At the beginning of Gossip, author Beth Gutcheon tells us that the word gossip comes from god-sibling:
It’s the talk between people who are godparents to the same child, people who have a legitimate loving interest in the person they talk about. It’s talk that weaves a net of support and connection beneath the people you want to protect.
Lovie French attends boarding school as a young girl, and there she meets two women who will remain in her life for years to come. Dinah is wealthier and more popular, but takes Lovie under her wing. Avis is 2 years older than Lovie and Dinah, thrust together due to the school’s desire to teach “young ladies to converse graciously with companions they had no interest in.” A small slight gets under Dinah’s skin, with consequences that would be felt for years to come.
After graduation Lovie and Dinah remain close friends. Lovie works in the fashion industry, first as an apprentice and eventually going on to own her own high-end boutique, and becomes godmother to Dinah’s youngest son, Nick. Lovie and Avis meet again years after their school days and also become friends. While the story is told by Lovie, the focus of the novel is really Dinah and Avis’s antagonistic relationship and a tragedy that affects both of their families. As a writer, Dinah becomes famous for her column dishing on Manhattan’s upper class, while Avis is well-known and quietly respected in the art world. Their worlds are brought together when Nick becomes involved with Avis’s daughter Grace.
Lovie’s close working relationship with socialites and other prominent Manhattan women puts her in the position of knowing much of what goes on in people’s lives, and she often overhears gossip involving Dinah. While Lovie is part of Dinah’s inner circle while they are young, as they grow older and their lives diverge, Lovie finds herself more on the outside and growing closer to Avis.
On reflection, Gossip is a novel with multiple layers. Dinah dishes through her column but is also herself the subject of much scuttlebutt. Lovie’s own life isn’t free from scandal as she’s involved with a man she refers to has her friend, and her method of relaying the events of the book often feel like she’s dishing and enjoying it. Gutcheon’s writing pulls you in and drags you along for the ride, whether you like it or not.
We have a copy of Gossip for one winner, U.S. only. Leave a comment to be entered to win. The winner will be announced April 11. This giveaway is closed.