As with every Susan Mallery book I have been lucky enough to stumble upon, The Friendship List was better than an all-day all-you-can-eat and carryout trip to Willy Wonka’s. It was good fun with several cleverly written, witty, and highly entertaining storylines that held something for everyone. I adore and covet Susan Mallery’s writing style, she is a master storyteller and I quickly fall into her smoothly scrolling tales that seem to be populated with oddly endearing characters who are delightfully easy to know while realistically flawed and endeavoring for improvement. Her dialogues and observant narratives are crisp and lively yet comfortable and a pleasure to navigate. Of course, my favorite character in this tale was the all-wise and lovely Dagmar, a woman I am sure was crafted by the use of hidden cameras following me! While I didn’t have one thing in common with the main characters I enjoyed them anyway. Unity was a grieving young widow who was stagnant and unable to move on even after three years, and Ellen was a single mom of a teen who had not been on a date since becoming pregnant as a teen herself. Their friendship and sassy banter sparkled with delightful humor and were a welcome reprieve and absolute joy after a reading a slate of tense thrillers. I have decided I need a regular infusion of Susan Mallery in my life for good balance.
5 people found this review helpful
4.5 stars. The Friendship List by Susan Mallery is a warm and inviting novel of friendship, new beginnings and love. Thirty-four year old Ellen Fox and Unity Leandre are lifelong best friends who support each other in good times and bad. But sometimes that support can contribute to clinging to unhealthy habits and decisions. Ellen gets a wake-up call from an overhead discussion between her seventeen year old son Cooper and one of his friends. So, the women put their heads together and devise a series of challenges that will force them out of their regular routines. But will Ellen and Unity overcome the habits that are keeping them from living life to its fullest? Ellen is a single mom and teaches at the local high school. She and Cooper have a fantastic relationship but she is stunned and worried that her son believes she cannot live without him nearby. Ellen surprisingly jumps into checking the challenges off her list. But little does she realize how much one of those items on the list is going to change her life. Three years ago, Unity moved back to her home town following her husband Stuart’s death. She moved into her husband’s childhood home and she is surrounded by memories of him. Unity also begins working her way through the items on her list. However, she quickly discovers how reluctant she is to deal with some of the issues that are preventing her from moving forward. With a lot on the line for her, Unity must decide whether or not she will take the necessary steps that will allow her to make peace with her past. With wry humor and realistic issues, The Friendship List is an uplifting and entertaining novel. Ellen and Unity are vibrantly drawn characters who are charming yet occasionally frustrating. They find themselves in relationships with wonderful men but both women tend to self-sabotage their respective romances. Susan Mallery brings this charming novel to a heartfelt, happy conclusion. I highly recommend this beautifully written story to readers of contemporary fiction. I received a complimentary copy for review.
Ellen Fox is a thirty-four year old teacher who is also a single mom to seventeen year old Cooper. It's only been them their whole lives since his father didn't want anything to do with him. Ellen always thought she was doing a great job raising her son until she overhears him one day saying he can't go away to his dream college because he can't leave his mom because she needs him. This causes Ellen to rethink her whole life with her lifelong, best friend, Unity Leandre. Unity is a thirty-four year old widow who lost her husband, Stuart, three years ago in combat. Ellen and Unity both realize that they are not truly living life and each come up with a list stating all of the things they wanted to do by the end of summer. The one who does the most on their list wins a weekend at the fancy spa paid for by the other! Ellen is also good friends with Coach Keith Kinne, who coaches Coop in football. Keith is a divorced, single dad of seventeen year old Lissa. When Ellen and Coop go on a three week college visit bus tour with Keith, Lissa, and other high school students, sparks start to fly between Ellen and Keith. At first they are not sure if they want to cross that line, but once they do, Ellen realizes all that she has been missing out on. When Ellen confesses her list to Keith, he is determined to help her cross more items off of it. While Ellen is gone for three weeks, Unity meets Thaddeus Roake, great-nephew of one of her elderly clients. Unity is drawn to Thaddeus, but is also reluctant to move past grieving for Stuart. As Unity and Thaddeus spend more time together, Unity is starting to realize that she is also missing out on many things in her life. Just when it looks like she might move past Stuart, panic sets in and Unity withdraws from life. It will take a lot of soul searching for both Ellen and Unity to understand how they have been actually living their lives and make the changes necessary for them to both be truly happy but in the end, they will both find their happy ending. I really enjoyed this story. I liked all of the characters, especially the interaction between the teenagers. Some of the things that the adults talked to the teenagers about I was a little skeptical because I know most teenagers do not talk about those topics with most adults but it still made for fun entertainment. Overall this was a fun story about two women finding themselves again.