reaffirming to read of older women making real-world choices.

About Sheri de Grom

Retired Fed/JAG, 5 yrs. on Capitol Hill. Former book buyer for B and N. Concerned citizen of military drawdown. Currently involved in mental healthcare reform, health care strategist and actively pursuing legislative change wherein dual retirees are exempt from enrolling in Medicare at their own discretion without losing tertiary healthcare benefits. Monitor and comment on Federal Register proposed legislation involving Mental Health, Veterans Affairs, Health and Human Services, Medicare and rural libraries. Licensed OSHA Inspector to include Super Fund sites. Full time caregive to Vietnam era veteran. Conceptualized, investigated possible alternatives, authored, lobbied for, and successfully implemented Title X, Section 1095 (known as the Third Party Collection Program of Federal Insurance).
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  1. Jane Sadek says:

    Sounds like a good read and for the audience I want to reach with my novel – if it ever gets published. I’ll have to add her to my list of authors.

    • Jane – I believe an author must read and read to discover how other authors are tapping into the audiences they also want to reach. Yes, Elizabeth Berg has a tremendous following because so many of us have been reading her work for years. But, with that being said, I’m a firm believer a successful writer must be an avid reader.

  2. Hi Marney – When I started social media a couple years ago I joined Goodreads. However, it soon required a greater dedication of my time than I was willing to commit and pulled out.

  3. Haven’t read any of her books, but might have to check her out. Thanks for the review.

    • Hi Marney – If you love women’s fiction, I believe you’ll appreciate Elizabeth Berg’s writing. I’ve read so many great works of hers within the 20 novels I’ve read over the years. I haven’t a clue as to which is my favorite. I did go to my book log of all books I’ve read since somewhere around the mid-90s and of the 20 novels I’ve read, I have a positive note and a ‘yes to recommend’ by every book I’ve read of Bergs. That rarely happens when I read so many of one authors books. Her novels are definitely ones I readily pick up without examiniation before purchase.

  4. Sheri, I’m like Patti — I had forgotten about Elizabeth Berg and used to love her. Although her last one struck me as slightly less fabulous, but this new one looks great. So I just ordered it; thanks!

    • Hi Laurie – Nice to see you. I try not to compare authors but I started reading Elizabeth Berg and Anita Shreve at the same time. I believe it’s impossible to want to push every novel to the top of ‘the most exciting read of a lifetime pile.’ Of the 15 Anita Shreve novels I’ve read, I have one I didn’t care for [and in my opinion she tried hard to move from women’s fiction to pure litarary]. I have an Elizabeth Berg novel loaded to my Kindle I didn’t finish, now I’ll have to find my Kindle and see which one it is. I thought it was perhaps because I don’t enjoy reading on the Kindle the way I do a good old fashioned page turner.

  5. Sheri, this book sounds like a perfect read … especially since it explores characters and weaves them into a “tapestry” of stories. I have a weak spot for character driven stories that do something more than go through the standard menu of got married, got divorced, get another man. Thanks … this is definietly on my TBR list … also … judging from what you and Patti said … Elizabeth Berge’s back list sounds like someone I’d love to catch up with 🙂

    • Florence – I never hesitate to purchase an Elizabeth Berg book. I know the plot will always be relevant to modern day events and the women involved will be age appropriate. Berg is one of the few women fiction writers I’m still following since I first discovered her in the 90s. She has the ability to keep all of her characters equally interesting until the last page. That’s an accomplishment not many women fiction writers have mastered as of today’s date.

  6. Hi Mary – It’s nice seeing you here my friend. I do hope you enjoy the read. I’ll be anxious to hear your thoughts. Have a wonderful vacation and here’s hopeing it will be everything you and Jacques want it to be.

  7. Pingback: TAPESTRY OF FORTUNES – ELIZABETH BERG – REVIEW | lakefrontmuse

  8. Just loading my Kindle with vacation reading. This is going on! Lovely review as always Sheri. Cheers! Mary

  9. jbw0123 says:

    Thank you for this. I loved Elizabeth Berg’s Talk Before Sleep. Now I have another Berg book to look forward to.

    • Hello Julia – Have you read, The Pull of The Moon and Ordinary Life? They are also two of my favorites along with Talk Before Sleep. Of course I love them all. It was in a tiny independent bookstore in Oregon that I first discovered Elizabeth Berg and have been reading her ever since. Never once has she slipped from my top list of 50 authors. The element I found so intriguing about Tapestry of Fortunes is that all the women are in mid-life with real world challenges and Berg allows them to make real world decisions. I haven’t seen much of this in women’s fiction yet.

  10. Mae Clair says:

    An intriguing cast of characters, each with their own hurdle to overcome. As always, a good review, Sheri. You’ve even got me wondering what Renie’s secret is!

  11. Deb says:

    It sounds like a great book. I may have to add her to my collection of books one day, but right now I must finishing reading the books I have.
    Thank you for sharing about the book, Sherri. 🙂

    • Deb – I’m so familiar with the ‘shelves and floor space runs over’ with books to read. Then, I would imagine your art work takes up a great deal of your creative space as well. I’ve set aside the books I want to read during the summer months and my husband laughs. He’s not up yet to discover I added two more books to the stack last night.

  12. Thanks for the introduction to Elizabeth Berg, Sheri! I am not familiar with her work but she sounds like my kind of writer. I will check out her work immediately. If you like her writing, I know I will!

    • Patricia – You have a wonderful way of bringing women together and we as readers are gifted the pleasure of watching their friendships unfold before our eyes. Elizabeth Berg is also a master with this style of storytelling. May I also recommend a couple of her earlier works since you haven’t read Berg before: Talk Before Sleep and What We Keep.

  13. Another great one, Sheri! I love this line, “Elizabeth Berg sets four women on a mission and, in turn, the reader is shown the inner truths of women’s lives.” That sold it for me.

  14. Robyn Lee says:

    Oh this sounds so excellent Sheri! I will soon be needing a new book to turn to for my summer reading, and this will be it. I love the idea of 4 diverse women brought together by destiny… and the relationship that evolves amongst them, as they navigate the complexities of their individual paths. Poetic prose, and ” the inner truths of women’s lives” ~ I am sold! Thank you so much Sheri!

    Much Love, Robyn

  15. OMG, I used to read Elizabeth Berg all the time and now I realize that it’s been WAY too long since I bought one of her novels. I loved her and I guess I just forgot about her since buying books these days is such a different experience for me now what with no more bookstores and such. Thanks SO much for this review Sheri.

    • Patti – Elizabeth Berg has remained on my top fifty list of authors to read since I first discovered her in the late ’90s. At that time I read her back-list and have never been dissapointed. I understand what you are saying about buying books being a different experience now. I still buy the book and not the e-book, but now it comes from Amazon. I miss those long, lazy trips to the bookstore but if they won’t stock what I want to read then Amazon it is for me. Once Amazon knows you read a particular author, they are quick to let you know when that author has a new book coming out.

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