The Obituary Writer - Ann Hood Rating = 3.5 starsWarning: Prescription credulity goggles may be required. This is one of the most predictable novels I've ever read, and I do mean eye-rollingly predictable. So much so that I'm not even going to discuss plot and characters. Whatever is in the promotional blurb is all you need to know. But it was enjoyable, nonetheless. It moves swiftly enough that I finished it in less than 24 hours. I think many female readers will appreciate it for light reading that's not quite chick lit and not quite historical fiction. Ann Hood explores a couple of themes here. The first is the role of women vis-a-vis the men in their lives, and how that role didn't change significantly between 1919 and 1961. The second theme is grief. She looks at how grieving people behave, and what they need from us, which is mostly a lot of listening as they go through endless repetitions of stories about their lost loved one. The novel could have carried more heft if Hood had gone even further down the path of grief study. She has some useful insights that bear fleshing out. As it stands, what we take away from the story is that people who steep themselves in the early stages of grief can end up stuck there for years, not allowing themselves to be loved in the present and move forward with their lives. I enjoyed the depiction of San Francisco and the Napa Valley in the early 1900s, and the descriptions of the hilariously gaudy 1960s home decor. Plaid gold wallpaper? Oh, help!