Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Tour Review - - The Friendship List

The Friendship List
by Susan Mallery
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever…

Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content—until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.

So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?

The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy,” Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache and regrettable tattoos.

PJ's Thoughts:

Susan Mallery can sometimes be hit or miss for me but her newest novel, The Friendship List, is definitely a hit. The novel reads a lot like a coming-of-age story, even though best friends, Unity and Ellen, are 34 years old. You would think they would have a lot of life experience by this point but events in their teens had long-lasting effects on both women, leaving them ill-equipped to deal with the unexpected changes life sometimes throws at us. Mallery uses a deft hand to guide them through the peaks and potholes of one fateful summer when these two lifelong friends make the scary decision to step outside their comfort zones and tackle life head-on. 

I really loved these characters, not only Ellen and Unity, but the secondary characters surrounding them. They are fully-formed with the everyday hopes and challenges that accompany individuals in their unique situations. I appreciate that we see Ellen and her good friend, Keith not only as potential romantic partners but also as single parents (her with a teen son, and he with a teen daughter) with all the obstacles and awkwardness that entails. And young widow, Unity, is heartbreaking in her inability to move forward following her husband's death in combat. 

Mallery imbues each of these characters with depth and layers that make their humanity that much more powerful.  Their flaws are realistic, and their individual stories intriguing, pulling me into their lives and creating a bond between reader and character. From teens Cooper, Lissa, and Luka, to senior spitfire, Dagmar, to the men who may or may not be part of Ellen's and Unity's futures, happiness for each of them became important to me. Some parts of their stories are heart-wrenching, others are humorous, and still others are lessons necessary to move forward in life. All are required for these characters to open their hearts, accept joy, and live their lives to the fullest. 

While I would classify this book as women's fiction, with the growth arc of the two female main characters and their friendship at its core, it also carries a strong thread of romance. I was invested in the potential romantic relationships of both women and happy with the conclusion for each of the main characters. The epilogue (six years later) is a delicious cherry bonus on top of a wonderfully satisfying journey. I enthusiastically recommend adding The Friendship List to your summer reading list. 



SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women's lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations," and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She's passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.


Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @susanmallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Author website: https://www.susanmallery.com/



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  1. Great review I love her books can't wait for this one

  2. Love Susan's books and cant wait to read this

  3. I love her books! Looking forward to reading this one!

  4. You did a wonderful review and I thank you. The theme of the book hits me particularly hard. I think I have only read one of Ms Mallery's books. If I remember correctly I liked it. This story sounds terrific. Thanks again for the review.

    I hope everyone is taking care and staying safe.

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