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.

THE SECRET DAUGHTER by Kelly Rimmer

daughterI purchased THE SECRET DAUGHTER  by Kelly Rimmer for my Kindle through Amazon. Although the story is fiction, the subject matter is, unfortunately, all too real.

THE SECRET DAUGHTER tells the story of Sabina, a pregnant 38 year old Australian who has her world shattered when she finds out that not only is she adopted, but she is a victim of the “forced adoptions” that were common in the not too distant past. As she searches for her birth mother, she has to come to terms with the atrocities that were committed against young, unmarried girls by her own government. 

As a woman who gave birth at a young age, I found THE SECRET DAUGHTER to be heartbreaking. It is well written and definitely keeps you interested. Reading how Sabina wondered who she would have been had she not been adopted made me feel like I was right there with her as her emotions jumped all over the place. I didn’t know anything about forced adoptions, so I have been researching this topic since finishing the book.

It is outrageous to think how many people were affected by this.  I do think that it wrapped up too neatly to be completely realistic. But I would recommend THE SECRET DAUGHTER. It’s very thought provoking and I find myself going back to it several times a day.

Reviewed by Susie Richardson Adair

THE RUMOR

rumor

I borrowed THE RUMOR from my local library in audio.

I love to listen to audio books as I have a rather long commute to work.  I also listen while wandering the grocery store buying the weekly supplies (I do put it on pause while I check out).   I love love love Elin Hilderbrand.  I think that she’s an author who doesn’t necessarily get the publicity that she should, so I am telling everyone that if you like Women’s Fiction then read Elin Hilderbrand.

All of Elin Hilderbrand‘s books are set in Nantucket.  From reading her books I’ve learned that Nantucket is a bigger community than I ever thought it was, and one that has an active year round population.  Whenever I read one of these stories I not only want to have the opportunity to someday visit Nantucket but maybe even be fortunate enough to live there.

In my opinion it takes a talented writer to make a reader believe that the stories and characters she has made up could be real and that if one were to travel to someplace such as Nantucket you might actually meet someone like Grace Pancik or Madeline King.

While THE RUMOR wasn’t one of my favorite stories by the talented Elin Hilderbrand it has to be given it’s due, as she more than likely wrote it while undergoing treatment for Breast Cancer.  Since I have neither written a novel nor undergone anything as stressful as I imagine treatment for Breast Cancer to be I’m going to say that THE RUMOR while hard to get into was in the end a very pleasant way to spend my commuting time.