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Four young women are sitting at the kitchen table. Blanche, in an exaggerated manner, readjusts her flowered shawl over her ample shoulders and picks up the deck of cards. With her usual grand gesture, she flips a card in an arc to each of the four waiting piles. Sophie places hunks of bubbling kugel onto four waiting plates. Gertie gathers her cards carefully and fans them. Blanche reaches over to Maggie’s pile as Maggie scoops them into a neat set. She slaps Blanche’s hand away. “Lay off,” she says. Blanche says, “Gimme those. One stuck together.” “Says who?” “Says me.”
And so, over kugel and cards, another weekly lunch of quick-witted bickering, laughing, insulting, and horseplay begins. And the revealing of their deepest-held secrets ensues, the result of which is an outpouring of tears, followed by soothing, and finally, relief in the arms of trusted friends.
Blanche is the flamboyant, dynamic member of the foursome that never does play a hand of poker. She meets her true love, shy and quiet Aaron, when they are nine years old. Her attraction to him is part of her story. But Buzz, her older brother, holds the key to the grief she hides beneath her flashy exterior.
Maggie is Blanche’s sparring partner, though they have a deep attachment that gives them special insight into each other’s pain. Maggie’s pervasive guilt over her conflict with her Church and family and Catholic beliefs is her story. And her sharpened sensitivity enables her to intuit Sophie’s story.
Sophie’s marriage to Jack flounders when their infant son, Leon, dies of pneumonia. Her maternal need yearns for another child. Alyosha, a traveling stranger, lingers for a short time in Sophie’s neighborhood before moving on. Sophie’s decision is abrupt and certain, leaving her carrying a deep-seated, lifelong mystery.
Gertie is single, and Reuben is courting her. Reuben is refreshing, engaging, and resourceful. Gertie is attracted, but she has a reservation regarding one aspect of Reuben’s behavior. It speaks to the core of her fear.
THE FOURSOME is a story of friendship. A safe haven, trust, and wisdom are the crucial qualities of a true friendship. Blanche, Maggie, Sophie, and Gertie have them all.
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by Bernice Berger Miller
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by Bernice Berger Miller
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by on October 26, 2016
- AuthorHouse, October 2009
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