"This is what friendship is all about."
Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted March 15, 2016
Susan Mallery writes smart books. Invariably you think
the plot line is going in one direction only to switch up
at bat—so to speak. It's all part of the wonder of a
Susan Mallery book, which makes her so popular with her
devoted fan base. In THE FRIENDS WE KEEP Susan Mallery
stays true to her style and rewards us with a graceful
story about dealing with life. Plain and simple...but as we
all know there is nothing simple about life and what it
throws at you.
THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is about three women whose basis of
friendship is the stuff dreams are made of; these three
are there for each other—in good or bad—and
important there to scrape each other off the floor when
required. Gabby, Hayley, and Nicole are very
different in many ways, and these differences add so much
to the ongoing relationship. Along the way, we also get to
meet their families large and
small and of course see just how they were shaped.
Stories about friendships come and go, but Susan Mallery
teaches us about strength. Sure it's lovely to have
friends that listen and don't necessarily preach. Family
is good at doing the latter. But I totally loved
experiencing the lives of these three women—their
friends, family and the community at large.
Gabby, Hayley and Nicole are each experiencing
challenging changes to their lives. At the outset these
challenges are kind of beating them down as they choose
to deal with these issues in ways that don't necessarily
lead to happiness.
Gabby is dealing with several challenges. Her step-
daughter's attitude keeps her at arm's length, all truly
natural when dealing with a teenager whose mother cast
off most of her care to the father and his new wife. Then
Gabby is getting ready for her twin daughters to start
kindergarten. Kind of bitter sweet. Gabby is looking
forward to getting back into the work force. But then it
looks as if life is going to intrude on finally finding
that time to pee in private.
Nicole is busy with her exercise studio and young son
Tyler. She is not looking to get involved with any
man, not after her diminished self-esteem following her
divorce. But there is a good looking, wonderful man who
has caught her eye. Can Nicole get over her
insecurities and learn to trust her own instincts and
dare we say heart?
And last but certainly not least is Hayley. Hayley is
fortunate in so many ways. Loving husband and devoted
friends and a very self-absorbed somewhat nasty sister.
You can't have it all. Herein lies the problem
for Hayley. There is really only one thing that will make
her happy and fulfilled, and that is to have a baby.
Hayley and her husband Rob keep hitting roadblocks in
having that much wanted child. Of course there are
options, but Hayley has blinders on. She sees the
way only to having that child is for her to give birth to
In life there are disappointments: some large and others
small. It's how to learn to maneuver around those
obstacles that ultimately determine your future.
THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is the second book of the Mischief
Bay series. It builds on to some of the storylines and
characters we met in the first book of this series.
THE FRIENDS WE KEEP will reintroduce you to some old
friends and introduce some lovely newcomers. Mischief Bay
is a great place to live and to raise a family. Serious
bits of humor abound in the names Susan Mallery anointed
the town shops and businesses. Again true to her style
balancing life's angst with joy.
After five years as a stay-at-home mom, Gabby Schaefer
can't wait to return to work. Oh, to use the bathroom in
peace! No twins clamoring at the door, no husband barging
in, no stepdaughter throwing a tantrum. But when her
plans are derailed by some shocking news and her
husband's crushing expectations, Gabby must fight for the
right to have a life of her own.
Getting pregnant is easy for Hayley Batchelor. Staying
pregnant is the hard part. Her husband is worried about
the expensive fertility treatments and frantic about the
threat to her health. But to Hayley, a woman who was born
to be a mom should risk everything to fulfill her destiny
—no matter how high the cost.
Nicole Lord is still shell-shocked by a divorce that
wasn't as painful as it should've been. Other than the
son they share, her ex-husband left barely a ripple in
her life. A great new guy tempts her to believe maybe the
second time's the charm…but how can she trust herself to
recognize true love?
As their bonds of friendship deepen against the beautiful
backdrop of Mischief Bay, Gabby, Hayley and Nicole will
rely on good food, good wine and especially each other to
navigate life's toughest changes.
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