The Goodbye Summer: A Novel (Gaffney, Patricia)

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9780060185299: The Goodbye Summer: A Novel (Gaffney, Patricia)

The New York Times bestselling author of the much-beloved The Saving Graces is back with a warm, winning new novel about daring to love, braving a loss, and setting yourself free.

How much change can one summer bring? If you're Caddie Winger -- thirty-two years old, still living with her grandmother, and giving piano lessons to neighborhood children -- one summer can make the whole world look different.

Caddie's mother died when she was nine, and Caddie was raised by her grandmother. Now their roles are reversed, and it's Caddie who takes care of Nana. When her grandmother breaks a leg and insists on going into a convalescent home, Caddie finds herself being pulled out of her comfy, self-made nest. Living alone for the first time since college, she uncovers some startling truths from her past.

Jolted, she looks at the world with new eyes and begins to take charge of her future. As she makes a new best friend, takes risks she never dreamed she could, and navigates the depths and shallows of true love and devastating heartbreak, Caddie learns how to trust other people and, ultimately, how to trust herself.

Wise, moving, and reassuringly real, The Goodbye Summer offers us a deeper understanding of the perplexing and invigorating magic that is life itself.

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From the Back Cover:

How much change can one summer bring?

If you're Caddie Winger -- thirty-two years old, still living with her grandmother, and giving piano lessons to neighborhood children -- one summer can make the whole world look different.

Caddie's mother died when Caddie was nine, and the childwas raised by her grandmother. Now Caddie takes care of Nana. When Nana breaks her leg and insists on going into a convalescent home, Caddie is pulled out of her comfy, self-made nest. Living alone for the first time since college, she uncovers some startling truths from her past.

Jolted, she looks at the world with new eyes and begins to take charge of her future. As she makes a new best friend, takes risks she never dreamed she could, and navigates the depths and shallows of true love and devastating heartbreak, Caddie learns how to trust other people and, ultimately, how to trust herself.

About the Author:

Patricia Gaffney was born in Tampa, Florida, the younger of the two children of Joem and Jim Gaffney. With her brother Mike, she grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and graduated from Walter Johnson High School. 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, Gaffney taught 12th grade English at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, "for one excruciating year. The kids were great, but they were bigger than me and I was scared of them." Returning to Chapel Hill, instead of finishing her master's degree in education, she took a job as a freelance court reporter, and pursued that career in North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., for the next fifteen years.

In January of 1984, Gaffney discovered a malignant lump in her breast. "I was positive I was dying; I gave myself five years. Time to decide, and fast, what to do with the rest of my too-short life." In the end, the decision was easy because it was what she'd always wanted to do: write books and live in the country. In 1986, she and her husband left Washington and moved to rural southern Pennsylvania, where they live today.

There Gaffney began the first of what would be twelve published historical romance novels. The first, Sweet Treason, appeared in 1989 and won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart as well as other first-book awards. Six of her novels have been nominated for RWA Rita awards, and Wild at Heart (1997) was among ten finalists for the reader-nominated Favorite Book of the Year Award.

After a dozen books, Gaffney says she began to feel restless. "I'd run out of stories I wanted to tell in the context of historical romance. And I had an urge to put more of myself in my novels. I'll always tell stories, but now I wanted to change the truth/fantasy ratio, weight it more toward my real life."

In June of 1999, HarperCollins published The Saving Graces, Gaffney's hardcover fiction debut. "Real life" definitely played a part in this story of four women friends, one of whom battles a cancer recurrence. "I've belonged to the same women's group for almost 20 years. Eight years ago, we lost one of our members to breast cancer. The Saving Graces tells her story, not mine." More than that, it explores issues of love, friendship, trust, and commitment among women. Gaffney says she hopes it speaks to the universal experience of women blessed with the gift of close friendships.

The Saving Graces enjoyed bestseller status on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and other national lists.

Circle of Three was Gaffney's second hardcover novel, published by HarperCollins in June of 2000. The protagonist is a member of the "sandwich generation," a woman who both has a mother and a daughter and is a mother and a daughter. Gaffney explores the reality of women's lives in the context of three generations, grandmother, mother, and daughter. Told in alternating viewpoints, the women wrestle with issues of grief and guilt, aging and growing up, reconciling with old loves and finding new ones.

In July of 2002, HarperCollins will publish Flight Lessons. Set in a small town on Maryland's Eastern Shore, Flight Lessons is the story of 30-something Anna Catalano who comes home, after a long self-exile, to help run the Bella Sorella, the family Italian restaurant. Once again the focus is family, both Anna's real one as well as the Bella Sorella's steamy, chaotic, metaphorical family. Sins are committed and forgiven, hearts broken and healed. Gaffney explores favorite themes in this book about food, family, and forgiveness.

Patricia Gaffney is currently at work on her fourth novel for HarperCollins.

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