Unfinished Desires: Book summary and reviews of Unfinished Desires by Gail Godwin

Unfinished Desires

A Novel

By Gail Godwin

Unfinished Desires
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2010,
    416 pages.

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Book Summary

It is the fall of 1951 at Mount St. Gabriel's, an all-girls school tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina. Tildy Stratton, the undisputed queen bee of her class, befriends Chloe Starnes, a new student recently orphaned by the untimely and mysterious death of her mother. Their friendship fills a void for both girls but also sets in motion a chain of events that will profoundly affect the course of many lives, including the girls' young teacher and the school's matriarch, Mother Suzanne Ravenel.

Fifty years on, the headmistress relives one pivotal night, trying to reconcile past and present, reaching back even further to her own senior year at the school, where the roots of a tragedy are buried.

In Unfinished Desires, a beloved author delivers a gorgeous new novel in which thwarted desires are passed on for generations–and captures the rare moment when a soul breaks free.  

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. A strong story populated by a host of memorable characters - smart, satisfying fiction, one of the author's best in years." - Kirkus Reviews

"Poignant and transporting, this faux memoir makes a convincing, satisfying novel." - Publishers Weekly

"The promise of uncovering Mother Ravenel's involvement in a past incident of seeming import to one of the families lures the reader on, but the denouement, though tragic, reveals little motivation beyond schoolgirl pettiness." - Library Journal

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Author Information

Gail Godwin Author Biography

© John Kleinhans

Gail Godwin is a three-time National Book Award nominee and the bestselling author of many critically acclaimed novels, including A Mother and Two Daughters, Violet Clay, Father Melancholy's Daughter, Evensong, The Good Husband, and Evenings at Five. She is also the author of The Making of a Writer: Journals, 1961—1963, the first of two volumes, edited by Rob Neufeld. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for both fiction and libretto writing, and the Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She has written libretti for ten musical works with her long-time companion, composer Robert Starer, who died in 2001.

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