This third book in The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite Series is all about Rachel. With her three sisters Anna, Esther and Miriam, she lives in a small English town where their father is the vicar. It’s no spoiler to say that Rachel is dumped by her fiance, Dan, the night before her wedding and the life she thought she was about to embark upon is lost. She licks her wounds and regroups whilst her parents go on a mission to China and her sisters have their own issues. In an effort to move on, Rachel throws herself into her work as a teacher, gets a puppy and moves out of the family home. She rents an apartment above The Bell, the roughest pub in town, and meets the owner, Sam West. Sam is the opposite to her ex. He has a troubled background but is hardworking and fosters his nephew whom Rachel teaches in year 3.
This is a story about Rachel’s growth and learning what love really looks like and the risks that are worth taking. It’s a fun read with a great setting and likeable characters. (LF)
Rachel Campbell and Claire West were the best friends growing up in a small English village. But when an incident tears them apart, they go their separate ways and lose touch. Years later, Rachel finds herself taking care of her disabled mother, her sisters and her nephew, with her job as a house cleaner for the area's richest families the only thing keeping them afloat. Claire's return to Hartley-by-the-Sea is the last thing either of them expected. But between a broken engagement and family who thinks she has a drinking problem, Claire needed somewhere to escape to. When Claire's brother Andrew asks Rachel to keep an eye on his sister, neither woman is too pleased. But as everything around them seems to fall apart, the former friends realise that they truly do need each other.
Now and Then Friends is a touching story of how childhood friendships shape us and how those bonds are never truly broken. (LB)
Advertising executive Martha has been trying to get pregnant for years. After her fifth round of IVF fails, she and Rob decide that's it for them. When Martha's friend, Alex, falls pregnant at 35, she realises she's so not ready to have a baby. She has no man in her life, she works part-time as a barista and her tiny walk-up apartment is no place for children. Martha asks her whether she'd consider going ahead with the pregnancy so they could adopt the baby. Alex agrees but over time starts feeling conflicted about her decision.
I began this book thinking about how I've read so many books with a similar 'friend offers the ultimate gift' theme - but then a development occurs which takes this book to a whole new level. Grab the tissues because you'll need them as this highly emotionally story reaches its tragic outcome. The author handles the issues with great sensitivity and understanding.