In this insightful and compelling story from book club favorite Susan Mallery, three close friends test the boundaries of how much a woman can give before she has nothing left
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 destinyno 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.
About the Author
#1 NYT bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming, humorous novels about the relationships that define our livesfamily, friendship, romance. She's known for putting nuanced characters in emotional situations that surprise readers to laughter. Beloved by millions, her books have been translated into 28 languages.Susan lives in Washington with her husband, two cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her at SusanMallery.com.
Read an Excerpt
Was it wrong to want to pee alone? Gabriella Schaefer considered the question for maybe the four hundredth time in the past couple of months. In truth, she loved everything about her life. Her husband, her five-year-old twin daughters, her pets, her house. All of it was an amazing gift. She got that. She'd been blessed. But every now and then
okay, at least once a day, she desperately wanted to be able to go to the bathroom, like a normal person. To sit down and pee. Undisturbed.
Not with someone pushing open the door to complain that she was hungry or that Kenzie had taken her doll. Not with Andrew wandering in, a pair of socks in each hand, to ask her which one was the better choice. Not with a pink-toed cat paw stretching under the door or a basset hound moaning softly on the other side, begging to be let in. Alone. Oh, to be alone for those thirty or forty seconds. To actually be able to finish and flush and wash her hands by herself.
Gabby signaled as she got into the left lane, then slowed to wait for her turn. Fifty-seven days, she reminded herself. She had fifty-seven days until the twins started kindergarten and she went back to work. Sure, it was only going to be part-time, but still. It would be magical. And what she would never share with anyone was that she was most excited about being able to pee by herself.
"What's so funny?" Kenzie asked from the backseat. "Why are you smiling?"
"Are you telling a joke?" Kennedy asked. "Can I know?"
Because at their age, they were all about the questions, Gabby thought, keeping her gaze firmly on the road. When there was a break in the oncoming traffic, she turned into the parking lot and drove toward the end of the strip mall. There were still a couple of spots directly in front of Supper's in the Bag. She pulled into one and turned off her SUV's engine.
"I'm thinking funny thoughts," she told her girls. "I don't have any jokes."
Kennedy wrinkled her nose. "Okay."
Her voice was laced with disappointment. Both girls knew that what grown-ups thought was funny and what was really funny were usually two different things.
Gabby grabbed her handbaga small cross-body with an extra-long strapand got out of the car. She walked to the rear driver's-side door and opened it.
"Ready?" she asked.
Both girls nodded. They were already undoing the safety straps on their car seats.
Getting them out of their seats was never the problem. Getting them into them was another matter. Despite the fact that the seats were rated for kids up to sixty pounds, both girls wanted booster seats rather than their car seats. Car seats were for babies, she'd been informed several times already. The fact that car seats were safer didn't seem to be making an impact on the discussion.
She and Andrew were going to have to figure out a better strategy, she thought as she helped Kennedy jump to the ground. Kenzie followed. Gabby couldn't keep having the same fight every day. Plus the arguments were taking longer and she was having to build an extra five or ten minutes into her routine just to get to appointments on time.
The problem was both girls took after their father, she thought humorously. He was a highly skilled sales executive with the gift of verbal charm. Even at five, the twins were starting to try to talk themselves out of being in trouble.
"Is Tyler going to be here?" Kennedy asked.
Gabby brushed the girl's hair out of her eyes. Her blond bangs needed trimming. Again. "He is."
The girls cheered. Tyler, her friend Nicole's son, was six and soon to be in the first grade. In the eyes of two girls who were excited and a little nervous about kindergarten, Tyler was very much a man of the world. He knew things and they both adored him.
Gabby reached past the troublemaking car seats for the empty tote bags that came with her membership. The bright green bags were covered with the Supper's in the Bag logo. Every two weeks she joined a couple of her friends for a three-hour session at Supper's in the Bag and when she left, she would have six meals for her family. Meals that could be thrown in the oven or grilled on the barbecue. They were seasoned, portioned and ready to be prepared.
The premise of Supper's in the Bag was simple. Each session took about three hours. In the large, industrial kitchen-like space were eight stations, each dedicated to a different entrée. By following the clearly marked instructions, you portioned meat, added spices and vegetables into recyclable containers, basically doing whatever was needed to get the meal ready for cooking.
At first Gabby had felt guilty about signing up for the service. She was a stay-at-home mom. Surely she could get her act together enough to cook for her family. And yet, she thought, handing the empty bags to her daughters and then guiding them to the store. The days slipped away from her. Fortunately for her, the owner of Supper's in the Bag was the sister of a close friend. Telling herself that she was supporting a local business helped with the guilt.
Because Andrew was one of the good guys, he encouraged her to use the service. They went out to dinner at least once a week, so with the six meals she prepped here, that meant she only had to come up with six meals on her own.
The store was big and open, with the kitchen stations set up on the perimeter of the room. Industrial racks filled with pantry items stood in the center area. There was a cash register by the door and shelves for purses and the bags they all brought. The counters were stainless steel, as were the sinks.
To the left was a small seating area where clients could linger and talk, if they wanted. To the right was a small partitioned area that had been painted bright colors and set up with kid-sized tables and chairs. There were a few toys, lots of boxes of crayons and plenty of coloring books. Cecelia, the resident sitter, was already there. The petite, curly-haired college student grinned when she saw the twins.
"I was hoping you two would be by today," she said, waving at them. "We're going to have so much fun."
The twins dropped their tote bags and ran to greet the teen. There were hugs all around.
"Is Tyler coming?" Kenzie asked anxiously.
"He is. I'm sure he and his mom are running late." Cecelia guided the girls toward a table. "Let's start on a picture, while your mom gets going on her meals," she said.
Gabby used the distraction to head for the aprons by the check-in area. She picked up her sheet, telling her which stations she would be using, and in what order.
Supper's in the Bag wasn't a unique idea. There were several businesses like it around the country. While Gabby had never been a fan of Morgan, the woman who owned the place, she had to give her kudos for wringing every dollar out of her clients.
Children were welcome for the price of five dollars per child per hour. For Gabby, that meant an extra thirty bucks, but it beat having to find a sitter herself. There were wine selections offered with each entrée, available for an extra charge. Gabby guessed the mark-up was a restaurant quality 100 percent. After-prep wine and appetizers were available, again for a cost.
Morgan's sister, Gabby's friend Hayley, came in early several days a week to prep the food. She did much of the dicing and slicing, the opening of spice bottles and tomato cans. Gabby happened to know that Hayley worked in exchange for meals.
While Hayley said she was getting the better end of the deal, Gabby had her doubts. No matter the situation, Morgan always seemed to come out ahead. Gabby doubted the arrangement with Hayley was any different.
Several more women walked into the store. Each session could handle thirty-two customers, although the daytime sessions generally had more like twenty-five. Supper's in the Bag was also open Thursday through Sunday evenings, from four until eight-thirty. She spotted Hayley, Nicole and Nicole's son Tyler. Nicole dropped her son off with Cecelia and they all met by the hand-washing sink.
"Hi," Gabby said as she hugged her friends.
Nicole was tall, blonde and enviably willowy. Gabby wasn't sure how much of her fit body was genetic and how much of it came from the fact that she taught exercise classes for a living. Gabby kept promising herself she was going to sign up for one. She was still carrying around an extra twenty-five pounds from her pregnancy, but given that the twins were starting kindergarten, she needed to either do something about the extra weight or stop blaming her daughters.
Hayley was also thin but in a way that made Gabby worry. As usual, her friend was pale with dark circles under her eyes, but for once she seemed filled with energy.
"I'm excited about the meals tonight," Hayley said. "The veggies were extra fresh and I think the new enchilada recipe is going to be a winner."
"You seem happy," Gabby said as she put on a green Supper's in the Bag apron. "What's going on?"
Gabby wondered if that was true. Hayley's life was a physical and emotional roller coaster as she tried desperately to carry a pregnancy to term. Her last miscarriage had only been a few months before and she was taking a breakon doctor's orders.
Nicole pulled her long hair back into a ponytail. "You sure?" she asked. "You're very bouncy."
Hayley laughed. "I don't think that's a flattering description."
The three friends stopped at their first station. Directions were written on laminated cards. The ingredients for layering the casserole were stored in bowls and bags. Spices were clearly labeled.
Each of them took a foil pan. "I can't believe it's already the middle ofJuly," Nicole said as she layered corn tortillas on the bottom of the pan. "I was hoping to take Tyler away for a few days, but I don't see that happening. Between work and taking care of him, I'm constantly running."
"You own a business," Gabby said, ignoring yet another stab of guilt. She should own a business, she thought. Or be going back to work more than twenty hours a week. And cooking all her dinners from scratch. Honestly, she had no idea where her day went. The twins were in a summer program from eight until one every day. Makayla, her fifteen-year-old stepdaughter, was in a different camp that went from eight until four. Surely she could get her errands run, laundry finished, meals prepped and cooked, and do something to help the world. But it didn't seem to happen.
"There's always Disneyland," Hayley offered as she scooped chunks of chicken into her casserole. Rather than using a single nine-by-thirteen pan, Hayley used two eight-by-eights. Which doubled her number of meals. Of course it was just her and Rob.
"Tyler loves Disneyland," Nicole said. "It just seems like cheating."
"Be grateful it's close," Gabby told her.
The massive amusement park was only about thirty miles away from Mischief Bay. Less than an hour by car, if the traffic gods were on your side.
Gabby put her arm around Nicole. "It could be worse. There could be Brad the Dragon Land. Then you'd be totally screwed."
Nicole grinned. "I'd be tempted to set it on fire."
Hayley and Gabby laughed.
Brad the Dragon was a popular children's book series. Many young boys, Tyler included, loved B the D, as he was known by intimates. For reasons Gabby had never understood, Nicole disliked the character and had a serious loathing for the author. She claimed that she'd read an article once that said Jairus Steren-berg was only in it for the money, that he was evil and most likely responsible for any coming zombie apocalypse headed their way. Gabby was less sure about those claims. Of course there were plenty of parents who were desperately tired of all things Frozen or Minion.
"Was Hawaii amazing?" Nicole asked.
Gabby nodded as she remembered the ten days she, Andrew and the twins had spent in a condo on Maui last month. It had just been the four of them. Makayla had stayed with her mother.
"It was gorgeous! Beautiful weather and plenty to do. The girls had a fantastic time."
"How did Makayla do at her mom's while you were gone?" Hayley asked.
Gabby sighed. "Okay. Her mom doesn't love having her around more than a weekend at a time, so that makes things difficult. I don't get it. Makayla's fifteen. Sure, she can be a bit mouthy, but she's her kid. You're supposed to love your kid."
"She's back with you?" Nicole asked.
"Her mom dropped her off the first night we were home."
"Too bad you couldn't take her with you," Hayley said.
"Uh-huh," Gabby murmured neutrally, sprinkling cheese on her finished casserole before securing the plastic lid. Because while she probably should have wished Makayla could have gone with them, in truth she'd been grateful for the break from her stepdaughter.
Their first meal finished, they took their pans over to the wall of refrigerators and placed their entrées on their assigned shelves, then moved on to the next station. Hayley began pulling down spice bottles while Gabby and Nicole scanned the directions.
"Stew is interesting," Nicole said, her tone doubtful. "The Crock-Pot information is good."
"You don't sound convinced," Gabby murmured, her voice low.
"It's summer. I don't want to have to use the Crock-Pot in the summer." Nicole shook her head. "A classic first-world problem, right? But Tyler loves stew, which means a dinner that's easy and he'll eat. I'm in."
"Excellent attitude," Gabby told her, with a wink. "You get a gold star today."
"I live for gold stars."
Hayley pointed to the spice jars she'd lined up. "This is going to be delicious," she promised. "You'll love it. And the next station is all about grilling over fire."
"You are in a happy mood," Nicole said. "What's up? Your boss give you a raise?"
"No, and that's okay." Hayley opened one of the gallon plastic bags and began measuring the spices. "Gabby mentioned my mood, too. Am I usually crabby all the time?"
"Not at all," Gabby said quickly, not sure how to explain that for once, Hayley seemed happy and relaxed. If she hadn't known the other woman was on hiatus from trying to conceive, she would have wondered if her friend was expecting. Before she could figure out if she should ask anyway, Hayley picked up the bottle of red wine on the table, measured out a half cup and poured it into her bag.
Nope, Gabby told herself. Not pregnant. But there was something.
They worked through the rest of the stations, then loaded their meals into their totes. Gabby packed up the car before going back to get her girls.
"You ready?" she asked.
Kenzie and Kennedy looked at each other before nodding at her.
"They were great," Cecelia told her. "We were very good," Kenzie added. "I'm sure you were."
The twins were at that age where they were angelic with everyone but her. She'd read dozens of books on child rearing and from what the experts said, the need to be more independent battled with the need for Mom. So while everyone else got smiles and good behavior, she got push-back and tears.
She waited while her girls hugged Cecelia goodbye. They were growing fast, she thought with contentment. They were bright, inquisitive and loving. Given how right everything was in her life, she could deal with a little push-back now and then.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has everything, love,laughter,sadness, a little crazy. I read this book in one sitting just couldn't put it down. The only problem was it ends, I want more of the story.
This book is a continuation of the book the girls of mischief bay. Also had a character from the book all the single ladies. Good plot and kept moving not too wordy. Will look forward to the next one,but will borrow not buy. $10.00 is too much for a book when it is free from the library.
It is unusual for a book not to feature two lovers, but this story features three friends whose lives are intertwined. It is difficult not to become invested in each one's story as the reader begins to guess if certain plot lines will evolve. Great read!
Thus book was great! Ad a messy house for two days because i could not stop reading!
This is probably my favorite Mallery book so far! I know that those are strong words to say but honestly this book was just fantastic! In The Friends We Keep, Mallery gives us a glimpse into the lives of three women in very different stages of their lives. Nicole is recently divorced and suffers from not suffering enough from the divorce. Crazy right? She believes that she should feel worse for the divorce and now punishes herself for not feeling the way she believes she should. Hayley wants nothing more than to be a mother. A biological mother will only do for her. She longs for a deep connection that she believes can only be made through blood and not adoption. When her doctor and husband and her own body tell her that she will never be able to carry a baby to term she is determined to show everyone how wrong they are. At any expense. Gabby is a stay at home mom who loves her 5 year old twins and her 15 year old step daughter more than anything, but she can not wait for summer to be over so she can get back to working in a law firm just like she did before the twins were born. Just because Gabby has a plan doesn't mean that life will go that way. With an unexpected surprise what will turn her life and everyone else's in Gabby's family upside down, Gabby has to focus on keeping her family together and herself happy too. These women are all so different but also very much the same. Their problems may differ but they all need good friends to help them see the light at the end of a very long scary tunnel. Nicole, Hayley and Gabby lean on family but also lean on each other, the friends they keep, to help them through their hard times. This book was so amazingly written I could not put it down! The characters are real and gritty and I would want them no other way. It has been two days sense I finished this book and I can not stop thinking about it! The characters are always on my mind. I bonded with these women through this story. I know y'all will too! The Friends We Keep, is top five best book of the year, so far. Books like this one is the reason why I love to read. The characters may be flawed but you bond so deeply with them because of their flaws and you long for them to make the right choices even when you are unsure of what the right choice is. In true Mallery form you are pulling out your hair till the end wondering how each problem is going to be solved. Read this book! You will love it. You really don't have to have read any of Susan Mallery's other books as The Friends We Keep, stands alone nicely. Once you read this one you will hunt down all of her other books! I promise! Read it, love it, and tell everyone! Hugs and Laughter, and a little bit of tears, Lisa :) ***This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review and is scheduled to be released on Tuesday February 23, 2016**
This author never disappoints me as her books are always remarkable. This story line is full of self- doubt, heartache, regret, as well as joy and love. The characters have an undeniable bond of friendship that is rare. Together, Gabby, Hayley and Nicole journey through the ups and downs of life's obstacles in search of true life long happiness! Well worth reading! Loved it immensely! Gifted a copy for an honest review.
This novel was written with the charm, flair and realism I’ve come to love from this author. Mallery invites us into this pocket of LA with a fantastic small town feel for an emotionally enriching novel that I couldn’t put down. I love the way that she develops this intimate story, weaving the lives of her many characters together, creating a community feel that I thoroughly loved. I love the intimate look we get at the lives of the women that Mallery has created. I also appreciated the different personalities and lives that I got a look at. The Jairus/Nicole dynamic was a hoot. It was fun seeing their relationship from the ground floor. As understandable as Hayley’s pain was I found that she took it too far, especially at the beginning of the book, almost acting like a spoiled child. On the other hand, I was all on board with Gabby’s emotional and gut level reactions. I loved her to death. She was definitely my favourite character. Not only did I enjoy these women, but getting to know their entire families made the picture so much more complete. This is a comical and life altering read. I couldn’t put it down from cover to cover. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
I knew I’d like this book just by reading the title! I get that friends make or break a crisis. Nicole, Gabby and Haley were trying hard to handle their problems on their own. As they visit with each other, they get insight to the situation and get the support they need to move forward. I was able to relate to all the women in this story, but there are a lot of issues behind the scenes I could not have imagined. Thanks again for a great book.
What a great continuation of the Mischief Bay series. This time the book is centered on friends Gabby, Nicole and Hayley. They all have their own lives and problems in them but are there to support each other when they need someone other than family to prop them up. The book was an emotional read with miscarriages, divorce, family disconnects due to illness, disagreements, second family syndrome and busy lives. There were family and friends, laughter, tears, sorrow, loss, anger, fear, happiness, sadness, reminisces, memories both good and bad along with teenage love, angst, romance and love. The couples were mainly there for each other but struggles and life intruded every which way. The friends were there with kind words, hugs and just to listen and bounce ideas off of at times. The scenarios were true to life and not all had happy endings just as in real life. There were enough twists to the stories to keep my interest and in this book I didn't mind that individual stories were told as well as joint ones because there were strong ties to the stories and each of the characters. There were happily ever afters on all fronts but not how I expected the discourse, hurt and anger to be resolved. I didn't like Erik in the first book and I liked him less in this one. I liked that characters we met in book one were still involved in this story and the circle of family and friends just widened a little more to include everyone. There was nice closure and enough loose ends to leave me wanting more. I look forward to reading the next books in this series as well as any others penned by one of my favorite authors, Susan Mallery! This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.
Susan Mallery has knocked it out of the ballpark with another great novel about the three friends in Mischief Bay. Follow these girls through their trials and tribulations and get absorbed in their lives. You won't be able to put it down.
The Friends We Keep kept me reading until the very end. Gabby, Hayley, and Nicole are good friends with very different life problems. I felt like I knew each of them and got involved in their lives. The ending was very satisfying though a bit different than what I expected.
Another good read! Susan writes books that entertain, but also make you think. This was one. The situations might not have been the happiest, but she shows going through the whole gamut of reactions; happiness, sadness, anger, and many more. The title is so fitting, as these women are definitely the friends that they keep.
I love reading Susan Mallery's books they are always read that takes your breath away, makes you cry, jump for joy as well as takes you on a roller coaster ride of other emotions. Pick any of her books they will all take you away to a place you want to live.
While the setting of Mischief Bay is quite different than Fool’s Gold, this book has lovable characters with very human flaws that endeared them to me as the reader. Susan Mallery always gives me a good story and lets me escape to a different reality for a while.
I am a huge fan of Susan Mallery. She does not disappoint with her new Mischief Bay Novel. Susan has a way of telling a story that totally captivates you. You feel a part of the characters’ lives. I love the way she highlights the friendship and support between the women. This book is the second of the series (The Girls of Mischief Bay- Book 1). You don’t need to read the first one to enjoy and understand what is going on in this book but I say pick it up anyway and enjoy. I would recommend this book to any of my friends
THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is book 2, the latest offering in Susan Mallery's new Mischief Bay series. A few of the characters are familiar and some are new. We know Nicole from book 1, The Girls of Mischief Bay. Her husband had received a million dollars for his screenplay and left Nicole at the end of the last book. Now, she's still working at her Pilates studio, Mischief in Motion, and raising her son, in spite of his obsession with Brad the Dragon, a book character and merchandising behemoth. She's not expecting to meet Brad's creator and even less prepared to actually kind of like the guy. Hayley was a secondary character, but she moves to the forefront with this book. She's been trying to get pregnant but her body refuses to cooperate. Now, her husband and her doctor are telling her the one thing she refuses to believe, the one thing she can't believe. Gabby is looking forward to going back to work so she can use the bathroom without interruptions. She's been at home with her five-year-old twins teenage step-daughter and now that the twins are starting kindergarten, Gabby's ready to do more than wipe runny noses, bake cookies, and sound the warning gong about how fast fifteen-year-old Makayla is growing up. But things never turn out the way we expect, do they? THE FRIENDS WE KEEP is a keeper. Charming, with great characters who I feel are friends already. Friends I intend to keep a long while. ----------- I received a free copy of this book in return for an honest review.
I loved Susan Mallery’s first Mischief Bay novel, The Girls of Mischief Bay, and I like The Friends We Keep just as much. It isn’t necessary to read the first novel to follow the action in the second, but you’ll want to read it anyway! The Friends We Keep follows three friends who support each other as they face very different problems. Gabby tries to balance work and family. Hayley desperately wants to carry a baby to full-term. Nicole is afraid to fall in love again after a divorce. Sometimes in a book with separate storylines, I skip ahead and follow my favorite, but this book compelled me to keep reading-and don’t ask me to pick a favorite character. Although I didn’t always agree with the characters’ choices, I felt like I understood why they made them. I especially recommend this novel to women’s fiction fans. I received a promotional copy in exchange for an honest review.
Another great read by Susan Mallery. If you enjoy women's fiction with a touch of romance and everyday trials, this book is for you. For me, the art of a great author or storyteller is when the book is finished I feel I have personally met the characters and they have become good friends. Susan Mallery's books do that for me. This is excellent women's fiction plus I was able to revisit old friends and made two new ones and be with them during their trials and tribulations. We get to revisit Nicole and her son, Tyler, and learn of Nicole's aversion to all things B the D. Boy, how many have been there, done that, and have the t-shirt?! But I liked how Nicole and B the D's creator found their common ground, so to say, much to Tyler's delight. The new friends are Hayley and Gabby. We met Hayley before, but this time we get to know her better. At the beginning of the book, I really didn't like Hayley very much, but as the story evolved, I still thought she was very selfish, but I could see where all the treatments she was undergoing could compound and confuse her thinking process. I liked Rob showing "tough" love and still be her loving husband and main support. Then we have Gabby, who is wife number two. Oh, I saw so many similarities in her story, only her husband stood by her side and listened to what she had to say, sometimes after the fact. They became a family unit with "family" being their main focus. Oh, I was glad bases were touched with Pam and Shannon and their lives are going strong. Come! Visit Mischief Bay and make some new friends today! This is how a great storyteller brings you into the book. Enjoy!
Reading this book is like visiting old friends and getting caught up on whats been happening in their lives. I enjoyed the visit and can't wait to go back again. These are the kind of women I want in my life.
Susan Mallery writes another winner, I really do love all of Susan’s books and this one shoots right to the top. Susan’s newest in her Mischief Bay series : “THE FRIENDS YOU KEEP” falls right in line after “The Girls of Mischief Bay”. A compilation of the lives of three women, close friends and their relationships to each other and others around them. Each has her own story, however, the way Ms. Mallery intertwines those individual stories makes the book flows seamlessly. Surprises and life choices run throughout the book, making you just ‘know’ something is going to happen, and it does ... just might not be what you had in mind, on the other hand … maybe it is. This series is a completely different style of book from her others, this is not always light-hearted and fun. Reflections on life, with all of its foibles and troubles, elations and joys, clarity and ambiguity. Welcome to Mischief Bay - - If you haven’t already - Read The Girls of Mischief Bay, then read The Friends We Keep. You will wait anxiously for the next one to come along.
We are back in Mischief Bay with Hayley Batchelor and Nicole Lord from the last book. This time, Gabby Schaefer joins them. As you may recall, Hayley lives up the street from Pam, who had lost her husband. Her little dog Lulu is fine, and Pam's daughter moved into her home. Unfortunately, Hayley never seems to carry full term even though Rob and she continue to hope. They have tried everything, depleted their finances, and now are at the end of their ropes. At this point without alternatives, Hayley needs to have a hysterectomy or run the risk of dying. With this bad news, will Hayley finally stop or will her want of a baby drive her to do something dangerous to her health and ruin her marriage? A divorced Nicole is enjoying her life with her son, Tyler, and she has her Pilates business. However, Tyler’s dad lacks a connection with his son, calling and cancelling so much that Tyler never talks about his dad and doesn't seem to miss him at all, which worries Nicole. When her son has the chance to meet his favorite author, Nicole finds herself being asked out by the new man. Being scared that another man will once again disappoint her and her son, Nicole is reluctant, but Jairus is persistent. Can Nicole let go of the wall she has built up around her heart and let Jairus in or is she destined to live alone with her son and deprive him as well as herself of a good man and a good life? Gabby is a stay at home mom of three, young twins of her own and step-mother to a 15 year old from her husband’s previous marriage. She feels lucky with her life, a good husband with who she feels they work as a team, and is lucky to get to be a homemaker. Problems arise when, after finding her step-daughter in a compromising position, her husband doesn’t support her concerned parenting and ignores what Gabby sees as a potential problem. A month later, news comes to light in the family that rocks it to its core. Will Gabby and Andrew stick this out together or will it tear them apart? With these three friends, when the going is great, they are stuck like glue. When the going gets tough, they stand together. Their lives are entwined through the heartache to the heartwarming moments. They can count on each other being there for everything from thick to thin. May we all be so lucky in our own lives. I enjoyed this book as much as the first one. I did get angry at Hayley and Nicole both with some of their drama and relentless hold on not moving forward with their lives, but as the story played out that anger turned to understanding, I have never been in their shoes so I truly don't know how their problems would make someone act. I am thankful they worked through them. Gabby was superwoman and I loved her and her family. Rob was a bit of a cad in some areas but he is a man after all. This book is full of what family and friends can go through in life and how they deal or don't deal with all the ups and downs. Susan Mallery once again portrays with class, humor and heart. Just when I think she has written her best work, she surprises me with an even more heartwarming tale. I recommend this book to everyone, I think you will all see a piece of yourself or someone you know in there somewhere which really can make us relate to these wonderful women.
Wow! Really enjoyed the new entry in the Mischief Bay series. Well developed characters and dialogue, as always. Thoughtful and provoking lives. From infertility and divorce to unexpected pregnancy and the joys of parenting it was a riveting read. Just as in the first book I found myself absorbed by the story and was sad when it ended. Susan Mallery writes real life extremely well. I enjoyed every page.
Keep Friends with Gabby, Haley and Nicole and you'll be glad you did! I love the Susan Mallery's Fools Gold series for its funny and entertaining romances. I love the Mischief Bay series for the real life ups and downs and how friends grow closer helping each other through it all. The three friends in "The Friends We Keep", Gabby, Haley and Nicole help each other navigate through some tough times in each of their lives. Susan Mallery writes beautifully and you laugh and cry with these women as they successfully meet life's challenges head on. I found the ending for each of the characters to be satisfying and uplifting.
The Friends We Keep is the second book in the Mischief Bay series, and continues Nicole's journey from book 1. I think everything is explained pretty well in this book, so you can jump right in even if you haven't read The Girls of Mischief Bay. This time around, I feel the theme connecting the friends within the story is 'motherhood' and all that encompasses on many levels. The characters were well fleshed-out, and I felt a real connection with each one of the women. Gabby's frustration was palpable; I may have even growled out loud for her a time or two (lol). Nicole is finally getting her well deserved romance, with an ironic twist. Hayley is the character with the toughest storyline, trying to overcome infertility. I really enjoyed getting to know these gals, and I can't wait to see what will happen next in Mischief Bay. *I received this book from the author for my honest opinion.
The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery is the second installment of the Mischief Bay series. This is an emotional roller coaster. While Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold novels are great light reads that I can read in a single night, the novels of Mischief Bay take longer because they are a heavier read. In this novel we follow: Nichole Lord, a divorced single mother, who can understand why her ex-husband doesn't want anything to do with her, but can't comprehend what the man is thinking when he doesn't want to spend any time with their son. Hayley Batchelor has little trouble getting pregnant, what she struggles with is the staying pregnant. Both her husband and her doctor want her to get a hysterectomy to save her life, what they don't understand is that there is no life without her own child. Gabby Schaefer has been a stay at home mom for her five year old twins and is more than ready to get back to work, at least part time. But, her plans are put in jeopardy by a shocking family announcement. You will be drawn into Mischief Bay. I received this copy of The Friends We Keep by Susan Mallery from the author in exchange for an honest review.