March 19, 2007

Table For Five

Note: A similar review appeared in my monthly newsletter (Oct. 2005). Apologies to those who have previously read it.

Table For Five by Susan Wiggs
Contemporary Fiction
Finished 10/7/05
Rating: A (5/5 Excellent for its genre)
Top Ten 2005

From Booklist:

Lily Robinson is not only the godmother of the Hollway children; she's also their teacher. So when Lily calls in the divorced parents, Crystal (her best friend) and Derek, for a conference, and the two of them are killed on the way home, Lily's grief is exponentially worse because of her guilt. Sean Maguire, Derek's half-brother, is an ex-pro golfer ready for a comeback. Crystal never got around to formalizing her request that Lily take the children in case anything happened to her, and Sean is named as their guardian in the will. But Lily refuses to walk away from her godchildren, so Lily and Sean force themselves to cooperate with each other, an exercise that begins to lead to a grudging respect. Wiggs explores many aspects of grief, from guilt to anger to regret, imbuing her book with the classic would've/could've/should've emotions, and presenting realistic and sympathetic characters. Never maudlin, Wiggs writes with an even hand, thus adding another excellent title to her already-outstanding body of work.

Not great literature, but definitely entertaining fluff. Poignant fluff, at that. Table For Five grabbed my attention right away and kept calling to me when I was busy with other things. As is the case with most "beach reads," the story is unavoidably predictable, yet comforting with a satisfying ending. The first third was very difficult to read, bringing my grief for Rachel right back to the surface (where apparently it lurks every day). Many key phrases reflected my own thoughts, but I kept reading, ignoring the lump in my throat. The book read a bit like a made-for-tv movie and I found myself picturing Matthew McConaughey Viggo Mortensen as Sean.


  1. Oh, goody! I have this one on the toppling TBRs. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. It's really quite good! I can't decide whether to label it a romance, though. What do you think? I like this author and have read a couple of others by her.

  3. If I am not mistaken, and I don't have the book right at hand just now so this is from memory, in this book Susan Wiggs acknowledges Mike and Jerri from the Four Swallows restaurant on Bainbridge Island --- the owners of the restaurant where my son works as sous chef! Another place we MUST visit when you come to Seattle -- perhaps I can even get Susan to meet us there :-)

  4. Maudeen - Wouldn't that be fun. I'll write to you off-list later this week. I've been swamped with spring cleaning in the yard!

  5. LOVED your thoughts on this one! Will certainly want to read this one!!! Vigo or Matthew, I wouldn't say no to either one!

    1. I want to try more of her books. The new one sounds good!


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