From the acclaimed author of Miss You Most of All
comes a heartfelt, wonderfully affirming novel of sisterhood, healing, and new beginnings.
No one could blame Bev Putterman for becoming estranged from her sister. No one but Bev, anyway. Growing up, Diana was difficult and selfish yet always their mother’s favorite. And then came the betrayal that took away the future Bev dreamed of.
Yet if Diana caused problems while alive, her death leaves Bev in a maelstrom of remorse. She longs to provide a stable home for Diana’s fourteen-year-old daughter, Alabama. But between her commitment-phobic boyfriend and her precarious teaching position, Bev’s life is already in upheaval without an unruly teenager around.
All Alabama knows about Aunt Bev is what her mother told her—and none of it was good. They clash about money, clothes, boys, and especially about Diana. In desperation, Alabama sets out to find her late father’s family. Instead she learns of the complicated history between her mother and aunt, how guilt can shut down a life—and most important, how love and forgiveness can open a door and make us whole again…Praise for the novels of Elizabeth Bass
Wherever Grace is Needed
“Bass draws her characters, particularly the adolescents, very well.” --Publishers Weekly
“Readers of all ages can enjoy this thoughtful story of two families overcoming tremendous challenges.” --VOYAMiss You Most of All
AN INDIE NEXT LIST NOTABLE SELECTION!
“An exuberant celebration of life, love, family and friendship, told with a sassy Texas flair. It’s a perfect balance of humor and heartache, a sweetly satisfying novel that will stay with the reader long after the final page is turned.” --Susan Wiggs
“The world Elizabeth Bass has created is full of life, humor, heartache and hope. You’ll be happy to enter it and sad to leave.” --Lorna Landvik
1. The book features the evolving relationship between a
girl, Alabama, and her aunt Bev, who steps in to serve as
guardian after Alabama’s mother dies. In your own life,
has there been someone other than your parents—such
as an aunt or uncle, cousin, or teacher—whose guidance
made a huge difference to you?
2. Alabama and her best friend, Stuart, both see reflections
of real life in fiction—especially Great Expectations by
Charles Dickens and The Old Maid, a Bette Davis movie.
Was there ever a work of fiction, a movie, or a song that
resonated so strongly with you that you felt it guided you
or changed your life?
3. Bev steps into Alabama’s life during a difficult time. What
mistakes does Bev make? Are they forgivable?
4. Alabama dislikes her aunt at the beginning of the story,
but her feelings are based on secondhand prejudices
passed to her by her mother. Did you ever misjudge a
person based on hearsay and come to like them later?
5. Bev is crushed when she’s turned down for NASA’s first
teacher in space program, and she views this as proof of
her bad luck. Has there ever been a disappointment in
your life that actually turned out to be a lucky break?
6. Did you take home economics in school? Do you remember
any projects you did for class?
7. Alabama gets caught up in a practical joke she soon regrets.
Have you ever taken part in a prank that came off
well . . . or one that backfired?
8. Alabama has to confess to having done something bad to
Bev when she discovers that her partner in crime went
on to bully Stuart. Yet Stuart just wants to let the matter
drop. In confessing and telling on Kevin, is Alabama
doing the right thing? Or should she have honored Stuart’s
wishes and said nothing?
9. Did you ever take part in a talent show or some other
10. One challenge Alabama faces in her new life is adjusting
to a small town after living in cities all through her childhood.
When you were in school, did you have to switch
schools often? Did you ever relocate to a place that
seemed foreign to you?
11. Letters play an important role in The Way Back to Happiness,
which is set in 1985. Obviously, much of this correspondence
would be done via e-mail today. Is there
anyone you still correspond with by “snail mail”? Do you
think anything has been lost by the switch to e-mail?