Earth’s the Right Place for Love

Random. Mar. 2023. 288p. ISBN 9780593446799. $27. F
Berg calls back to her 2017 novel The Story of Arthur Truluv in this sweet and sad story that stands on its own. It explores the early life of Arthur (who is an octogenarian in the 2017 novel) and what turned him into the kind and sensitive man who so many readers fell in love with. This new novel is set in 1947, with Arthur as a 16-year-old growing up in small-town Missouri. Awkward and sweet, with a deep love of trees and the natural world, his other deep love is Nola—one of the prettiest girls in school, and way out of his league. Arthur relies on his handsome, charismatic older brother Frank to guide him in his patient effort to conquer Nola’s heart. Frank has his own issues, including his and Arthur’s overbearing and sometimes scary father. Frank has also fallen in love with his gorgeous young English teacher and impresses her with his vibrant writing, to the point that they’re secretly planning to start a new life together once Frank graduates. Then a terrible tragedy hits the Truluv family, changing Arthur forever.
VERDICT Berg continues to channel her own version of Fannie Flagg with her small-town Southern tale that goes back in time to fill in the details of a memorable character’s life.
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