The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery

As I sat down to write this review it was a somewhat cold very rainy day where I live.  I couldn’t help but think it’s the type of day that someone is going to want to find a  comfortable spot to read, curled up with their favorite beverage and a soft throw and most importantly a good book.  What better choice for the book than Susan Mallery’s newest…THE FRIENDS WE KEEP.

Hayley, Nicole, and Gabby are at different stages of their lives, but that doesn’t stop them from being friends and worrying about each other the way close friends often do.

Hayley, a young woman with fertility issues wants nothing as much as much as she wants a biological child.  Her husband is willing to adopt, but Hayley having been adopted herself is against that idea,  As THE FRIENDS WE KEEP progresses we find out that what Hayley always believed about being the adopted daughter vs. the biological one might truly be more about her sister’s personality and her parents’ ability to cope with that attitude than any kind of favoritism.  Even as Hayley is discovering that her views of being the adopted child might be wrong will it be enough for her to abandon her dreams of a child?  What will it take for her to realize that a biological child of her own might never happen?

Nicole, a divorced mom with a young child enthralled with Brad the Dragon is scared to enter a new relationship.  When her son Tyler wins a chance for the author and creator of Brad the Dragon to come to his day camp and meet everyone she is less than thrilled.  She has a prejudice against the man, and she’s never even met him!  When the handsome author arrives Nicole just might discover a side to him that she never expected.  Is she willing and able to change her attitude about men and dating, and reach out for a chance at not only love but a positive role model for her son?

Gabby is the second wife of a powerful successful man.  She and her husband have very similar ideas about raising their family…well only where their children are concerned, not where Gabby’s ability to discipline his child from his previous marriage.  When an unplanned pregnancy is discovered Gabby’s plan to get back into the workforce after five years as a stay at home mom is potentially shoved aside.  While the marriage is strong this could prove to be a breaking point for Gabby as she feels that her husband isn’t putting her feelings into consideration, but only those of his oldest daughter.

While each woman is struggling with her own family they have one another to lean on, and gain perspective from.  Everyone should be as lucky as Gabby, Hayley, and Nicole to have friends to offer opinions and support.

It must be hard to write a story with multiple main characters and be sure that each one gets their fair share of the story line.  Susan Mallery has been writing multiple character stories for a while now, and I believe has mastered the ability.  While reading THE FRIENDS WE KEEP it’s impossible to know who the main character is and who the supporting characters are as each one rises and sets much like the sun does, but never recedes so far into the background as to be a non-essential part of the story.  

With three very distinct timely themes running through the story one could worry that one theme would not be handled as gently as it should, or the resolution would be rushed as the word count winds down, but Susan Mallery uses her writing skills to wrap up each story so that when the last page is turned readers are content that each woman has reached a decision that is perfect for them and their families.

TIL DEATH DO US PART by Amanda Quick

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. Calista’s clients are by referral only and she always has her brother Andrew investigate each member to insure no married or fortune hunters are allowed. 

The brother of one of her clients, Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels, visits Calista to determine if this is a proper place for his sister. Trent discovers that Calista has been receiving memento mori trinket and offers his assistance in finding the culprit. Trent and Calista comb through her files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor. Trent comes to believe that a murderer is stalking Calista.

TIL DEATH DO US PART is a fast paced wonderful read. I’ve read all of Amanda Quick’s books and I’ve never been disappointed and TIL DEATH DO US PART continues that streak.

 I will say I was kept guessing who the real culprit and their motive was until the end. Amanda Quick has a wonderful way of letting the readers get to know her characters. The dialogue is witty, the romance is very believable and the investigation techniques used are very ingenious to the time period. I would highly recommend TIL DEATH DO US PART to anyone who likes historical romantic suspense. Trent and Calista are a wonderful couple and I hope they are included in future books.

This book was provided by NetGalley for an honest review.