Lanie and Ellen are sisters who lost their mother at a young age, 6 and 16 respectively. While their father grieved, taking care of Lanie fell to Ellen, and now adults, they’re still close, and still remember the advice their mother gave them.
Ellen is the owner of a bakery that specializes in kringle, a Danish pastry popular in the mid-west, and a stickler for grammar. When she receives the anonymous gift of a book about grammar, she narrows down the suspects to Henry, one of her customers, who lost his wife in a car accident. But Ellen’s ex-husband, Max, shows up at her door, begging her to move to a Caribbean island with her, testing her burgeoning yet fragile relationship with Henry.
Lanie has a pretty good life of her own, married to a great guy, with an adorable baby boy to dote on. But Rob starts working on a big architecture job and Lanie sees less and less of him, so naturally her thoughts turn to Rob’s beautiful young coworker and what they might really be doing. Lanie’s exhausted from her own job as a lawyer and spending all of her spare time with her son, so naturally her marriage is suffering.
Lanie and Ellen turn to each other and their memories of their mother in their times of need, and try to keep up her tradition of naming three good things that happened to them during the day. While it’s unlikely Lanie remembers their mother’s advice, she has Ellen, plus letters that their mother wrote to her to be opened at certain points in her life. The sisters are easy to relate to as they struggle through motherhood, career and life in general.
Three Good Things is the sort of popular women’s fiction that you can settle in with a blanket and a cup of your favorite warm beverage on a cold day. Each chapter begins with either a quote about motherhood from a 1920’s-era guide to mothering, or a snippet from their mother’s kringle recipe book. And as a bonus, there’s a recipe for kringle included at the back of the novel.
Notes on the audiobook: At 8 hours, the audio version of Three Good Things is the perfect length. The narrator is enjoyable and easy to listen to.