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The Friends We Keep

The Friends We Keep, March 2016
Mischief Bay #2
by Susan Mallery

MIRA
Featuring: Hayley Batchelor; Gabby Schaefer; Nicole Lord
ISBN: 0778318729
EAN: 9780778318729
Kindle: B0166ASGOE
Paperback / e-Book
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"This is what friendship is all about."

Fresh Fiction Review

The Friends We Keep
Susan Mallery

Reviewed by Sandra Wurman
Posted March 15, 2016

Contemporary

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 most 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 it. 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.

Learn more about The Friends We Keep

SUMMARY

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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