The Fiction Class by Susan Breen is a poignant and touching tale a woman who teaches a fiction writing class who is struggling to complete her novel, caring for her ailing mother, and trying to find love.
Each chapter starts with Arabella's fiction writing class and features the lesson for that day, such as theme, voice, and pacing. Each class's writing theme is also a life theme in the novel. The students in Arabella's class are all interesting characters themselves and feature prominently in the novel; especially Chuck, who becomes Arabella's love interest.
The strongest theme in the novel is the mother/daughter relationship that has been a lifelong source of pain between Arabella and her mother, Vera. The two have had a tortured and difficult relationship since Arabella was a child. Through the course of the book, the two women gain insight and understanding into each other's motivations and thoughts through the treasured acts of reading and writing.
Not only is The Fiction Class a good read but it is also a good course in writing instruction for the budding fiction writer wannabe. Breen puts each of Arabella's writing assignments on a separate page before each chapter. I know that I will be doing the exercises to hone my writing skills!
The blurb on the back cover of this novel summarizes this book perfectly, it says: "A heartwarming story for anyone who loves books, or has a difficult mother. And, let's face it, that's practically everybody...."