Elizabeth Berg is one of my all time favorite authors, even though I am almost always a book behind her current book (only because it takes so long for them to show up in paperback). I'm pretty sure this book is only one behind, but now I'm mad that I waited so long to read it (and mad that I don't have the newest one to just pick up and move onto). Because it was lovely, just deep-sigh-of-contentment lovely. Although I see now that there have been some other reviewers who take issue with the ending, but I liked the whole thing. Berg does a great job of creating the atmosphere (even if there was a time or two it tended toward the info-dumping side) for the story; set in Chicago during World War II, there were so many details and just that feeling of "we're all in this together - everything everyone does is important to the war effort" that my grandparents all talk about with such nostalgia. The whole tone was very nostalgic - and even more than a little romantic. That said, the grim descriptions of war didn't seem out of place or forced - they just contributed to the feeling that it was real to this family, that they were actually living through it. The bond of the three sisters (so loving and yet easily frustrated with each other), the big Irish Catholic family who somehow manage to be both a solidly close-knit clan and a collection of unique individuals, and all the various soldiers the girls meet through their local USO were all so well written, I probably could have read their whole life stories without a qualm. Now I'm probably going to have to re-read Joy School, just because.