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Three Good Things by Wendy FrancisReviewed by Kathie Smith

In Three Good Things by Wendy Francis, Ellen McClarety and her sister, Lanie, lean on each other for support, guidance and friendship. Their mother died while they were children and Ellen, who is ten years older, essentially raised her sister and they share a closer bond than most siblings.

When Ellen’s marriage ended, she did not lie down and crumble after being told she cannot fulfill her desire to have children, nor did she become defeated after her divorce. Instead, she has rebuilt her life after divorce by taking an enormous chance and opening her own kringle shop in town, the Singular Kringle.

The kringle café is a success and Ellen is satisfied with what she has created. She has put her stamp on it and knows her regular customers well. She patiently, almost reverently, make the kringles from scratch each day, thinking often about the process and comparing it to how the concepts can be transferred to life. Ellen’s quirk is her affinity for grammar. She puts a new grammatical rule, with an example, on a chalk board each day and welcomes customers to submit their own pet peeves in the suggestion box.

Just as Ellen is contemplating a return to the dating scene, her ex-husband decides to reenter her life. Though she has avoided his calls, she finds she cannot deny a lingering desire for him when he returns to town. Lanie’s worries that her husband, Rob, has found desire, and perhaps satisfaction, outside of their marriage as she struggles to balance a high-power legal career with the busy life of a mother.

Both Lanie and Rob begin to question their ability to hold it all together and must find a way to overcome what is hopefully just a rough patch while Ellen is suddenly faced with yet another surprising issue of her own. There are many difficult decisions in her future, as well as Lanie and Rob’s, and she must surround herself with those who will see her through them and beyond.

Ellen and Lanie never shirk from life or their responsibilities no matter how overwhelming it may be. They manage everything that comes their way by remembering the loving advice from their mother: At the end of every day, you can always think of three good things that happened.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Kathie is a writer, mother and volunteer living in the beautiful Appalachian mountains. Her passion for the written word is fulfilled by creating her own fictional work, freelancing, acting as an adviser to another author, and reading with her six year old daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.