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The Year of Pleasures
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The Year of Pleasures

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  7,878 ratings  ·  966 reviews
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from Elizabeth Berg's Once Upon a Time, There Was You.

In this rich and deeply satisfying novel by the beloved author of The Art of Mending, and Open House, a resilient woman embarks upon an unforgettable journey of adventure, self-discovery, and renewal.

Betta Nolan moves to a small town after the death of her husband to try to begi...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published April 5th 2005 by Random House (first published 2005)
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Community Reviews

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Over the past few years, there have been some standouts dealing with women rediscovering themselves. Lolly Winston's "Good Grief" comes immediately to mind, as does Sue Monk Kidd's "The Mermaid Chair." Going back a bit further, Berg's own "Pull of the Moon" is a classic in its descriptive realism -- one of the author's many strengths.

Unfortunately, "Year of Pleasures" comes nowhere close to Berg's best. It is shallow, even with its topic -- the death of a spouse. It is unbelievable, even with i...more
This was sort of a wimpy novel. Not bad. Not that good. I didn't hate it. It's a hallmark card of a book. Newly single woman makes a life for herself kind of a book. Not much tension. Not much deep insight. Just sort of blah, but a sweet blah. Twinkies are a sweet blah. So is "The Year of Pleasures."
Beth F.
Elizabeth Berg has a way with words, that’s for sure. Although I’m not entirely convinced that the appeal of her stories have universal draw for all women. I was 22 or 23 when I read Open House by Elizabeth Berg and I didn’t particularly care for it. I couldn’t identify with the main character and so the emotional aspect of the book fell flat for me.

After the passage of several years, my life at the time of reading my second Elizabeth Berg novel is dramatically different and I suspect that was...more
For unknown reasons, probably just coincidence of book pile-up, I seem to have read several books about grief in the last few months. While this one is not characterized by any particular depth of insight or profundities, I found tears running down my face several times as the middle-aged protagonist learns to cope with the early days and months after her husband's death from cancer. The focus is on her decision to move to a new town and begin a new life, which she does very quickly after his de...more
Cheryl in CC NV
Ok, so, my husband should die so I can have a new indulgent life. Oh, but wait - he'd have to leave me almost $2 million. And I'd have to have a grand life with him for several decades so I'd have lots of memories of Europe etc. And I'd have to make the kids disappear. And I'd have to be able to find college friends who are more available than ever to ditch their own responsibilites to fly out to see me. And I'd have to meet a neighbor boy who knows exactly what to say and how to behave (except...more
There is something really comforting about this book and in they way that the author has written this. I know its about death and new beginnings which is emotional, but its also like putting on your favourite snuggly clothes. I really like the way Elizabeth Berg describes the ordinariness of life in such a sumptuous way. I think I could read this book more than once and that I'd feel satisfied every time I read it. The characters and situations are so real and easy to like and get involved with....more
From my blog:
I couldn't quite get into The Year of Pleasures, written by Elizabeth Berg, although the subject matter was important - how a woman begins life again after her husband unexpectedly dies.

This story was just too neat, and Bette Nolan's life during the year after her husband died just doesn't ring true to me. Nothing is so easy.

The book might be a good summer read, when one doesn't want to concentrate too much on anything. I would say it ranks very high under a list I would call roman...more
This book by Elizabeth Berg was lovely. It follows Betta, a 50-something widow, along her path of grief following the death of her beloved husband. The book, however, was a bit too "enchanted" for me....even though Betta was suffering from the loss of her husband, somehow things just fell into place too easily for her. Finding the perfect house the first day in a new town, and having friends rush to her aid after not corresponding with them for 30 years --these were things that were just too goo...more
just an absolutely phenomenal book. if you are female, you should read this book. if you've ever been in love, you should read this book. if you've ever THOUGHT about being in love, you should read this book. I laughed and cried in the same paragraph, multiple times. please read this book, then come have a glass of wine and finish your cry with me.
Elizabeth Berg writes like she is your girlfriend and she is telling you the story about someone she knows and cares greatly about.

As with all of her books, they touch upon the real human side of life. Betta Nolan's husband dies and she is faced with the propect of living alone. She decides to drive until she finds a place where she would like to live and sell her house in Boston and move to the new property.

She does find this little town and decides to look for a place to stay. As she is look...more
Elizabeth Berg’s newest novel, The Year of Pleasures, finds its central character, Etta Nolan, devastated by the death of her husband. The two of them had been so devoted to each other, so compatible and so self-contained. “Complete unto yourselves,” in the words of Sheila, her neighbor, who found this off-putting. Unable to have children, Etta and John decided not to adopt, although they both loved children. She lost touch with her college roommates, from whom she had been inseparable, and had...more
Very disappointing -not the usual realistic, authentic writing that one normally enjoys from Elizabeth Berg. Betta Nolan is a grieving widow who moves to a small town because she promised her dying husband - who by all accounts seems to have been a saint from her description of him. She struggles to come to terms with his death as they were insanely in love (bearing in mind they are both middle-aged). Conveniently, a number of characters enter her life - a perfectly well behaved 10 year old boy...more
Oct 29, 2010 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susan by: WP Book Club
Shelves: group-reads
As a disclaimer, I read this book because it is a selection for my F2F book club, and probably is not a book that would have chosen to read otherwise. When I was first told about this selection, I thought it was going to be nonfiction, but no, it is a relatively short novel.

Betta Nolan loses her much beloved husband to cancer when she is too old to be a young woman and too young to be an old woman, when she doesn't know quite who she is. She has isolated herself and had no real friends except fo...more
Janice Smith
I loved this book! It's about resilience, forgiveness and getting a second chance at happiness. It's about a woman in her 50's who looses her husband and best friend. Although I am lucky enough to still have my husband with me, I do know what it's like to have your world turned upside down and go from being a married couple to being alone. I could also relate to Betta's reluctance to accept help and support from family and friends at first, but then she begins to recognize God's hand in their co...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from It also had a preview of her new book coming out next week.

I have never read a book about the grief of a widow on such a personal level. It was overall a good book - heartwrenching parts and other less believable parts. There were lines in the text that were worthy of writing down and refecting upon, especially for those of us who are not widows. Quotes about life, about living, about marriage; all well written and insigh...more
In spite of my wariness in the first few pages, this book captured me heart and soul. But before I continue, I need to add a note that I've been adding to my earlier 'first reads' reviews.

In reading other reviews AND going back over the directions, I see I'm supposed to state that this book was a gift from the author. I did place it on my 'first reads' shelf, but that probably isn't disclosure enough. I truly apologize and assure all that gift or not, it doesn't change my honest thoughts regardi...more
I really enjoyed reading this book, could hardly put it down, but after it was over I did feel a little dissatisfied. The review below has some good points, the plot does wander a bit, but the story kept me interested. I enjoyed reading about their marriage, a marriage that was happy and fulfilling (like mine) and I could easily put myself in Betta’s place and experience what it would be like to grieve the loss of a soul mate. I liked the fact that she had all the money she needed, at least tha...more
I think if I weren't dealing with the life issues that I'm facing right now, I wouldn't have appreciated this book nearly as much. While facing a very painful divorce, I found this book about a woman in her late 50s mourning the recent death of her husband rather cathartic, in allowing me to experience the grief of feeling and remembering the good things, without bringing up the anger and hurt of other areas. I can relate to so many of the things that she is missing; the closeness of friendship,...more
Jill Kalz
I'd wanted to like this -- I thought the book synopsis sounded interesting, I'd heard good things about the author -- but unfortunately, nothing rang true in this story for me, not the characters, their situations, the details, nor the dialogue. I felt as though I were reading a screenplay for a shallow, sanitized Lifetime made-for-TV-movie: instead of people, characters; instead of a community, a set; instead of conversations, lines of poorly scripted dialogue. Of course the small midwestern to...more
Berg's books are like potato chips (without the fat), they're so easy to read. I liked the premise of this book, about how a young widow (50s) makes her way the first months after her husband dies. (I don't really think the book covers a year, or it's such a quick read it didn't seem like it. The title refers to all the "rules" widows should abide, such as "don't make any changes for a year" or "don't date for a year.") I liked the descriptions of the food and house Betta buys.

What I don't like...more
While I always enjoy Berg's writing style, this story just wasn't her best. A woman in her 50's finds herself widowed and suddenly completely alone because she hasn't made the time or effort in her perfect marriage to make new friends or keep up with old. After she sells her house, she has all the money she needs to drive West and find the perfect home on her first try. Her college friends all forgive her for ignoring them for 20 some years. I think the main character, Betta, does learn some val...more
This novel was a quick read for me but I really enjoyed it. The premise is simple; a middle aged woman, in order to keep a promise to her recently deceased husband, sells their home and moves to a small town in the midwest. The book tells of her grieving process, new friends she makes, old friends she reconnects with, and the possibilty and pleasures of life. The funny thing about this novel was that nothing drastic happens in the story, but the author made the main character and people around h...more
Elizabeth Berg's The Year of Pleasures takes a contemplative look at the grieving process. This book struck a chord with me because being middle-aged I've already had friends dealing with the death of their spouse. I imagined the choices I'd have to make if I was in Betta's shoes. How do we go on after losing our partner and is there any right way or appropriate timing involved in our decisions to move forward? Berg reminds me that we should make the most of each day, since we don't know when th...more
Mar 11, 2011 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: Antof9
Shelves: a-gift
I can't decide how to categorize this book. I think I'd say it's chic lit-ish, but it's a bit different than your usual chic lit in that its pretty serious - the story of a woman who has lost her husband to cancer and is now trying to fulfill a promise to him in moving on with her life.

I appreciated the honest depiction of grief ... its complete irrationality and the way it can change from hour to hour. Elizabeth Berg chronicles all of it - the sadness and the despair, the happiness and the guil...more
I tried to like this book, I really did. But for me it was more like a year of torture to get through it. After you read the first page you already know how it will end. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. There must be some type of need for these books or they wouldn't keep showing up with different covers and different name, but same content. Besides I have little patients for selfishness, no matter how you try to pass it off. So, I guess I wouldn't suggest this book to anyone. . . with a brain. Ohhh, I'm so me...more
Read for an upcoming book club meeting.... didn't love it as much as I think the friend who suggested it for this purpose did. While the details of Berg's writing are appreciated, the life the heroine, Betta, leads was a little too "much" for me to handle--her beloved husband dies, but she has enough money to just "up and move" cross-country to buy a $300,000+ house in a little town she's never even heard of before.... and then enough money to just rent an apartment (with two young men??) becaus...more
I almost feel bad rating this book as though it were a "real" book. Clearly, it is not meant to be all that serious- it's for reading on the beach when you want a fluff piece to fly through without thinking too much. However! I've read so many good books lately, that I can't help but get annoyed at this one's flaws.

I felt that the author was trying much, much too hard. She was attempting to shove meaning into every sentence, imbue the whole book with inspirational quotes, meaningful insights, an...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Although this book was a little hard for me to get into at first, I did appreciate reading it because it shows a love for the simple, everyday things and the way grief is portrayed is just absolutely amazing. Elizabeth Berg has the power to make you feel what the character is going through and really understand the grief even if you've never been in the situation. Great read that'll give you hope and let you know that even in the worst of times, you'll get through it.
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Stillwater Free L...: The Year of Pleasures 4 8 Jan 22, 2014 12:27PM  
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Elizabeth Berg is the New York Times bestselling author of many novels, including We Are All Welcome Here, The Year of Pleasures, The Art of Mending, Say When, True to Form, Never Change, and Open House, which was an Oprah’s Book Club selection in 2000. Durable Goods and Joy School were selected as ALA Best Books of the Year, and Talk Before Sleep was short-listed for the ABBY Award in 1996. The w...more
More about Elizabeth Berg...
Open House What We Keep Talk Before Sleep Home Safe The Art of Mending

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“There is love in holding and there is love in letting go.” 273 likes
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