THE SINNER’S GUIDE TO CONFESSION by Phyllis Schieber

I've read a number of reviews among the book blogging community of a book called The Sinner's Guide to Confession, by Phyllis Schieber. I like that this book is about 50-somethings and women's friendships.  Here's what Amazon says:

Schieber Barbara, Kaye, and Ellen, longtime friends, are inseparable—but each nurtures her own secret. As a widowed mother, Barbara hides her persona as a writer of erotica. Kaye is having an extramarital affair that reawakens her passion but fills her with conflict. Ellen has lost her husband to a younger woman who is now pregnant—a painful blow, since Ellen and her husband were never able to conceive. But she is not childless…

Ellen is still haunted by the memory of the baby girl she had at sixteen and was forced to relinquish at birth. Estranged from her family, Ellen realizes that if she is ever to find her lost daughter—now a grown woman herself—she will have to confront her shame and rely on her dearest friends.

Here's what some of the bloggers have had to say:

Diary of an Eccentric says: "Schieber does a great job moving between the characters and their points of view, and I loved the bantering between them. I didn't always agree with their decisions, but they seemed real. Schieber doesn't shy away from presenting their weaknesses; after all, the title implies that we're all sinners…. Schieber's writing flows with such truths, and I was surprised the book covered so many heavy themes while remaining hopeful. By the time I finished reading, Barbara, Ellen, and Kaye felt like old friends. I definitely recommend The Sinner's Guide to Confession if you read a lot of women's fiction and even if you don't."

Savvy Verse and Wit says: "Of the three women, Ellen's story was the most heart-wrenching and deeply moving. Readers learn early on about Ellen's secret, but as her chapters unfold, the devastation of one decision she makes early on in her life has significant impact on how her life unfolds. Ellen's decision establishes her reactions and interactions with others, her husband, and her friends. It's amazing how a decision not completely in her control molded her into the woman readers see in the beginning pages of this novel. Ellen is afraid of making decisions, hides behind the confidence brought by her false eyelashes, and holds deep grudges against her parents…. The intricate relationships between these characters are intense, and the relationships with each family member provides a realistic glimpse into the dynamics of family. Each member plays a specific role in how the family operates, and these women are central to those families.

Booking Mama says: "Ms. Schieber did a wonderful job of developing these characters — they were all extremely complex (and even rather sexual.) They weren't afraid to think about, dream about and talk about sex. At first I was a little put off by all this frank talk (I mean who wants to think of their mothers and grandmothers like this) but eventually I learned to appreciate that women are still women no matter how old they are. Another part of this novel that I found to be interesting was that all three of these characters were living with major secrets. While most of us aren't keeping this level of secrets from our family and friends, I do think the author makes an important point that we are all hiding things from those we love. This novel points out very clearly how secrets can affect not only your life, but also the lives of your family and friends."

Many of these blogs also featured interviews with Phyllis Schieber, so if you're interested in learning more, click through to these sites and check them out. And please weigh in if you've read The Sinner's Guide to Confession.

2 Comments

  • March 9, 2009 - 10:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link. Did you like the book?

  • March 9, 2009 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for linking to my review. If you haven’t read the book yet, I hope you get a chance to soon.

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