The Novels of Anna Quindlen: Background information when reading Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

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Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

A Memoir

by Anna Quindlen

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2012, 208 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2013, 224 pages

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Beyond the Book:
The Novels of Anna Quindlen

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Anna Quindlen's memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake has received rave reviews from BookBrowse readers, but it is just one of her many beloved books; check out the list below for more information on her novels:

Every Last One Every Last One (2010): Mary Beth Latham is first and foremost a mother, whose three teenaged children come first, before her career as a landscape gardener, or even her life as the wife of a doctor. Caring for her family and preserving their everyday life is paramount. And so, when one of her sons, Max, becomes depressed, Mary Beth becomes focused on him, and is blindsided by a shocking act of violence. What happens afterward is a testament to the power of a woman's love and determination, and to the invisible line of hope and healing that connects one human being with another. Every Last One is a novel about facing every last one of the the things we fear most, about finding ways to navigate a road we never intended to travel, to live a life we never dreamed we'd have to live but must be brave enough to try.

Rise and Shine Rise and Shine (2006): It's an otherwise ordinary Monday when Meghan Fitzmaurice's perfect life hits a wall. A household name as the host of "Rise and Shine," the country's highest-rated morning talk show, Meghan cuts to a commercial break - but not before she mutters two forbidden words into her open mike. In an instant, it's the end of an era, not only for Meghan, who is unaccustomed to dealing with adversity, but also for her younger sister, Bridget, a social worker in the Bronx who has always lived in Meghan's long shadow. The effect of Meghan's on-air truth telling reverberates through both their lives, affecting Meghan's son, husband, friends, and fans, as well as Bridget's perception of her sister, their complex childhood, and herself. What follows is a story about how, in very different ways, the Fitzmaurice women adapt, survive, and manage to bring the whole teeming world of New York to heel by dint of their smart mouths, quick wits, and the powerful connection between them that even the worst tragedy cannot shatter.

Blessings Blessings (2002): Blessings begins when a teenage couple drives up, late at night, headlights out, to Blessings, the estate owned by Lydia Blessing. They leave a box and drive away, and in this instant, the world of Blessings is changed forever. It tells the story of Skip Cuddy, caretaker of the estate, who finds a baby asleep in that box and decides he wants to keep her, and of matriarch Lydia Blessing, who, for her own reasons, decides to help him. The secrets of the past, how they affect the decisions and lives of people in the present; what makes a person, a life, legitimate or illegitimate, and who decides; the unique resources people find in themselves and in a community.

Black and Blue Black and Blue (1998): In Black and Blue, Fran Benedetto tells a spellbinding story: how at nineteen she fell in love with Bobby Benedetto, how their passionate marriage became a nightmare, why she stayed, and what happened on the night she finally decided to run away with her ten-year-old son and start a new life under a new name. Living in fear in Florida - yet with increasing confidence, freedom, and hope - Fran unravels the complex threads of family, identity, and desire that shape a woman's life, even as she begins to create a new one. As Fran starts to heal from the pain of the past, she almost believes she has escaped it - that Bobby Benedetto will not find her and again provoke the complex combustion between them of attraction and destruction, lust and love.

One True Thing One True Thing (1995): A mother. A daughter. A shattering choice. One True Thing is a novel of life, love and everyday acts of mercy.

Object LessonsObject Lessons (1991): It is the 1960s, in suburban New York City. Maggie and her family, are in the thrall of her powerful grandfather Jack Scanlan. In the summer of her twelfth year, Maggie is despertately trying to master the object lessons her grandfather fills her head with. But there is too much going on to concentrate. Everything at home is in upheaval, her grandfather is changing, and Maggie is unsure if what she wants is worth having...

This article was originally published in May 2012, and has been updated for the April 2013 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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