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Our Review

‘Who do we have if we don’t have each other?’

The Friends We Keep by Jane Green is an epic story of life and a friendship cemented at University between three friends from different walks of life. We met Maggie, a sweet and naïve middle-class girl, Evvie an immigrant English-American former child actress and Topher an adorable American asexual lad. The friendship these three forge felt real and relatable. Each had their own story, hang-ups and dreams. The tone of their story is quite melancholy and overwhelmingly sad at times. The issues dealt with are real life but perhaps there were just too many to truly feel the ray of light threaded through them? Despite this, the story was compelling.

‘Until she started accepting herself exactly as she was, she would never be at peace.’

The timeline jumps from the 1980’s to 2019 ensuring the reader gets snapshots from the important moments of Maggie, Evvie and Topher’s lives and their friendship, told in each characters pov. Whilst this ensured a reader connection with all three, it also in a way impacted how deep that connection ran, as despite being a lengthy book it didn’t delve into specifics. We learnt of how, but not enough of the why, except perhaps in Topher’s case. His character is the one where the deepest connection was felt. All three characters had a story to tell which was entwined in this tree leafed clover of friendship.

“We all make mistakes…”

The angst level is extreme, the subjects covered heart-breaking and realistic. Tragedy, secrets and betrayals are rife, as a strong friendship is threatened by life, actions and personal emotions. The Friends We Keep goes full circle from University days till the characters are in their fifties. It shines a light on the fact that friends are the family you chose and that these bonds can be stronger than blood. The Friends We Keep is set in both the US and UK through the years which served as a character in its own right and we loved that aspect.

‘This wasn’t high school; you couldn’t claim someone who didn’t want you, nor could you get upset with a friend for being with someone…’

We’ve been avid readers of Jane Green for many years, her writing is flawless, her stories addictive and at times compelling. Whilst we found this story hard going at times due to an almost oppressive mood, we could not put it down. Our own reading mood was perhaps an impediment here, yet there was no way we could not see how it all ended for Maggie, Evvie and Topher and we’re so thankful we went the full distance with these flawed characters, whom we ended up falling in love with. This is a story of life and everything it can possibly throw at you. It’s a story of finding the people who make the dark days better when you feel as if you have nothing else, no one else. When loneliness’ creeps in and you need that understanding comfort. A story of friendship through the ages.

“You’re going to be better than okay. We’re all going to be better than okay. We’re all going to be great. This is our second act, and it’s time. And even if we end up not being great, at least we’ll all be together.”

Synopsis

The Friends We Keep is the heartwarming and unforgettable new novel from Jane Green, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sunshine Sisters and The Beach House. 

Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted—the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.

Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man.

Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause.

Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.

By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness…until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.

The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.

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