I've been re-reading bits of old Elizabeth Berg books as a sort of palate cleanser from the grimness of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
I love Elizabeth Berg. Her books make me happy. I once heard her address criticism that her books are unrealistically happy and light by pointing out that the main character of her most recent book helps her friend cope with (and eventually die of) terminal cancer. Not exactly a shallow topic. So itt's not that she deals with frivolous matters, not at all. It's that, despite the terrible things that sometimes happen, life is still worth it.
Her characters see the beauty in ordinary things. They endure life's trials and never move permanently into hopelessness and despair. When I read her books, I more easily notice the beauty of the tea pouring from my teapot, of the green and pink quilt on my lap, of my flowered aprons hanging from their nails on the wall.