Penelope J. Stokes. Circle of Grace. New York: Doubleday, 2004.

On the day they graduated from college, four close friends–Grace, Liz, Tess, and Lovey–promised to keep in touch with each other using a “circle journal.” The plan was for each woman to write about her life and then pass it on to the next friend. For thirty years the women have been contributing to the journal and telling stories about successful careers, marriages, and families. When one of the diarists – a resident of Asheville – is diagnosed with cancer, she makes a confession to the others: she hasn’t always told the truth in the journal, letting it reflect her life as she had hoped it would be rather than how it has really turned out. Her candor leads to similar confessions and the four friends are drawn even closer together.

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