Book Review: The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery


From Goodreads:

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?

The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery is the second book in the Mischief Bay Series. I laughed, cried, and felt surprised more times than I can count. The jaw-dropping moments made this book enjoyable page after page. I actually never read the first book in this series, The Girls of Mischief Bay, but that didn’t have any affect on enjoying the second installment. That’s one of the things I like most about Susan Mallery’s books, you can jump right into a series and not feel confused.

Gabby and Hayley are new characters in The Friends We Keep and Nicole is a returning character from the first book. There are minimal appearances from Pam and Shannon, who were also featured in the The Girls of Mischief Bay. The entire novel is centered around everyday adult problems intertwined with real life friendships. These women haven’t been friends since high school, they haven’t known each other their whole lives, they just ended up meeting each other when they needed one another most. The Friends We Keep is an ideal chick lit book. It is the perfect combination of marriage issues, friendship, and parenthood.

I related to Gabby the most throughout the entire novel. She had been a stay-at-home mom for five years and was just about to enter the workforce again when the novel began. I am at that moment in my life after staying home with Jimmie for almost two years. I’m ready to go back to work but in the back of my mind I think, “Will it be too much? Will I miss staying home with him?” Oh, the things we moms worry about all day, every day. She is the perfect fictional female protagonist: a mom stuck between two worlds.

Hayley’s character really pulled at my heart strings. She desperately wants to have a child because she needs to feel a connection to someone blood related. She was adopted as a baby and never able to find anyone from her biological family. Even though she was loved, she never felt like she belonged. Her sister, Morgan, is a huge pain in the butt that whines all the time about her three kids and husband. The irony of it all is so unfortunate.

Nicole’s story is kind of humorous. I do wish I read the first book in the series about how her marriage ended. The Friends We Keep begins with her divorced already, raising a six year old. Nicole starts to have feelings for a guy she thought she despised. It’s a sweet reality that proves that we can’t choose who we fall in love with, it just happens. All three women are very relatable. By the end of the novel, I felt like I wanted to be their friends.

Making new friends as an adult is hard. I was lucky enough to make some amazing friends while we were in Korea. Since returning to the “real world” aka America, I haven’t been so lucky with making new friends. The Friends We Keep gave me hope that extraordinary adult friends exist in the real world, I just have to find them.

The Friends We Keep will be available on February 23, 2016. Check out Susan Mallery’s website for more information about her books.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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