Thursday, August 6, 2020

Book Review: "The Friendship List" by Susan Mallery

When best friends realize they’re both in a rut, what will it take to shake up their lives? Susan Mallery's The Friendship List has some ideas.

Ellen is happy. She likes her teaching job, she has a great relationship with her teenage son, Cooper, and she loves spending time with her best friend, Unity. She’s a little nervous about being able to afford Cooper’s college tuition on her salary, but they’ll figure it out. Not bad for someone who got pregnant at 17, right?

Unity has a successful handyman business and she feels a part of Ellen and Cooper’s family. She mostly spends time at the retirement community where she works, and she's made many friends among the residents, even though she’s only in her 30s. Since her husband died three years ago, she doesn’t feel comfortable moving on.

When Ellen overhears Cooper saying he can’t go away to college because she’d be lost without him, and Unity gets some tough-love from friends, both realize they’ve let their lives stagnate—and they need to fix that.

The two put together lists to challenge each other. Ellen vows to wear clothes that fit, to shake her life up a bit, and to finally have sex with a man, something she hasn’t done since she was 17. Unity has some similar things on her list as well, including finding an age-appropriate man to date (since all of her male friends are beyond retirement age) and maybe even wearing some makeup.

While they start to pursue activities on the list, what they don’t realize is how much more complicated it is to really move beyond what you’re used to emotionally, and what to expect. How do you know when you’re ready to change? How much is enough, or too much? Are you changing for change's sake, or because you really want and need to?

This was a sweet, steamy, emotional book. The characters—particularly Unity—were more complex than I expected so it took longer for them to progress, or want to, than I would have hoped. But still, this was a fun book, a quick read, and a good story about friendship.

I was pleased to be part of the blog tour for this one. Harlequin Books provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making that possible!!

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