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Circle of Three: A Novel
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Circle of Three: A Novel

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,130 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Few authors can capture with such grace and power the spirit and strength of women and the complexities of their relationships as Patricia Gaffney. Her sensational national bestseller, The Saving Graces, won the hearts of readers everywhere and propelled her into the first ranks of contemporary women writers with its vivid characterizations and brilliant depiction of the d ...more
Paperback, Large Print, 608 pages
Published July 3rd 2000 by Harper (first published 2000)
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Mary
May 22, 2014 Mary rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes contemporary fiction
Recommended to Mary by: Library Book Sale
After the sudden death of her husband, Carrie struggles with feelings of immense grief and guilt. She silently wonders: "Can grief last for a person's whole life?" For her, these feelings are twofold: Although she mourns the loss of her husband, she also mourns the death of their love - an emotional erosion that occurred long before her husband's heart gave out. Struggling to go on, to support her vivacious, loving fifteen-year-old daughter, Ruth, Carrie must shake off the sorrow and depression ...more
Kitty Tomlinson
Family of women deal with relationships and each other. Dana is the matriarch, unhappily married to silent, George. Carrie, Dana's daughter is dealing with the recent death of her husband, while trying to help her daughte, Ruth deal with the loss of her father. Then Carrie's old flame returns to town.
Sheila
“I loved this book. It brought a family together and explored the lives of 3 women. 3 totally different people but the same as they found out that they were alike as mother, mother, and daughter. It resembled so much like my family that I am keeping Circle of Three in my permanent collection.”
Cristel
This story reminded me of Hope Floats. The movie is actually even mentioned in the book. Still, I enjoyed it, and thought the characters' personalities and thoughts were explained very completely. I liked The Saving Graces a little better than Circle of Three, but both were a good way to spend a day on a lounge chair.
Wendy
The Circle of Three was a grandmother, mother and daughter. The story is of the angst between the mothers and daughters. Interestingly, the grandmother was turning 70 and wasn't happy about it at all. As I turn 70 in a few months, I must say I disagree with her. If you could see my stash of wool and fabrics, you would know that I have enough to keep me knitting and quilting for many more years to come. I enjoyed the book.
Judith
I loved the interaction between the three women - gradmother, mother and daughter. Each chapter is written from the perspective of one of the three and as the story unfolds one can understand each woman, and how she sees, and deals with problems.
Auriette
A bittersweet year in the lives of three women dealing with death, love, and each other.

Best-selling author Patricia Gaffney weaves a story of three generations coming to terms with each other in 'Circle of Three'. Newly widowed Carrie is coming to terms with her grief ? or lack thereof ? and trying to find the next phase of her life. 15-year-old daughter Ruth finds fault with almost everything her mother does, as she deals with her father's death, her first job, and her budding sexuality. Carri
...more
Anna
Written in 2000 this book has stood the test of time better than Ruby Tuesday Moon. It explores the relationship between Carrie, her mother and her daughter, alternating between the different viewpoints. Carrie had felt controlled by her mother and instead of marrying her childhood sweetheart, Jess, she goes to University, travels, marries Stephen and has a daughter Ruth. They eventually move back to her hometown as Stephen gets a job at the same University Carrie’s father works at, but three ye ...more
Erin
I tend to enjoy stories told from the first person point of view, but this is the first time I've read a story that was told from the first person POV through three different characters.

Gaffney did a good job of keeping the characters' voices different -- Ruth, the youngest, expressed the typical teenage thoughts, doubts, and sensitivities; and Carrie (the mother) and Dana (the grandmother) share the same motherly concerns for their respective daughters, but express them in completely different
...more
Mary
I struggled between 3 and 4 stars, ultimately settling on 3 stars. I liked the characters and their relationship with each other - primarily mother, daughter and grandmother. I enjoyed the style of writing -- the alternating viewpoints of each of the three primary characters. When it was the grandmother's chapter, for instance, you felt like you were inside her head. The one thing that I didn't like was the length of the chapters -- I thought many of them were too long, which made reading someti ...more
Mady
This is a typical book on the (American) mother-daughter relationship theme, with the added extra complexity of another generation.

Dana is the mother who wants her daughter to make better choices than her. Carrie is the daughter who tried to avoid all her life becoming like her bossy mother, and is also the mother who easily gives up to her daughter. Ruth is the daughter who's trying to understand who she is and what she wants.

Oh, and there are men playing around, but they are either absent or p
...more
Victoria
In this case, the third time is the charm! This is the third book of Gaffney’s that I have read, and definitely the strongest of the three! Gaffney presents three generations of a family and each woman relays a portion of the story through their own point of view. The teenage daughter, in particular, has a strong perspective (particularly since there is not much language to differentiate between the mother and grandmother - without the chapter headings, their sections would definitely blur into ...more
Barbara
The main story was fine. There was just too much time spent on blah blah blah that didn't move the story along. The women characters didn't grab me especially Dana. It seemed like all their stories could have been filled out more. I listened to the audio book. That might have been part of the problem. The voices and accents of the women didn't thrill me. Dana was crotchety. Carrie was soft and southern. Ruth was more like New York and seemed to begin every sentence with "God". Really tiresome. I ...more
Jennifer White
Story about mother daughter relationships and husband and wife dynamics interlaced with a backstory regarding Noah's arc.
Claudia Irene
This book is AMAZING!
This was my favorite book of 2013.
This book tell a story about how you coping with the lost of your love one in a beautiful realistic manner. And how you will need each other to get through it!
Highly recommended!
Barbara Kinnecom
Easy read, enjoyed it. Not thought provoking but still couldn't put it down. Like a good butter pecan ice cream cone
Judie Parks
This was a hard read. Not the topic, just the manner in which it was written.
Joan Horkey
Not very exciting. Nothing really happens until about page 320.
Hilary
A 'three generations of women' book, just barely � Granny barely gets a look-in. The mother is an interesting and pleasant enough character to spend time with; the daughter is, well, a teenager, and rather tedious. This book threw up a query, too. At one point the teenager gets a tattoo and, meaning to get an ankh, manages to get the Venus symbol instead, and is then horrified because everyone thinks she's a lesbian. Now, the Venus symbol on its own doesn't say 'lesbian' to me, it says 'female' ...more
Sheila Guevin
Like many female writers, it is a romance novel but with more depth of character. There is a dead husband, a teenage daughter, an emotionally absent older father, and a dominating mother. Middle age woman comes of age and gets a second chance with the boy she loved in high school. Despite its predictable plot lines, the characters are colorful and the story a pleasant read. The concept of the "Arkists" a church group built on the principles of Noah and his Ark is the one truly original plot line ...more
Sue Kundrath
Very good book. My mom recommended that I read this, and reluctantly, I agreed. Coming up on the 1-year anniversary of my father's passing, I felt a lot of the emotions that the characters in the book felt. The book was written in such a fashion that each chapter was narrated by either the mother, the daughter, or the granddaughter. I saw a lot of myself in the granddaughter and in the daughter(at times). I definitely saw a lot of my mom in the mother and the daughter. All in all, I enjoyed the ...more
Ida
Basically, a story about 3 generations of mothers and daughters dealing with the loss of a husband, father, and son-in-law, their struggles with the pain of that loss and the complexities of relationships. Funnily enough it made me question some of my parenting, wishing I had handled a few things differently; wishing I could have some do-overs. Patricia Gaffney writes, "And mothering never got less complicated. All you could do was hope...to do no harm."
Donna
story about a grandmother, mother and daughter.
father of the mother dies of a heart attach while driving. leaves mother and daughter. grandmother tries to get daughter a job to help her move on. she reunites with an old boyfriend that the grandmother never liked. the young daughter finds out and runs away. the three women must learn from each other how to go on and respect each others feelings and wishes.
Jeri
I've enjoyed some of Gaffney's other titles (FLIGHT LESSONS & THE SAVING GRACES, for example) but this one, while interesting enough that I kept reading, was somewhat annoying. A 40ish woman who is constantly pushed around by a demanding mother and a willful teenage daughter comes off as spineless and not particularly admirable or sympathetic. So this ended up being kind of so-so for me.
Deb
Hmmm, just okay. Had troubles relating with the characters.
Julie
The story of three generations of women, all of who have regrets and all who are learning to accept one another. Sort of an over-used topic. However, the characters were likeable enough and sympathetic enough that it made for a good read. I especially enjoyed the building of the ark, showing how we need to do certain things in our lives, even if they aren't socially acceptable.
Joanie
After really liking The Saving Graces this book was sort of a disappointment. The concept is good, the story is told from the points of view of three generations of women after the husband/father/son-in-law dies. Okay story, not great.
Teena
I gave up on this one for two reasons--I found it boring and depressing. I was a little surprised because I read another book from Patricia Gaffney a couple of years ago and I loved it. Her book "Saving Graces" was a wonderful read. Not sure what went wrong with this one. Fortunately, it was a library e-book loan and I didn't have to pay for it.
Sharon
I recently rediscovered Patricia Gaffney, and I enjoyed this portrayal of three generations of women in the aftermath of the sudden death of the daughter's husband. The many ways that acts of love can be misinterpreted among women are the focus of the book. Really esonated with me, now that I am a mother.
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Patricia Gaffney was born in Tampa, Florida, and grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, and also studied literature at Royal Holloway College of the University of London, at George Washington University, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After college, G
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