Book Review: The Curiosities by Susan Gloss

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Published: February 2019

Pages: 358


They say everyone grieves differently and in their own way. It’s also said that art and creativity can have the power to be healing. Author Susan Gloss contemplates that question as she shares a compelling and beautiful story of a woman who must come to terms with her grief over a late miscarriage.

Nell is also keeping secrets from her husband and feeling alone and disconnected from him. When she is given an opportunity to run an artist’s live-in residency program, she isn’t sure what she’s in for but knows she has to take the job.

With each chapter, we hear from a different character including the three artists who all bring some kind of personal sorrow or baggage to the mansion. We meet their deceased patron of the arts Betsy Barrett through flashback chapters. Nell begins to find a family of sorts in the community of artists – loved the Sunday dinners. She is able to begin to share her own grief instead of holding it in. She also finds herself attracted to one of the artists who has also suffered a loss.

There were many storylines aside from the miscarriage; the artist whose girlfriend was killed in a car accident, the artist who sleeps with anyone… They all serve to illustrate to Nell the many faces of grief and how they all have different coping mechanisms. She is able to gain some perspective and really see her husband and what he’s been dealing with.

I loved the wintry Wisconsin setting and how the author approached such a sensitive subject with respect and compassion. The relationship between Nell and her husband was real and complex and I was kept guessing all the way to the end.

I would recommend this title to someone that enjoys beautifully described vintage art and a slower paced, character-driven relationship drama. It was emotional and raw and well done.

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