Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Forever Friends by Sarah Mackenzie: A Look at Friendship and the Struggles and Triumphs of Life

Forever Friends by Sarah Mackenzie
Published: December 10th, 2019
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Women’s fiction
Tropes/themes: Friendship, divorce, motherhood, small town
Heat level: Mostly sweet with a touch of heat
# of pages: 320
My rating: 3.5 stars
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for honest consideration
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Buy now: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo 

Single mom Renee Rhodes seems like a woman who has it all together -- perfect house, perfect kid, perfect yard. But now that her daughter is away at college, she doesn't know what to do next. Without weekly PTA meetings and after-school chauffeur duty, Renee isn't sure who she is anymore. What she is sure of is that she probably shouldn't be crushing on her new boss, who couldn't possibly be interested in a middle-aged mom....

Sadie Landry is drowning in the stay-at-home mom life. With a toddler running wild, a husband who is growing more distant by the day, and a mother-in-law who has a comment on every-little-thing, Sadie is one mommy-and-me class away from losing it. When she learns that she is pregnant again, Sadie knows that something has to change for the sake of her family -- and her sanity.

After a birthday party bake-a-thon nearly turns into a three-alarm fire, Renee comes to her neighbor Sadie's rescue with comfort, competence, and a killer pie recipe. With their unlikely friendship and a newly hatched plan to open a bakery, can Sadie and Renee finally have the lives they've always dreamed of?

Forever Friends is a really lovely story. I don’t read much women’s fiction these days (I’m drawn more to romance), but this book was sweet, funny, entertaining, and had great more romance than I expected, which didn’t hurt!

I loved how this book featured two women with very different life experiences and at different points in their lives, and showed how despite the obvious differences, they were actually very similar. Sadie is a young stay-at-home mom to two-year-old Lincoln. She was a career woman who loved her job, but gave it up when she became a mom. Her husband works a lot, is out of town most of the time, and she’s completely overwhelmed. She feels like a bad mother because she can’t seem to get it together, no matter how hard she tries, plus she’s fairly isolated with no friends or family in Cranberry Cove and her husband always away. Renee is in her forties and suffering a case of empty nest syndrome. Her daughter, who's also her best friend, has gone away to college, and despite having a job she enjoys, she’s lonely and a bit aimless. Her husband left her over a decade ago and she hasn’t made much effort to date or move on in any way other than concentrating on being the best mom she can be. 

These characters were so easy to sympathize with. I’m about halfway between them agewise, and I’m not a mother, but I could understand and empathize with both of their struggles. At times I felt like a bit too much was being piled on, but at the same time, it was a realistic portrayal of real life, which I could appreciate. Life is messy and complicated, and this book captured that well. I really enjoyed all the different aspects of life we saw too: new motherhood, having a grown child, navigating marriage, finding it hard to move on after divorce, feeling isolated and lonely, sisterhood, friendship, finding love again when you think you never will, and having the courage to go after what you want. I also really enjoyed all the pie talk and ended up craving pie through most of this book!

Overall, Forever Friends was a heartfelt and heartwarming story. I loved Sadie and Renee, and their friendship is now one of my favourite bookish friendships. I’m excited to return to Cranberry Cove later this year and read more about Bree, Renee’s sister, and hopefully see more of Sadie and Renee.

Have you read Forever Friends? What are some of your favourite books that have strong elements of friendship?

*Please note I'm an Amazon affiliate, and some of the links in this review are affiliate links. All income made through affiliate sales goes directly back into maintaining Ramblings of a Daydreamer. Thank you for your support!  

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