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Gail Godwin

Author of Evensong

29+ Works 5,187 Members 165 Reviews 14 Favorited

About the Author

Gail Godwin was born on June 18, 1937, in Birmingham, Ala. and graduated from the University of North Carolina and University of Iowa. Godwin writes about strong women, a perspective she gathered from her own life. After her father abandoned her at an early age, she was raised by her mother and show more grandmother. Her father eventually returned on the day of her high school graduation and she lived with him for a brief period before he ultimately shot and killed himself. Godwin worked as a reporter for The Miami Herald, and later as a travel consultant before achieving her fame as a writer. Godwin's novels are about contemporary women, frequently Southern, who search for meaning in their lives. In Glass People, the heroine is a beautiful woman who learns that her husband is merely obsessed with her beauty and unconcerned about her as a person. Other popular titles include The Odd Woman and The Good Husband. Godwin has been the recipient of several honors including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Award in Literature from the American Institute and Academy of Arts and Letters. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Godwin Gail

Also includes: Gail Goodwin (2)

Works by Gail Godwin

Evensong (1999) 796 copies
Father Melancholy's Daughter (1997) 604 copies
Unfinished Desires (2010) 417 copies
Flora: A Novel (2013) 390 copies
The Finishing School (1984) 351 copies
The Good Husband (1994) 330 copies
A Mother and Two Daughters (1982) 319 copies
A Southern Family (1987) 307 copies
Grief Cottage (2017) 251 copies
The Odd Woman (1974) 232 copies
Queen of the Underworld (2006) 204 copies
Evenings at Five (2003) 191 copies
Violet Clay (1978) 135 copies
Old Lovegood Girls (2020) 98 copies

Associated Works


Common Knowledge



A light read about her ups and downs writing and getting her books published.
What a cutthroat industry.
GeoffSC | 1 other review | Oct 26, 2023 |
k6gst | 7 other reviews | Aug 2, 2023 |
Here's what I wrote in 2008 about this read: "A light vacation read. Pastors pastoring in their small towns; a sequel to an earlier novel which I did not read."
MGADMJK | 8 other reviews | Jul 27, 2023 |
I think I’ve had this title on my proverbial nightstand for about two years.

I finished the book half an hour ago, and while I won’t provide any spoilers, the timing of completion was uncannily in sync with the timing of significant events in my own life; the events aren’t similar at all, but calendar-wise there are some interesting parallels. Therefore, it’s tempting for me, with my metaphysical bent, to declare I didn’t finish it two years ago because I was meant to read it now. Honestly though – it’s just that the book has an exceedingly slow initial trajectory and requires strong intent to get into one’s reading groove.

This is the first-person narrative of (fictional, obviously) Episcopal priest Margaret Bonner as she deals with varying levels of strife within her family, her congregation, and her community in a small Smoky Mountain town. The third Millennium is nearly upon the residents of High Balsam, and its advent (during Advent, actually) brings life-changing events for everyone – but especially for Margaret, her husband Adrian, and the newly arrived quasi-family members who share their home. I was struck by two things:

- Almost every character had a British accent in my head, until I had finished at least half of the book. I think this is due in part to Godwin’s writing style. Example: Margaret’s husband Adrian calls her a “stubborn girl.” How British. Also, their names are Margaret and Adrian. One is almost required to speak those names as the queen would pronounce them.

- I noted similarities in character between Margaret Bonner and the Reverend Merrily Watkins, protagonist of Phil Rickman’s series about a British priest and exorcist. Both women are remarkably unguarded and willing to appear vulnerable. The two characters inhabit vastly different worlds, and neither author is a priest, unless I’ve missed something. How interesting that they have created characters with such similarities. (This could also be why I gave everyone an accent while I was reading.)

If you’ve read any of Madeleine L’Engle’s adult fiction, you will find that this book has a similar feel – notably in both authors’ tendency to attribute adult speaking style and behavior to children and adolescents. The story is engaging, and at some points it’s a page-turner – but it does take a while to find one’s stride when reading.

… (more)
CatherineB61 | 8 other reviews | May 31, 2023 |



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