I have finished the 157th book for the book challenge. It was Goldberg Variations by Susan Isaacs.
Gloria Goldberg Garrison has called her three grandchildren to her Santa Fe, New Mexico home. She is offering to give the ownership and control of her beauty company Glory to one of them. She is estranged from all of them, not having seen them all for many years. Raquel’s father Travis was Gloria’s favorite son, but he dies tragically many years ago. Matt and Daisy’s father Bradley is not her favorite and she has not seen him for many years. But she is offering control of her company to one of the three and to the other two–nothing.
The three cousins arrive with misgivings but with open minds. The cousins and Gloria scope each other out and Gloria explains her motive in asking them to her home. The cousins take some time to think about Gloria’s offer. But each decides not to accept the offer and on Friday night, each cousin tells Gloria that they have decided not to accept her offer. Matt likes his job in PR at the New York Mets and is in love with his girlfriend Ashley who is studying to be a doctor in New York. He doesn’t want to leave New York and plans to start his own company. Daisy is a reader at a film company in New York and flies often to the West Coast. She likes her job and doesn’t want to leave it. Raquel is a lawyer at Legal Aid in New York and is living with Hayden who is at Goldman Sachs. She is close to her mother who is a social worker. She too doesn’t want to leave New York.
Gloria is shocked and at first wants to send the three back to New York right away. But she sort of likes them and decides to take them to dinner and them show them Glory and maybe they will change their minds. They have a good dinner and get to know each other a little better and actually like each other somewhat.
The next day the cousins and Gloria go to Glory and get a guided tour of the company. It is a company that is mobile and brings beauty to rural areas and small towns of America. It is a thriving company that Gloria built with two trucks that she took from her ex-husband Joe Goldberg when she divorced him. Raquel and Daisy get make-overs and Matt learns about the PR side of the business from Gloria’s PR people. The cousins are quite impressed with Gloria’s company. They all reconsider but eventually reach the same decision.
On Sunday morning, Daisy has a heart-to-heart talk with Gloria about reconciliation. She talks to Gloria about forgiveness. Gloria was going to give control of her company to her right-hand person Keith. But Keith rejected her when his partner Billy became ill with a stroke and Gloria refused to see him in the hospital. They have been on the outs ever since. Daisy explains the Jewish tradition of going to the person you have harmed three times to ask for forgiveness. Gloria is unsure about this. Raquel calls Hayden and breaks up with him over the phone from Santa Fe. She knows he has checked out of the relationship and it isn’t working. Matt decides to take the plunge and asks Ashley to marry him from Santa Fe.
When the cousins have gone back to New York, Gloria decides to work on reconciliation. She goes to Keith to ask forgiveness. He is very cold to her but she hopes in time he will forgive her. Then she goes to New York to ask forgiveness from Adrianna, Raquel’s mother. She breaks down in tears at her home and says she is so sorry for ignoring them after Travis’s death. She also goes to Bradley and asks his forgiveness. Then she meets with Raquel. She offers Raquel the company again. This time Raquel is willing to accept but she is worried about leaving her mother and cousins. But Gloria tells her she can come back to see them or her mother can come out to Santa Fe. Raquel decides to accept the offer. Gloria explains how she is working on Daisy’s method of reconciliation. She still has to go to Florida to ask Joe Goldberg’s forgiveness. Raquel and her grandmother are reconciled and will work together in the business.
This was a very interesting book. It is told from the perspective of each of the characters in turn. We hear first from Gloria, then from Matt, then Raquel, then Daisy, then Gloria again. It is interesting to see the change in attitudes of the various characters as they interact with each other and get to know each other better. They become more open to one another and more accepting of each other. All this happens over one weekend and the change is remarkable to see. I loved this book.