joy cover




A Novel

Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate celebrates by gathering with six close friends.  At an intimate, outdoor dinner on a warm September evening, the women challenge Kate to start her new lease on life by going white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon with her daughter.  Kate, however, is reluctant to take the risk.  That is, until her friend Marion proposes a pact: if Kate will face the rapids, each woman will do one thing in the next year that scares her.  Kate agrees, with one provision — she didn’t get to choose her challenge, so she gets to choose theirs.


Indie Next Pick — June 2011

Library Journal — top ten women’s fiction 2011

IndieNext List for Reading Groups — Fantastic Fiction, Fall 2012

“Sensual…evocative…A book designed to both fill you up and make you hungry for life.”
Publisher’s Weekly

“Moving, touching, wonderfully written; inspiring to read.  Joy for Beginners takes us on the emotional journeys of seven women seeking to transform their lives and proves that sometimes what we really need to inspire us to change is a good, firm shove.”
–Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“This is realistic fiction set in our world — and yet there is something subtly magical (and wholly wonderful) about it.  Joy for Beginners is a pure delight.”

“How rare for a second novel to live up to the first.  How transporting to live, even briefly, inside these women’s lives.”
–Laura Hansen, Bookin’ It

“Bauermeister’s mastery of character development and keen eye for description transform what could have been just another sisterhood book into something deeper.”
Seattle Times

Bauermeister has created a cast of textured and nuanced characters who individually and as a group speak to what makes women interesting and enigmatic. Her prose is velvety smooth, revealing life at once mournful and auspicious. Joyful, indeed.”
–Library Journal, starred review

“A novel redolent with the perfumes, flavors and hues of its distinctively endearing cast of characters…Joy for Beginners is ultimately a celebration of life; a literary confirmation of the power of friendship.”
–Carol Cassella, author of Oxygen

“Erica Bauermeister writes some of the most beautiful prose I’ve ever read.”
–Books and Movies


“Deeply moving and quietly insightful, Joy for Beginners will inspire readers to tackle their own challenges–and to celebrate the beauty of deep friendships, good food, well-tended gardens and other daily pleasures that make life worth living.”
–Shelf Awareness

This book is a joy to read.”
Stephanie Kallos, author of Broken for You