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Family Acts

3.49  ·  Rating Details ·  207 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
Louise Shaffer follows her beloved novels The Three Miss Margarets and The Ladies of Garrison Gardens with an unforgettable tale of poignancy, wit, and high drama.

Katie Harder and Randa Jennings live on opposite coasts, have never met, and have almost nothing in common–except that they’re both named after Shakespearean characters. Everything Katie has ever done or possess
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Ballantine Books
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Dec 14, 2011 Ashley rated it liked it
At times all the different characters were a bit much to try and keep up with. I think the way generations of characters related to one another took away from the story. In fact, it was difficult to the really get to know the "current" day characters because you were so focused on tracing back where in time the book was at that particular moment. At least there weren't lose ends left hanging- the author did a nice job of tying things together at the end. She even managed to weave the characters ...more
Jun 30, 2008 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Recommended to Suzanne by: Cincinnati Public Library
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 10, 2009 Emily rated it really liked it
I really like Louise Shaffer and I enjoyed this book as well. The ony reason that I did not give this 5 stars is that it felt a little predictable in places. That being said there were also surprising stories in it and I love how the past was used to explain the present. I felt that some of the names were too similar and since the author jumped from past to present, at times I had to really think about which character I was reading about. If you liked Louise Shaffer;s other books, then you will ...more
Mar 30, 2010 Jan rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. The same author with two good books!
I wasn't sure that I would like the premise (theater life) but it was engaging. Her character development is wonderful and I'm cheap with my
compliments when it comes to character development. And, because I'm
cheap I only gave it four stars. Reason being? I could barely tolerate
the 'present' time characters. This was the problem with "The Three
Miss Margarets". Her narrarators are so unlikeable! It so contradictory when compared with th
Mar 27, 2012 Meredith rated it liked it
"Sprawling page-turner" is on the fly and that's accurate. She packs a whole bunch of disparate family secrets into several generations...totally unbelievable yet I was compelled to find out how things would work out. Apparently this ties into her other books with some characters at the end, but it's not necessary to have read them. I would recommend to anyone who is looking for a southern setting and loads of family intrigue throughout history. Lorna Landvik, Joshilyn Jackson, Fannie Flagg, ...more
Julie McElhaney
May 28, 2008 Julie McElhaney rated it really liked it
Shelves: people-stories
This is a really fun book to read because it moves from the present to different times in the past to tell the story of the Venable opera house in a small Georgia town. Katie and Randa don't know each other and have inherited the property together. As the story unfolds, all the pieces start to fit and we get to meet a lot of interesting characters along the way.

I picked up this book because I had really enjoyed one of the author's earlier stories, The Three Miss Margarets. Family Acts did not di
Michele Minor
Jul 04, 2009 Michele Minor rated it really liked it
This is a good book where two very different women from two different sides of the country inherit an old theater in a small Georgia town. Throughout the story we hear about the family that had operated the small theater for over one hundred years and about how the two women are connected to each other. A family secret is revealed to the readers about the Venable family that had operated the theater for over one hundred years.
Oct 13, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it

I'm all for family secret novels, & novels set in the south, so this one was a win-win for me. I had no trouble with the shifts in time, but would have liked to see the contemporary characters more fleshed out. The scene with Randa & Katie meeting their philanthropist supporters near the end was just odd. No clue why the 3 gals from the foundation were staring pointedly at an empty chair.
Apr 03, 2013 Heather rated it really liked it
What a great book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's another branch of the Garrison Gardens and I love the little clues that you think are leading to answers, but instead, it opens up even more mystery. I love the intrigue and the strength of these characters. I could see every minute of this story in my mind's eye. Wow! So good!
May 19, 2008 Catherine rated it liked it
Bit of a potboiler, but I did want to keep reading so it says something. Liked the theme which was the entertainment world but mostly the older style, as in live theater. A bit tangled family that got separated and then a few members are brought together by a strange inheritance (an old opera house).
Sep 01, 2008 Kelly rated it liked it
Two women who didn't know they were related meet and uncover their secret family history. This is a long family saga (over 100 years of living), but it's fun to read. I like strong female characters and the Venable women were certainly that. Their love of their theater forced them to even kill to keep it in the family.l
Jun 11, 2014 Tracey rated it it was ok
Loved Three Miss Margarets and Ladies of Garrison Gardens but did not like this one at all. Love interests developed predictably but way to quickly. The younger daughter was not believable. No characters that I connected to. This author is normally a stand- out for me but not this time.
Pangaea Pangaea
Feb 13, 2014 Pangaea Pangaea rated it really liked it
The novel has a great flow with a well developed plot. I didn't see it coming until the end. Pick up the book if you like Shakespeare and the theatre world. The characters are loveable and identifiable. For myself this is a great travel or "read on the beach" book.

Aug 30, 2012 Tracy rated it liked it
This book should have been great. The characters needed more stage time. I wanted to live each story but kept getting cut off too soon. The whole experience was frustrating, it was like reading "Cliff Notes".
Cindy S
Oct 08, 2010 Cindy S rated it it was ok
The book alternated between present and past. Two women, on opposite sides of the country, inherited an old opera house. The past tells the story of the house and the owners and how these two women came to inherit it. Interesting story but alittle choppy.
Jul 17, 2016 Karen rated it it was ok
2.5 rating again...I enjoyed the other two books by this author but did not like this on nearly as much. It dragged as it bounced between time period in an attempt to resolve the key questions. Kind of dull.
Christina Delaney
May 10, 2013 Christina Delaney rated it it was amazing
Loved, loved, loved this book and this book series. Nothing too deep but stories that contained a little bit of everything from very special friendships, life's triumphs and disappointments, bravery, sadness, just a good look at surviving life's struggles. I highly recommend!
Oct 28, 2011 Julie rated it did not like it
I had to make myself finish it, I don't why I even bothered. The book goes back and forth in time and I really didn't like the history part, and the current part was pretty thin on characterization.
Feb 19, 2015 RumBelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Her novels about the theater are so entertaining. They have layers of mystery, romance, family and so much more. This one, about a southern opera house, and the two families connected to it was wonderful. I could not put it down
Chris Jucius
Mar 08, 2008 Chris Jucius rated it liked it
Thought it was good, but I think the author tried to tell too many stories in one book. Instead of giving a quick hit on the past and focusing on the present, she gave equal treatment to all. Not sure that it worked well, at least for me. I was left wanting more about the present charachters.
Sep 18, 2009 Peggy rated it liked it
Two women living on opposite sides of the country inherit an old opera house in Georgia. They research the history of the house and while doing so, learn about their own family histories, family ties and develop a friendship.
Sep 25, 2011 Sara rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
This is about 2 women from opposite sides of the country that inherit an opera house in Georgia. There are stories told in past and present and I enjoyed reading about the family history of the opera house. Cute story with no bad language or inappropriate scenes.
Jun 04, 2008 Xhammond rated it liked it
A light easy read. A little choppy. Too many sub-stories, lost the feeling for the main characters.
Jun 19, 2008 Kim rated it really liked it
Again, another great book! This might be my favorite one, yet. I love how her characters reapper in the novels.
Jun 19, 2009 Jean rated it really liked it
About two women who learn they have inheirited an old opera house. Its about the history of the opera house and how these two women are related to it. Very good.
Clair Zarges
Mar 17, 2013 Clair Zarges rated it really liked it
Please read Louise Shaffer's books in order: The Three Miss Margarets, The Ladies of Garrison Gardens, and Family Acts. You'll be glad you did.
Feb 05, 2015 Kelly rated it it was ok
This was OK. I liked how it went from historical to current - but it was so long that some of the characters started to mix in my head. An interesting read, but didn't love it.
Apr 14, 2008 Kimberlie rated it it was ok
I really liked the idea of this book, but felt the writing was a little choppy and could have been better.
Nov 12, 2012 Monica rated it liked it
It was a cute book but too much bouncing around in time. I didn't think it had a natural flow. But I did like the idea for the story...
Nov 19, 2007 Nancy rated it it was ok
This was light reading. The characters were fine, but the book was predictable overall and slow in the middle.
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Louise is a believer in there’s always a second chance. An actress since she was fifteen, she found herself unemployed when she was in her mid-forties. The reason was…well, she was in her mid-forties. Not a good thing if you’re an actress – aging and eating are taboo. Louise has done both. Also, she was pretty clear about the fact that she was never going to have “knee surgery.” That’s what ...more
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