The Curiosities

The Curiosities Review

The follow-up to Susan Gloss’s successful debut, Vintage, is a charming mid-western story of artists, inspiration, and how to reinvent your life with purpose and flair

Nell Parker has a PhD in Art History, a loving husband named Josh, and a Craftsman bungalow in Madison, WI. But her last pregnancy ended later in the second trimester, and rather than pausing to grieve, she pushes harder for testing and fertility treatments. Urging Nell to apply for jobs, Josh believes his wife needs something else to focus on other than a baby that may never be.

Finding a job turns out to be difficult for an art historian . . . until Nell sees the ad seeking a director for a new nonprofit called the Mansion Hill Artists’ Colony. The colony is the brainchild of the late, unconventional society dame Betsy Barrett, who left behind her vast fortune and a killer collection of modern art to establish an artist-in-residency program to be run out of her lakeside mansion. The executor of Betsy’s estate simply hands Nell a set of house keys and wishes her luck.

Nell dives into the new role and discovers that while finding artists to fill the three residency slots is easy, managing their eccentric personalities is not. There’s Odin, a young metal sculptor, who keeps the other residents awake with his late-night welding projects. And Annie, a dreadlocked granny known for her gritty photography, whom Nell is almost certain is dealing pot out of the basement “studio.” Lastly, Paige, an art student from the university, takes up residence in the third-floor turret, experimenting with new printing and design techniques, as well as leading a string of bad boyfriends upstairs when she stumbles home late at night.

Despite all the drama, Nell finds something akin to a family among the members of the creative community that she’s brought together. And when her attraction to Odin begins to heat up, Nell is forced to decide what will bring her greater joy—the creative, inspired world she’s created, or the familiar but increasingly fragile one of her marriage.

Title:The Curiosities
Edition Language:English

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    The Curiosities Reviews

  • Melissa

    “Art is like life. It’s fragile, but that doesn’t mean you should never take a risk.” It always feels serendipitous when a novel lands itself in your hands at just the right moment in life, a...

  • Sonja Yoerg

    Grief makes for powerful stories because it is so personal. Even when two people lose the same loved one, their experiences are not the same. Perhaps it is the finality of death that makes it so; we g...

  • Tammy

    The Curiosities is a beautifully written story of loss, grieving and moving on. Susan Gloss expertly weaves loss, promiscuity, the opioid crisis, art and vintage antiques into a highly engaging, emoti...

  • Obsidian

    I loved "Vintage" and gave it fours stars when I read it back in 2014 and kept my eye out to see when Susan Gloss would publish another book. Unfortunately, I found this follow-up to "Vintage" to be d...

  • Deborah Blanchard

    This is an exquisite book about the resilience of the human spirit. Nell takes a job as the director of an artist colony that is left in a trust by Betsy Barrett. There are three artists in residence,...

  • Tanja ~ T's Book ~ KT Book Reviews

    Five very different and complicated stories are told within the pages of The Curiosities by Susan Gloss. All are contained by the talented, yet somewhat broken and resilient Nell. Its a beautiful snap...

  • Kristy Harvey

    A richly layered tale of the intersection of five very different lives, The Curiosities uniquely depicts how each step in the journey leads us where we're ultimately meant to be. Page by page, Gloss p...

  • Katie Ziegler (Life Between Words)

    I'm not sure I've ever read a book that takes place in my city. Recognizing my hometown in this novel was probably my favorite thing! From the little idiosyncrasies about Madison (like biking in the w...

  • The Lit Bitch

    As many of you know, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to read more books outside my comfort zone. I do read a lot of women’s fiction, but I often pass on books that have anything to do with pr...

  • Susan Peterson

    The Curiosities is a poignant story of love and loss, grief and recovery. Told from several points of view, the author has woven their stories together in such a way that connects us to them. The stor...