Friday, August 4, 2017

Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate by Ann Ostby

Pieces of Happiness: A Novel of Friendship, Hope and Chocolate. Ann Ostby. Carole Baron - editor. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. August 2017. 320 pp. ISBN #: 9780385542807.  

After Kat spent years traveling around the world with her husband Niklas on humanitarian missions, he dies and Kat is a bit lost.  So she invites her Norwegian high school best friends to live with her on the island of Fiji.  Ingrid, Maya, Sina, and Lysbeth agree and the reunion and aftermath is wonderful and stunning!

Age shapes all of us but sometimes a different circumstance propels a person into change. Each chapter is narrated by one of the five friends. Deciding to abandon one’s staid images, jettison a leech of a son, permit one’s sensual side to emerge, engage in leading the initiation of a “chocolate” enterprise, becoming a trusting child, abandoning one’s judgmental standards and so much more fill these pages.  These women cooperate with, challenge, and learn from each other. 

Atetha is a native Fijian who teaches them all about the rich culture of this land where people learn to find joy in life, no matter what problems exist, and share that richness with each other in dance, food, art, language and more.  A friend helps the women when they decide to produce a chocolate business from the cocoa trees on Kat’s property.  Many latent gifts begin to grow in each character during this time.

Secrets are a surprise that initially shock the reader but how these characters interact about these secrets is phenomenal, almost unreal but delightful!

When people think of the tropical islands, the relaxed, lush background induces one to relax and live a “vacation” style.  This is true but there is so much more that the islands have to teach these women and Anne Otsby has captured it all in a highly recommended, delightful read!!!!!

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