Readers who lose themselves in this wonderful book will be rewarded with the discovery of the value of true friendship.

FRIENDSHIP MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER

A novel about friendship.

Higgins creates a compelling story of three middle-aged women traveling through Europe and facing challenges and fears. When Monique’s husband was dying of cancer four years earlier, he created a “bucket list,” not for the two of them to check off together, since he knew he did not have the time, but for her to complete alone. She puts it off, fearing it would somehow symbolize her moving on, and she is not ready to do that. What inspires her to finally take the trip is the news that her friend Becky has a degenerative eye disease and is going blind. Monique wants Becky to get a first and last glimpse of castles in Europe. When her only daughter, Keira, refuses to accompany her mother on this trip, Monique invites another friend, Judy, to go with them. Judy remembers backpacking around Europe as a free-spirited young woman before returning to the U.S., settling down with a loving husband and raising five children, who are about to leave her an empty nester. The bucket list of activities turns out to be the inspiration for these three to love and help one another face and deal with losses and fears.

Readers who lose themselves in this wonderful book will be rewarded with the discovery of the value of true friendship.

Pub Date: March 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4555-0031-4

Page Count: 352

Publisher: 5 Spot/Grand Central Publishing

Review Posted Online: Dec. 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2013

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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More about grief and tragedy than romance.

FRIENDS FOREVER

Five friends meet on their first day of kindergarten at the exclusive Atwood School and remain lifelong friends through tragedy and triumph.

When Gabby, Billy, Izzie, Andy and Sean meet in the toy kitchen of the kindergarten classroom on their first day of school, no one can know how strong the group’s friendship will remain. Despite their different personalities and interests, the five grow up together and become even closer as they come into their own talents and life paths. But tragedy will strike and strike again. Family troubles, abusive parents, drugs, alcohol, stress, grief and even random bad luck will put pressure on each of them individually and as a group. Known for her emotional romances, Steel makes a bit of a departure with this effort that follows a group of friends through young adulthood. But even as one tragedy after another befalls the friends, the impact of the events is blunted by a distant narrative style that lacks emotional intensity. 

More about grief and tragedy than romance.

Pub Date: July 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-385-34321-3

Page Count: 322

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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