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Three Good Things

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  787 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Sisterhood, motherhood, marriage, baking, and books—these are a few of the things that make this delightful novel a recipe for getting through the tough stuff of life.

ELLEN M c CLARETY, a recent divorcée, has opened a new bake shop in her small Midwestern town, hoping to turn her life around by dedicating herself to the traditional Danish pastry called kringle. She is
Hardcover, 407 pages
Published May 22nd 2013 by Thorndike Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  787 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Wendy Francis’ Three Good Things grabs its title from advice handed down to the women decades before: no matter what’s happened that day, be sure to identify three good things. Even in the darkest of moments, some joy can be found — and that’s Francis’ message to us, too. Though Ellen and Lanie wade through murky waters, the narrative’s sweetness blends perfectly with its occasional tartness . . . and ends up creating something special. Um, kind of like a kringle. Ooh, I dig a good metaphor.

Dec 01, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mina De Caro (Mina's Bookshelf)
As posted on Mina's Bookshelf

Middle aged and recent divorcee Ellen McClarety decides to open a kringle bakery in Amelia, small town Wisconsin: the rhythmic routine of running a shop and the heartwarming smell of handmade goodness help Ellen to ease her mind and her worries. The simple repetition of the rituals involved in the craft of the delicious Danish pastry becomes for the former university secretary a creative outlet and a healing mantra to escape t
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful and heartwarming read! The characters and storylines are well developed and there were some great and unexpected twists. I really enjoyed the relationship between the two sisters, Lanie & Ellen, and seeing how the two weathered the ups and downs of life together. I am going to recommend this book for my book club--it is a fun and quick read, yet very relatable. The characters' struggles with motherhood, work/life balance, and love will give us lots to chat about. One warning to r ...more
Jul 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite a few flaws, Three Good Things is an easy to read and heartwarming novel. There are some unexpected twists and turns that I did not see coming and Wendy Francis does an excellent job wrapping up all of the various story lines. To read my review in its entirety, please click HERE.
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I loved this book. It is a wonderful read and I plan to share it with my daughters. You really get to feel as if the characters are people you know and care about.

Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wish I hadn't waited so long to pick this one up! A nice cozy read, not too long (so would be good for book club since we don't do well with longer books!). I don't want to give anything away so I won't get into plot but will say it was not obvious to me how things were going to unfold, which was refreshing. Highly recommend!
Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 Stars
**Audiobook Review**

At its core, this book was about two sisters and the ups and downs they experience over the course of a year. As you get into the story, however, you realize that it is also the story of how both Ellen and Lanie relate to the people in their lives, each other, and how they navigate the changes that take place within their worlds. While I could really, really relate to some of Lanie's feelings about being a working mom (that part was very well done and accurate) I thi
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-read, fiction
I received this book as a Good Reads giveaway. It is set to be published early in 2013.

The plot revolves around two sisters, Ellen and Lanie. Ellen buys a bakery after her divorce in an attempt to recreate herself and her life. Lanie, Ellen's little sister, who lives in the same town is a lawyer struggling with the demands of job, marriage and motherhood. The sisters share a special bond because their mother died early in their lives and Ellen assisted her father in raising Lanie to adulthood fr
Sep 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two sisters, now in their 30's and 40's, share random days and events through the spring, summer, and fall of one year in their small hometown outside Madison, Wisconsin. Although they lost their mother when they were young,her presence and absence effects them in ways they do not always realize. Finding new love, keeping existing love, and the experience of 1st time parenthood do not always look like you'd expect.

Another quick read, 232 pages, pulled me in right from the start. I must admit I r
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ellen is recently divorced and proud owner of the Singular Kringle (kringle is a buttery pastry that contains fruit or nut filling). She has to decide if she should hold onto the past or take a chance on new opportunities. Lanie is an overachiever and she is trying to juggle work, marriage and motherhood. She’s finding it hard to strike a balance and is trying to find out what makes her happiest.

Their mother used to find three good things that happened very day. In honor of her memory, the siste
Sabrina Laitinen

This review is from: Three Good Things: A Novel (Paperback)
This is a fast read, nothing too exciting or extraordinary. It is centered around two sisters, one owning a bakery that specializes in making kringles, and the other sister an attorney with a husband and child, living a rather boring life. Although the characters were likeable, the story fell flat on many levels. The plot seemed scattered in many directions, instead of keeping focus on a couple of ideas. The outcome was chopped, and the
Mar 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“Think of 3 good things that happened today” is the life lesson passed on to Ellen and her sister Lanie by their mother. But it is hard, as Ellen is recently divorced and struggling to run a bakery featuring the Danish pastry known as kringle. Lanie is also struggling with the demands of her job as a divorce attorney and as a mother of a 10 month old as she tries to do it all. Like a good recipe, add in Henry, a bakery customer who falls in love with Ellen, her ex husband Max who never really le
Megan Fuller
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! I loved the characters and how they developed. Although the book wasn't a deep read, it was great for a relaxing winter weekend. I was always wondering what would happen next with Rob, Lanie, and Ellen, but I didn't feel turmoil over the characters and their growth/struggles. Samantha was a great addition, and I love that Lanie kept the necessary secrets to keep her family. Henry is a true hero. Never expected the excitement in Ellen's life at the end. I loved the sto ...more
Kristin (Kritters Ramblings)
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

Two sisters that are 10 years apart, but at a young age they endured a tragedy together when their mother passed away. From an early age, Ellen had to become a semi-parent to her younger sister Lainie because of this they have a unique and very close relationship. This book is a glimpse into their lives for a year. It is about them both equally, which I loved. I didn't feel like one sister was more or less the main character than the other.
Jane M
While there's nothing wrong with this book, I didn't find it particularly interesting either. I really enjoyed the characters, the conversational writing style, and the small-town Midwest vibe of the first half, but then the second half felt like a bit of a letdown when nothing actually happened. Not an unenjoyable read, but I also don't feel like I gained anything from it (except a craving for pastries).
Anita Brown
A worth-while quick read. Growing up in the midwest myself, I appreciated the the "beautiful" way the author portrayed how certain morals and values are taught at such an early age. Such a wonderful insight into how "parenting" should be an enjoyed journey. Thank you, Wendy Francis, for allowing me the pleasure of reading your book. I will look forward to reading more of your books in the future!
Linda Dickson
Feb 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received this book free from Goodreads First Reads. This is a touchingly rich tale of two sisters, a Kringle bakery owner and a lawyer, who support each other as they discover themselves through life....and life can be both perfect and imperfect. It can hold sorrow, secrets, surprises, joy and even a bonus Kringle recipe. I will read this one again.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Never read a book before where one of the main characters is a kringle baker - not even sure that I knew what a kringle was! Using an alternating 3 character POV, Francis follows their lives over a series of months. Really liked the quotes from "The Book of Kringle" that start off each chapter. The sister relationship was believable as was the husband/wife dynamic. Worth a read.
Jun 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a beautiful read. The story of two sisters,left motherless at an early age. I loved the baking of Kringle,the discussion of love and children,everything. 3.75-4 stars. A very upbeat read, makes me feel good.
Kerry Dingwall
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful story and very original. Immensly enjoyed this book. The reader is drawn to the characters from the beginning and this is a hard book to put down, not because of the excitement level but just because you feel you want to know more about the characters, Would highly recommend.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
I really enjoyed this giveaway. I have a sister I am close to & we lost our mother almost 15 years ago & I too long for her guidance and advice I have missed over the years. It really hit home, and I'm sure others will feel the same.
Nancy Reynolds
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
enjoyable read. well written - got emotionally connected to the characters -- even shed some tears when Ellen brings the mom's letter to her younger sister.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great, easy, relaxing read. And it's about a woman that owns a kringle how could it be bad!
Bonnie Eldridge-labaff
The book was okay.Slow going.
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book! Go check it out!
Apryl Rickert
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book really had a lot of heart. The characters were identifiable. Highly recommend!
Jan 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The sisters in this book really shine! A great tale of everyday life, love, and struggles set in a cozy Wisconsin community. Good twists. Makes me crave kringle!
Apr 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
By the time I finished reading the book, I wanted to eat the pastry mentioned in the book. According to the author, happiness can be found daily. Name three good things that have happened each day and if you can't, then think harder.
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No matter what has happened today be sure to identify three good things... a small piece of advice passed down from a mother to her daughter’s before she passed away, ended up being a strong message that helped guide these two adult women throughout their lives in different ways. An enjoyable read.
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Wendy Francis is a former book editor and the author of The Summer Sail, The Summer of Good Intentions, and Three Good Things. Her essays have appeared in Good Housekeeping, The Washington Post, YahooParenting, The Huffington Post, and WBUR's Cognoscenti. She lives outside of Boston with her husband and 9-year-old son. When she isn't ferrying her son to hockey games, she loves to run, spend time w ...more