The Story of Our Lives
Four friends. Twenty years. One powerful secret. Everyone remembers where they were on 31st August 1997, the day Princess Diana died. Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa certainly do -– a beautiful cottage in Southwold, at the start of an annual tradition to have a weekend away together.Every year since, the four best friends have come back together. But over time the changes in their lives have led them down very different paths. And it’s when those paths collide that the secrets they’ve been keeping come tumbling out.One Day meets Big Little Lies in this unputdownable read about four friends, one long-buried secret and the histories we all share.

The Story of Our Lives Details

TitleThe Story of Our Lives
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseFeb 8th, 2018
PublisherHQ
Rating
GenreFiction, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary

The Story of Our Lives Review

  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    The Story of Our Lives is a raw, emotional, and unputdownable book! I have not had the pleasure of reading anything by Helen Warner but this book was truly such a gem. Emily, Amy, Melissa, and Sophie have been best friends since they were little girls. They have been there for one another through thick and thin. Like the dirtiest of the gunk... lol. I was truly inspired by the friendship that these women have and it made me miss having friends like this of my own!What I truly enjoyed most about The Story of Our Lives is a raw, emotional, and unputdownable book! I have not had the pleasure of reading anything by Helen Warner but this book was truly such a gem. Emily, Amy, Melissa, and Sophie have been best friends since they were little girls. They have been there for one another through thick and thin. Like the dirtiest of the gunk... lol. I was truly inspired by the friendship that these women have and it made me miss having friends like this of my own!What I truly enjoyed most about this book is how well the author develops her characters. Each of the women are presented with different struggles pertaining to their lives and how this may affect their friendship. Melissa, Emily, Sophie, and Amy each have their own demons and skeletons in their closet (like everyone does)... but there is one secret that may threaten the 20 year friendship and tear them apart..... Helen does an amazing job of showing how life can take a turn at any moment and there are SOOO many ups and downs to life. Helen had me all over with this emotional roller coaster (but in a good way). I was laughing, angry, happy, and even a little teary eyed at the end. I devoured this book in two days. Definitely one that you need to put on your radar :). I was truly inspired by this book. Loved it! 4.5 beautiful inspiring stars! Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin for an advanced arc. Expected publication date is 2/13/2018.
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  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quotes:Anton was her tutor and over the course of her first year, Emily had grown increasingly attracted to him. In his late thirties, he was tall, tanned, blond and devastatingly charming. He was also devastatingly married with two young children.Melissa’s love life was non-existent. Well, that wasn’t strictly true. Melissa’s sex life was excellent. It was just that there wasn’t much love involved in any of her liaisons…She had so much to apologize for that if she started now, until th Favorite Quotes:Anton was her tutor and over the course of her first year, Emily had grown increasingly attracted to him. In his late thirties, he was tall, tanned, blond and devastatingly charming. He was also devastatingly married with two young children.Melissa’s love life was non-existent. Well, that wasn’t strictly true. Melissa’s sex life was excellent. It was just that there wasn’t much love involved in any of her liaisons…She had so much to apologize for that if she started now, until the end of her life it wouldn’t be enough.Can’t you hunt for Mr Right while still enjoying the company of Mr Wrong?My Review:I was immediately captivated by the vividly descriptive writing style and fell headlong into the engaging and original story of four uniquely compelling women who had met and bonded as teens while living in close quarters during their first year of college. The four had retained a special and supportive bond for over twenty years while enduring harrowing events, spats, betrayals, addictions, illnesses, abuse, pregnancies, child rearing, love affairs, professional gains, and tragic loss. They thought they knew each other inside out although each had at least one long-held secret, indiscretion, or shameful transgression that remained unknown to the others. While their tale would have been fodder for Jerry Springer or a daytime soap if handled differently, Ms. Warner kept it classy and infinitely intriguing. The storylines were original, relevant, frightfully realistic, and unpredictable while the writing was keenly honed, hypnotically engrossing, and hit all the feels. I adored most of the characters with my favorite being the steadfast and gallant Steve, although the four women were devastatingly infuriating as well as fascinating, insightful, stubborn, and exasperating. At times they were disappointingly weak and repellent then, thankfully later they were allowed to be surprisingly strong. Despite their occasional periods of envy and annoyances, they remained unquestionably loyal to each other through it all. At various times I had been disappointed with each to the point of gnashing my teeth, although I was more than pleased with their personal development and emotional maturity by the deeply satisfying conclusion. And as a bonus – I learned a new phrase to add to my ever expanding Brit Word list, “knees up,” which Mr. Google told me was a noun meaning a lively party. Which is something we should have at every opportunity.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I’m sure many of us have read stories about a group of female friends before, but the way this was structured was unique and set it apart from other books based on friendship. Four friends, Sophie, Melissa, Amy and Emily meet up every year for a girls weekend and these trips mean the world to them. This is divided into sections by year and follows the ladies on their weekends away. At the beginning of each part there is a political or pop culture reference relevant to whatever year it is and I l I’m sure many of us have read stories about a group of female friends before, but the way this was structured was unique and set it apart from other books based on friendship. Four friends, Sophie, Melissa, Amy and Emily meet up every year for a girls weekend and these trips mean the world to them. This is divided into sections by year and follows the ladies on their weekends away. At the beginning of each part there is a political or pop culture reference relevant to whatever year it is and I loved this mini revisit to the past that stirred up my own memories of memorable events.The characterization is fantastic and with four main characters there is someone for everyone to like or relate to. I enjoyed all of them, they all had interesting and sometimes sad stories, but they were very realistic, full of ups and downs, highs and lows and very true to real life. Nothing seemed contrived or convenient, there were painful moments and also happy ones, it truly was the story of these women’s lives, the good, the bad and the ugly.The Story of Our Lives in three words: Emotional, Heartfelt and Stirring.
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  • Sherri Thacker
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this book about 4 best friends who meet every year for a girls weekend away. It’s a story about friendship, love, loss, betrayal, and forgiveness.
  • Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 starsIt started out slow and bit all over the place; after I invested a bit of time into it I became more engaged in the story. Boy was there loads of drama. And, the drama kept on coming even when you wanted to cover your eyes and will it to stop. (Why Emily, why?!) The story follows four college friends that get together once a year- from college graduation throughout their 30's - for a best friends weekend. Marriages, divorces, affairs, children, bombshells, you name it: its all covered h 2.5 starsIt started out slow and bit all over the place; after I invested a bit of time into it I became more engaged in the story. Boy was there loads of drama. And, the drama kept on coming even when you wanted to cover your eyes and will it to stop. (Why Emily, why?!) The story follows four college friends that get together once a year- from college graduation throughout their 30's - for a best friends weekend. Marriages, divorces, affairs, children, bombshells, you name it: its all covered here.This may be a fun read for a book club. There will probably be lovers and haters of this book abound and at least make for some good discussions: there are definitely some hate-able characters that are straight yucky.I found myself liking and than disliking this book at various points. For what its worth, I did keep reading as I wanted to see how everything would all pan out. For fans of soap opera story lines this is for you. I just got a bit too frustrated with it all; wasn't my jam.Format note: Throughout the chapters the story would shift to past/present and between characters, it was a bit confusing (I did have the arc copy and this may translate better in the print version). I also didn't understand the event quotes before each year: seemed a bit irrelevant as they didn't really add to the narrative (maybe I just didn't get it).If you read this book I would love to hear what you thought.
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  • Shalini
    January 1, 1970
    A story of 4 friends, a story of friendship and family, a story haunted by secrets, a story of betrayal, a story of forgiveness, a story of reaffirmation of deep bondsThis book follows the lives of 4 women, best friends since college, the hills and valleys of their lives, their happiness and sadness, their actions and reactions. Cutting the core are the secrets which seems to abound in every chapter. Sophia, Melissa, Emily and Amy meet up for girls' weekend every year and we as readers get to kn A story of 4 friends, a story of friendship and family, a story haunted by secrets, a story of betrayal, a story of forgiveness, a story of reaffirmation of deep bondsThis book follows the lives of 4 women, best friends since college, the hills and valleys of their lives, their happiness and sadness, their actions and reactions. Cutting the core are the secrets which seems to abound in every chapter. Sophia, Melissa, Emily and Amy meet up for girls' weekend every year and we as readers get to know their family and their lives, both hidden and evident ones.Helen Warner's debut brought a strange excitement and eagerness in me to read the story of these women. Somewhere their history seemed to resonate deep in my history too. Helen, in her book, at the beginning of every chapter, starts with an incident of World News, then goes on to describe the lives of these women. That was a pleasant way of writing and it made me think as to what I was doing in that particular year. So the book also allowed me to reminiscent about my life. Somehow the story of our lives also played a part in thinking about the story of my lifeInspite of each chapter being titled to a year, it never felt as if we have missed out on anything in their lives. There is a smooth flow of narration. I loved the way the author has developed all the 4 women, they are distinctive, their voices strong at times, vulnerable at times, their strengths binding them. But it is their flaws which makes them lovable and so real. The group dynamics ebb and flow like the waves on the beach, and that is mesmerising.The author, Helen Warner, also deals with a sensitive topic of domestic violence and mental abuse. I wanted to tell the character to leave her partner, stand up for herself. But I realized that sometimes it is not a simple situation. The equation of life is complex and has too many variables in it. Helen has given us a lot to think about.A book on friendship, which may follow the same clichéd feel, still had the power to entertain me, keep me happy, make me think, and allow me to immerse into the lives of these women. So I would say — A job well done, as this is what a book is supposed to do.
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  • Sandie Bishop
    January 1, 1970
    This is an immensely readable book. Well drawn characters as diverse as you are going to get within a friendship group who meet at university, stay close friends yet go their own paths in life.Sophie: the sensible, grown up one who meets her Mr Right, Steve, at uni, gets a good job, buys a house and has a baby who she struggles to bond with. Always the voice of reason among the group.Melissa, the party girl who gets an exciting job in the music industry after uni and is forever getting herself i This is an immensely readable book. Well drawn characters as diverse as you are going to get within a friendship group who meet at university, stay close friends yet go their own paths in life.Sophie: the sensible, grown up one who meets her Mr Right, Steve, at uni, gets a good job, buys a house and has a baby who she struggles to bond with. Always the voice of reason among the group.Melissa, the party girl who gets an exciting job in the music industry after uni and is forever getting herself into mischief and never settles down.Amy: the bubbly, sparkly girl who finds an amazing, rich and charming partner in Nick. They get married and have an enviable life with a big house and all the trappings of a successful life together.Emily: the quiet, studious, enigmatic one of the group. She finds herself pregnant shortly after uni and decides to set herself up as a single mum back at home with her parents with baby Jack. Nobody knows who his dad is although everyone has their suspicions.I love the way the author has used events from the media to mark the passage of time throughout this book. You can really measure the scale of the time passing between the events yet they don't have any other significance within the story. This is an excellent story of how each of the girl's lives pans out as an individual yet the bonds of true friendship tie them strongly together. They laugh together, argue amongst themselves even to the point of falling out quite spectacularly at more than one point yet there is something there that, when times get really tough for any one of them, the group pulls together to support each other.There are some scenarios within the book which I doubted whether their friendship would survive and maybe in the real world they possibly wouldn't be able to get past but in true chick lit style girl power wins out in the end.This is a fun read, maybe not 100% believable but well worth getting lost within its pages. I would definitely recommend it if you fancy a book where you don't need to work too hard on the plot - although there are a couple of surprises along the way just to keep you guessing.
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  • Rachel Gilbey
    January 1, 1970
    Incredibly impressive novel, where we follow the lives of four best friends over a 10 year period of their lives. They tend to meet up for a weekend away every year, so the book is split naturally into sections, with a news headline from the time at the start of the next yearly meet up. From these weekends away we get to see what the girls are up to current, and then also get told as they tell each other, the highlights or lowlights of the past year. There are always big conversations happening Incredibly impressive novel, where we follow the lives of four best friends over a 10 year period of their lives. They tend to meet up for a weekend away every year, so the book is split naturally into sections, with a news headline from the time at the start of the next yearly meet up. From these weekends away we get to see what the girls are up to current, and then also get told as they tell each other, the highlights or lowlights of the past year. There are always big conversations happening at these weekends and these friends live far from charmed lives. They all are hiding various things about themselves from each other, some more shocking than the others, some more emotional than others. As the book progresses you see these ladies mature from their mid twenties to mid thirties and really get to know all of them very well. They all have distinct personalities, and the book does deal with a variety of deep issues in a sensitive manner. The Story Of Our Lives will feature sections that anyone can relate to, as if you haven't experienced what they are doing, the odds are you know someone that is going through something similar. I couldn't get enough of this book, and really was gutted that I reached the last pages. Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for this copy that I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating 2.5This was a hard one for me to read because if I ever write a novel this is what I would write - A story of me and my friends being hilarious, dealing with issues, helping each other, having amazing times. But this was just too much on the extreme end of things and the "Big Mystery" was completely obvious by page 11 (I actually counted!). The four women face a variety of problems ranging from post-pardem depression, extra-marital affairs, alcoholism and drug addiction, domestic a Actual rating 2.5This was a hard one for me to read because if I ever write a novel this is what I would write - A story of me and my friends being hilarious, dealing with issues, helping each other, having amazing times. But this was just too much on the extreme end of things and the "Big Mystery" was completely obvious by page 11 (I actually counted!). The four women face a variety of problems ranging from post-pardem depression, extra-marital affairs, alcoholism and drug addiction, domestic abuse but somehow everything is just too hunk-dory and everything always ends up better than okay - partially due to the fact that all parties land amazing jobs and make loads of cash and are all so so so beautiful....Not very believable… I just couldn’t relate to any of the women – not fully. They are too textbook.I also did not enjoy the way the book is written. I think the author was going for a One Day Nicolas Sparks kind of thing - Each section is dated a year and begins at the annual "Girl's Away Weekend" but then flashbacks from different perspectives everything that happened the year before. What's the point of jumping a year just to talk about the last year? - Sorry venting... It's just not great – for me.
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  • Wit & Wonder Books
    January 1, 1970
    ***ARC received in exchanged for an honest review***Emotional. Raw. A story of heartbreak, love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, friendship and family. Real life is what you get in the newest release by Helen Warner, The Story of Our Lives. There is a little bit of everything that in some small way makes you feel connected to these women. From the very beginning you are sucked in and time flies. Before you know it, you cannot turn anymore pages because the story is over, you are left with a massive ***ARC received in exchanged for an honest review***Emotional. Raw. A story of heartbreak, love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, friendship and family. Real life is what you get in the newest release by Helen Warner, The Story of Our Lives. There is a little bit of everything that in some small way makes you feel connected to these women. From the very beginning you are sucked in and time flies. Before you know it, you cannot turn anymore pages because the story is over, you are left with a massive book hangover, feeling like you just lost your best friend. This story follows the lives of four friends that meet in college and continue to have that special bond as their lives move along. Sophia, Emily, Melissa and Amy have different lives yet once a year they meet up for a girls weekend to catch up, relax and just be with each other. But as the years move along, each have secrets that they struggle to reveal to each other. It is their friendship that allows them to face their fears and keep their lives on track. But one secret spans their entire friendship and can tear the foursome apart, shattering their trust. One of my favorite things about this book is the writing style. It is so well written and moves along so smoothly. You don't get just a few months or a year, you get years. Each chapter is another milestone of one of their lives or an event happening, or just another year going by, but the beauty about it is nothing is left out. All the questions you have are answered, the story is complete and flowing into the next phase of their lives just like our lives move along. The development of the characters is amazing, the chemistry that is portrayed is spot on. They all have their own attributes that work so well together. Its almost like Ms. Warner studied a group of friends and wrote their lives as a documentary. Amazing!!!! If your a fan of women's fiction and contemporary stories this is one you do not want to miss. 4 powerful stars.
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  • Jeanne
    January 1, 1970
    The description made me look forward to complicated, multidimensional, interesting characters but I was disappointed to feel nothing for these characters. There was a wall between this reader and any depth the author may have intended
  • Katy (Katyslibrary)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you so much TLC Book Tours and Graydon House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and for having me on this book tour.  Following four best friends over the course of many years, this book explores hard topics such as abuse, miscarriages, and betrayal, but even more importantly tells the story of love, friendship, and family.  I give this genuine story of friendship standing the test of time 4 out of 5 stars!At first I wasn't too sure about this book, it took Thank you so much TLC Book Tours and Graydon House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and for having me on this book tour.  Following four best friends over the course of many years, this book explores hard topics such as abuse, miscarriages, and betrayal, but even more importantly tells the story of love, friendship, and family.  I give this genuine story of friendship standing the test of time 4 out of 5 stars!At first I wasn't too sure about this book, it took me a little bit to get used to the format and the way she jumps around in time, but after a while I got the hang of it and really started to get invested in the characters.   Four friends, each very different with very different paths taken in life, I loved each of them.  Most of all though I loved Sophie.  She wasn't perfect and made some bad mistakes but she was so caring and genuine as a friend.  I would really like to have a friend like her.  Amy's story was heartbreaking, being a victim of abuse as well it was hard to read, but it felt very accurate to how these situations go for many people.  It was beautiful to watch Amy grow and how much her friends stood by her side and helped her.  Melissa was the wild one and I have known many people like her, I don't agree with anything she did and how her friends handled the situation was exactly what she needed.  Lastly, there was Emily's story line.  It wasn't necessarily the biggest or most focused story line in the book but it did play a huge part and I am still not sure what I would have done in her position.I will say that about 20 pages before the twist, which was only in the last 40 pages of the book, did I guess what was coming.  I kind of pride myself on guessing twists even though I don't like being able to guess them haha weird right?  Well, anyways even though I could it wasn't until basically getting to the reveal itself so I was still surprised and it was well done! CURVE BALL.  How do they come back from that?  All I can say is this is a true group of friends and I wish I could have these ladies in my life.For things I didn't like, as I said above the time line threw me off in this book.  Not only does the book go from year to year every few chapters, but within the chapters are flashbacks.  I found the flashbacks confusing because often times I wouldn't know they had started or when they had stopped and switched back to the present.  And once it had switched back to the present I had forgotten what year they were in because the year changed so often.  You just have to really pay attention, it doesn't take away from the overall story so much it's just distracting at times.  Also, because they do a vacation every year and the year changes so often I felt that the story was repetitive in the sense that I was often reading about them all greeting each other and admiring their new vacation spot and what not.  Overall, by the end I got used to the style and totally sucked into the lives of these characters.  I really liked how genuine this entire story was, it was real, these things happen in peoples lives and friendship is one of the most important parts of life that we have to help us get through the best and worst times.  Give this a read if you're a fan of emotional contemporary stories and amazing friendships!
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  • Lesa
    January 1, 1970
    Women's friendships can last through time and problems, through immaturity and growth. Four women struggle with their friendship for twenty years in Helen Warner's intense novel, The Story of Our Lives.Sophie, Amy, Emily and Melissa were best friends at university in London. Although Sophie moves out after one year to room with Steve, the four remain close. In 1997, at twenty-five, they reunite. Sophie's still with Steve, although she's not sure about their relationship. Amy announces she's foun Women's friendships can last through time and problems, through immaturity and growth. Four women struggle with their friendship for twenty years in Helen Warner's intense novel, The Story of Our Lives.Sophie, Amy, Emily and Melissa were best friends at university in London. Although Sophie moves out after one year to room with Steve, the four remain close. In 1997, at twenty-five, they reunite. Sophie's still with Steve, although she's not sure about their relationship. Amy announces she's found the man of her dreams, and they're getting married. Emily is now a single mother, raising Jack on her own. Melissa, hopping from bed to bed, and working in the music industry, drinks a little too much.Year after year, the four women reunite. They see each other through marriages, births, miscarriages, failed romances, careers, and the tragic end to one marriage. They celebrate the growth of their children. Sophie flourishes when she moves from TV journalist to producer, and then teams up with a rising TV star. They deal with realistic problems such as addiction and postpartum depression. But, even in their forties, there's one secret that could tear the group apart. Who is Jack's father?Warner's novel is a well-developed, character-driven novel. All four women are easily identifiable, which is rare in women's fiction that features a cast of four. They are realistic, flawed women struggling to live with the problems of relationships, marriage, and careers. It's a story that covers twenty years, from their immaturity as twenty-five-year-olds to women who bear the scars of maturity.Fans of novels featuring strong women and women's relationships might want to try Helen Warner's The Story of Our Lives
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  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    2.5 STARS - The Story of Our Lives is a look at the friendships of four women. Readers get an inside look at their ups and downs when they meet up for their yearly girls' weekends over a period of twenty years.This was an easy read that was more melodramatic than I had anticipated. The book deals with a lot of issues but maintains a light, soap opera feel to it as the characters are continually pummelled with heartbreak, illness, some happy times and a wallop of good old betrayal thrown in for g 2.5 STARS - The Story of Our Lives is a look at the friendships of four women. Readers get an inside look at their ups and downs when they meet up for their yearly girls' weekends over a period of twenty years.This was an easy read that was more melodramatic than I had anticipated. The book deals with a lot of issues but maintains a light, soap opera feel to it as the characters are continually pummelled with heartbreak, illness, some happy times and a wallop of good old betrayal thrown in for good measure. This was a non-stop rollercoaster ride of maladies, secrets and lies. Unfortunately, I found the dialogue weak, the twists predictable and the issues were resolved much too easily to be believable with everyone going back to their beautiful lives filled with friends, love and high paying, fancy jobs. Ain't life grand! At the heart of this book is the connection between Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa and I appreciate a book that focuses on the bond between women. If you're looking for an easy read with a Days of Our Lives feel, lots of issues and features strong female relationships while still maintaining that light feel, then this is the book for you. Disclaimer: This ARC was generously provided by the publisher, via The TLC Book Tour, in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful story about 4 friends during 20 years of their lives. Even though they are best friends, they all live very different lives and only get together for an occasional weekend. More importantly, even though they are best friends who tell each other everything -- they are all keeping secrets from each other. Can their friendship survive when these secrets are brought out into the open?The novel is set up in time periods based on the friends' weekend get-aways. Each section starts This is a wonderful story about 4 friends during 20 years of their lives. Even though they are best friends, they all live very different lives and only get together for an occasional weekend. More importantly, even though they are best friends who tell each other everything -- they are all keeping secrets from each other. Can their friendship survive when these secrets are brought out into the open?The novel is set up in time periods based on the friends' weekend get-aways. Each section starts with a short comment about what is going on in the world - ex Princess Diane died or the search for Madeline McCain - to put the time period in perspective. The four friends are:Sophie (my favorite) who moved in with her boyfriend after her first year of college and follows a fairly sensible life - buys a house, has a baby but when she can't bond with her baby, we start to learn more about her. She was always the voice of reason among the four friends.Melissa is always ready for a good time - another drink or another drug and always another man. She has a job in the music industry and is the wild-child of the group.Amy is beautiful and charming and finds a rich husband and appears to have a perfect life...but can she share her problems with that life with her friends?Emily is a single mother who was the smart one in college. She is raising her son by herself and refuses to tell her friends who her son's father is.This is a fantastic book about a long term friendship between women that deals with real world problems - abuse, addiction, infidelity. The main characters are well written - not too perfect with flaws that make them more realistic. The bonds of their friendship get tested over and over as their secrets are revealed and the reader is anxious to find out if they are all able to maintain their friendships or if the secrets they are keeping will end it.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Cleo Bannister
    January 1, 1970
    How would we survive without friends for support? The Story of Our Lives follows four women; Sophie, Melissa, Emily and Amy over twenty years in short bursts an unusual structure that gives an insight into the momentous occasions that we all encounter during our lives.The first time we meet the friends is on their weekend break in Southwold in August 1997 following the death of Princess Diana. Sophie is in a long-term relationship with someone she met at university, wondering perhaps if she sett How would we survive without friends for support? The Story of Our Lives follows four women; Sophie, Melissa, Emily and Amy over twenty years in short bursts an unusual structure that gives an insight into the momentous occasions that we all encounter during our lives.The first time we meet the friends is on their weekend break in Southwold in August 1997 following the death of Princess Diana. Sophie is in a long-term relationship with someone she met at university, wondering perhaps if she settled down too soon. Melissa is searching for something, Emily is still slightly defensive about being a single mother to Jack and Amy revels in cooking up sumptuous dishes for them all. In other words although the four met at university their lives, even at this point are very different as are their hopes and dreams for the future, We know that there is a big secret to be revealed but what will it be? Will the friendship survive?By the time we catch up with the four in Whitstable in 1998, the year Bill Clinton admitted to having relations with Monica Lewinsky, secrets being shared that will remain within the tight circle that will have repercussions down the line.And so it goes on we meet the women, not every year, as they meet up in different destinations, always prefaced with a news story from the time, and we watch them change and grow as the obstacles of life are flung down in their paths. In the wrong hands this format could leave the reader feeling that there are gaps in the tale, but I’m pleased that Helen Warner has it nailed. Where necessary characters take a reflective look back over the past and the dialogue provides us with the women’s thoughts and views on any particular issue.Inevitably, as in real-life, the friendship will be tested at times providing the reader with moments of tension as the women struggle to come to terms with the consequences. Although the book is a definite celebration of friendship there is some depth and some thorny issues tackled within the storyline avoiding the mushy and false view that life can be solved by the shoulder of a good friend. At different points the women have to take responsibilities and face the consequence of their decisions, and we all know that isn’t easy no matter who has your back!I really enjoyed the preface to each section with the news story, although it made me feel old as I kept saying ‘surely that wasn’t that long ago!’ and the author marks the progress of technology in a subtle way so that as we move time periods the timeline is firmly fixed.An emotional read that will see each of the women face difficulties as well as moments of joy and their friends reaction to each of these significant moments.A delightful and uplifting read which is likely to have its readers reflecting on their own friendships.
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  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    Four friends go away for a girls’ weekend every year – when they can – to decompress, relax, reaffirm their friendship, share their lives and support each other through good and bad. Each one has a distinctive story and sometimes they overlap and sometimes one friend is the focus. The chapters start with a real life event ie: Princess Diana’s death, the Challenger disaster, 9/11, and so on to place the reader in time and remind them of one of the biggest bits of news of that year. The book then Four friends go away for a girls’ weekend every year – when they can – to decompress, relax, reaffirm their friendship, share their lives and support each other through good and bad. Each one has a distinctive story and sometimes they overlap and sometimes one friend is the focus. The chapters start with a real life event ie: Princess Diana’s death, the Challenger disaster, 9/11, and so on to place the reader in time and remind them of one of the biggest bits of news of that year. The book then moves back and forth in time within each chapter slowly building each woman’s story – not necessarily in time order. (This did take a little getting used to.)The four core women each have their lives outside of their friendship but little is seen of those lives for these women but for Sophie who is, of any of them, the main character. She arranges their weekends and the other women’s stories involve her in ways big and small. She is a well developed and complicated character – at times a bit one note but for the most part I’d like to have her on my side. The other women are complex and simple all at the same time. I wondered if their secrets were there for the sole reason to bring attention to them. I don’t want to go any deeper into them so as to not ruin plot points but they cover the major sins as it were.The book, it’s prose that is, was very easy to read. At times the topics covered made it a bit of challenge which is fine. Reading should challenge us at times. It should make us think further than the book in front of our eyes – hopefully to educate even to make a change. Chick lit doesn’t have to just be light and fluffy – not to say that there isn’t a lot of light, happy moments in this book. I doubt I’m ruining anything by saying that there is happiness found within the covers of the novel. It is a solid book dealing with challenging issues of love, friendship, marriage, work/life balance and more. I will look forward to more from Ms. Warner in the future.3.5
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  • Julia Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner is a fabulous contemporary novel about friendship and life. The action spans from 1997 following a group of friends as they meet annually. There are flashbacks to fill in the action as the timeline moves forwards.Written in a chatty, engaging style, the reader absorbs the action, being a very willing participant in the book.Life throws all sorts at us. Our hopes and dreams in our twenties may be vastly different in our forties. Throughout all that life deli The Story Of Our Lives by Helen Warner is a fabulous contemporary novel about friendship and life. The action spans from 1997 following a group of friends as they meet annually. There are flashbacks to fill in the action as the timeline moves forwards.Written in a chatty, engaging style, the reader absorbs the action, being a very willing participant in the book.Life throws all sorts at us. Our hopes and dreams in our twenties may be vastly different in our forties. Throughout all that life delivers, good friendships can see us through.The book demolishes some traditional held beliefs. Prince Charming is not always as charming as we think. Glittering palaces can still be prisons. And Casanova's are not always bad. Evil wears a normal, everyday face. It is a realistic portrayal of life showing that sometimes life is a fairytale. At other times it is a nightmare, a quagmire to wade through.The characters are uniquely and wonderfully drawn from all walks of life. With different personalities, you are sure to choose a favourite. Who resonates with you?There are some difficult to read scenes of domestic abuse. Realistically portrayed, the reader witnesses the slow squashing of a big personality. The message is clear - abuse is never your fault. Get out and get help. Do not suffer alone.Motherhood is a major theme. As mothers our attention moves from 'me' focused to children focused. We love our children. They are unique and always a gift no matter how they were conceived. We do our best to love them and keep them safe. When they hurt, we hurt.The Story Of Our Lives celebrates friendship and motherhood. It is a friendship that loves and lasts, that supports and carries through all of life's joys and sorrows.A wonderful book.I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    I am a bit of a sucker for good women's friendship stories, especially when they span years or even decades and give you a front-row seat to see how different characters and their relationships grow and evolve. The Story of Our Lives covers the years between 1997 and 2007 in the lives of Sophie, Melissa, Amy and Emily, who became friends during their first year of university. The women gather annually for a 'girls' weekend away, where they reconnect and share (or don't share--there are some big I am a bit of a sucker for good women's friendship stories, especially when they span years or even decades and give you a front-row seat to see how different characters and their relationships grow and evolve. The Story of Our Lives covers the years between 1997 and 2007 in the lives of Sophie, Melissa, Amy and Emily, who became friends during their first year of university. The women gather annually for a 'girls' weekend away, where they reconnect and share (or don't share--there are some big secrets being hidden) what is happening in their lives. Each character faces different personal and professional challenges that run the gamut from relationship and marital challenges, infidelity, pregnancies, miscarriages, and postpartum depression, addiction, domestic abuse, and career issues. Although some of the subject matter is heavier in tone, the author keeps it from bogging down too much and happy moments occur frequently. For the most part, the four main characters are likable and relatable, although some grew on me more quickly than others. With a few chapters devoted to a year (each year has a 'news bite' with a major story from that year which is interesting to think back on) and often featuring an emphasis on one of the characters and their perspectives, the 400+ pages moved quickly and the story flowed well. There are no big surprises and a few things that were easily predictable, but the writing and characters are engaging and I found myself sorry to have the book end. The Story of Our Lives is a great 'escape' novel--the weekends away are often set in beachy locations in Britain and it makes for a relatively quick and enjoyable read. If you are a fan of women's fiction, contemporary fiction, and stories about the highs and lows of friendships and relationships, you'll enjoy this one.You can see my full review and a recipe inspired by the book on my blog post here: https://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/2... Note: A review copy of "The Story of Our Lives" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Trish
    January 1, 1970
    The Story of Us tells the story of four friends over the years. Sophie has a wonderful relationship but struggles with post-partum depression. Amy is in a perfect marriage - from the outside. Emily is a single mother raising her son alone. Melissa struggles with drinking and self esteem that leads her to choose the wrong men. This book spans the years from 1997 to 2012. Each section begins with a quote about what is happening in the world at that time. Events like Princess Diana's death, the Que The Story of Us tells the story of four friends over the years. Sophie has a wonderful relationship but struggles with post-partum depression. Amy is in a perfect marriage - from the outside. Emily is a single mother raising her son alone. Melissa struggles with drinking and self esteem that leads her to choose the wrong men. This book spans the years from 1997 to 2012. Each section begins with a quote about what is happening in the world at that time. Events like Princess Diana's death, the Queen's Golden Jubilee, and the divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills are included as touchstone memories.I really enjoyed the way this book moved back and forth through time. As the women move along in life we see flashbacks to their pivotal college years and their 20's. This was an interesting way of getting to know the characters better.The author, Helen Warner, does a wonderful job of delineating these very different characters. Within the first few chapters I felt I had a good understanding of the different women and what motivated them.I found The Story of Our Lives a real "can't put down" novel. I read it in about 3 days because I enjoyed the book so much that I kept sneaking in extra reading time to find out what happened next! I really enjoy novels about women's friendship, and this was an enjoyable read. I recommend this book to fans of women's fiction. This would be a great weekend read or vacation book!
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    This was such an enjoyable book, I found myself completely engrossed in the lives of Sophie, Melissa, Emily and Amy. We meet up with these four friends once a year when they come together for their annual getaway. Over the course of twenty years we see these ladies fall in and out of love, struggle with work, become mothers, become wives and overcome life-changing troubles. I loved the concept of this book, even though we only see the four friends come together once a year, you feel a permanent This was such an enjoyable book, I found myself completely engrossed in the lives of Sophie, Melissa, Emily and Amy. We meet up with these four friends once a year when they come together for their annual getaway. Over the course of twenty years we see these ladies fall in and out of love, struggle with work, become mothers, become wives and overcome life-changing troubles. I loved the concept of this book, even though we only see the four friends come together once a year, you feel a permanent part of their lives. At the start of each chapter we get a snippet of the big news story of that year, this cleverly helps put the timeline in perspective. I was eager to find out what the big secret was, I was slightly disappointed that I had to wait right until near the end of the book, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment. This is a book that celebrates friendship. These four go through all kinds of life altering events but they are always there for each other. It’s a great book to lose yourself in, I couldn’t put it down and enjoyed it immensely.
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  • Vandana
    January 1, 1970
    No woman in this world would be able to survive without the constant support and cheer from her girlfriends who are always present whenever you need a comforting hug or to listen to soothing words or just to unburden yourself. ‘The Story of Our Lives’ by Helen Warner is a tribute to that friendship that is inevitable in our lives. I bet every woman out there can identify with the premise of this novel as who doesn’t have that group of tight knit friends who, though might be far apart in terms of No woman in this world would be able to survive without the constant support and cheer from her girlfriends who are always present whenever you need a comforting hug or to listen to soothing words or just to unburden yourself. ‘The Story of Our Lives’ by Helen Warner is a tribute to that friendship that is inevitable in our lives. I bet every woman out there can identify with the premise of this novel as who doesn’t have that group of tight knit friends who, though might be far apart in terms of distance, are so close to our hearts that we feel their support and love every day in our life. The book reminded me of my best friends from college and how our friendship grew and strengthened through the various experiences we shared and survived.‘The Story of Our Lives’ traces the life of four friends – Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa – who are friends from college and still meet each other at least once in a year. As each of them go through various low phases in their lives that shake their marriage, profession and even their relationships with each other, they still find comfort and solace in one another. However, is their friendship strong enough to withstand all the challenges thrown in its way?The book is designed in a way such that each chapter happens at least a year apart when the friends meet up for a casual getaway or for celebrating certain milestone in each other’s life. However, we do not feel any gaps in the story even with this form of narration as Helen Warner goes through the important events of each characters’ life. The characters of Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa are all strong women trying to mark their place the world and work towards achieving their goals. The characters are well developed with each having their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, the author has managed to realistically capture the group dynamics of the quartet as we can see that there is a varying level of comfort between each of the friends. Through the lives of these friends, Helen Warner has portrayed various sensitive issues that are plaguing the modern woman ranging from single parents to post-partum depression and even domestic abuse. Kudos to the author for maturely handling these sensitive issues and showing to the readers how important roles other women play in elevating the victims of these problems.https://bookescapadeblog.wordpress.co...
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  • Cheryl M-M
    January 1, 1970
    Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa are a close-knit group of friends. The reader follows them through their trials and tribulations over a period of two decades. They meet every year at the same time to celebrate their friendships and all the changes in their lives. Pregnancies, career changes, marriages, affairs, betrayals and life in general.There is a fair amount of victim blaming when it comes to Amy and her situation. ‘If only she was a little tougher. If she stood up for herself it wouldn’t ha Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa are a close-knit group of friends. The reader follows them through their trials and tribulations over a period of two decades. They meet every year at the same time to celebrate their friendships and all the changes in their lives. Pregnancies, career changes, marriages, affairs, betrayals and life in general.There is a fair amount of victim blaming when it comes to Amy and her situation. ‘If only she was a little tougher. If she stood up for herself it wouldn’t happen.’ This is a common reaction and misconception when it comes to domestic abuse, the assumption that it is just about the victim not being able to stand up for themselves. Even her friends are quick to place the blame on her.It’s easy to ignore the obvious, when it comes to domestic abuse. The hard part is supporting victims, despite the fact they may go back to their abuser. It takes an incredible amount of courage to leave a situation of complete control, isolation and fear.I have this rule of thumb when it comes to books or stories I read. If the characters or premise evoke any kind of emotion, even if it is anger or irritation, then the author has done their job. So with that said let me just have a grumble about Sophie and the way she reacts at the end. Can we all just say hypocrite. Her indignation and anger are misplaced, and ironic to say the least. Talk about selective memory and being judgemental. Okay, I feel much better now.Warner has created a story that will resonate with a lot of readers, especially those who understand the complexities of friendships between women. Friendships that stand the test of time, relationships with people who exhibit loyalty under extreme duress and are willing to stand by you through your hardest times. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.The Story of Our Lives is an ode to the special connections we make in life, about the paths we choose and the mistakes we make. It is also about the people who walk with us instead of away from us when things crumble and fall apart around us.*I received and ARC courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.*
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    Best friends Sophie, Emily, Amy, and Melissa have been thick as thieves since their college days. Now that they're all out on their own, and even though they do see each other occasionally, they've made a tradition of getting together for a girls' weekend each year.But as the years go by and each of their lives becomes more complicated:Emily has never come clean about her son's father and being a single parent becomes difficult when she's challenged in a way she never could have imagined.Amy has Best friends Sophie, Emily, Amy, and Melissa have been thick as thieves since their college days. Now that they're all out on their own, and even though they do see each other occasionally, they've made a tradition of getting together for a girls' weekend each year.But as the years go by and each of their lives becomes more complicated:Emily has never come clean about her son's father and being a single parent becomes difficult when she's challenged in a way she never could have imagined.Amy has met the perfect man, but it soon becomes clear to her friends that something isn't quite right in her home life.Melissa has always been freewheeling and free spirited, but her drinking and drug use is a growing cause for concern for the others.And Sophie, who seems to have it all, struggles to find happiness in her family and home life.Warner begins this story of friendship with the girls' summer in 1997 and it's made clear in just a few pages how strong the bond is between the four girls. And though we're plopped into their lives post college, we do get pieces of their earlier story as the book progresses.Each set of chapters is divided by a year, taking the story through to 2012. There are fights, break ups, make ups, babies, weddings, and all sorts of everything in between. It's literally, as the title suggests, the story of their lives!Or at least a short story of their lives, obviously there's quite a bit before and quite a bit to come, all things considered.I loved the friendship between these women. They each have their flaws and they each have their issues, but they work through a lot of those side by side, supporting one another in the way only the closest of friends and family can! There are ups and downs throughout the book, so it's not an all the time feel good read, but there is a satisfactory end that I think qualifies it as such - feel good.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    I've not read anything by Helen Warner before, but I'll definitely be looking out for more. This book was such an enjoyable and easy read, and I found myself completely invested in all of the characters.'The Story of Our Lives' concerns four female friends who have been friends since university. They meet up periodically, and with each meeting or weekend away we hear more and more about their stories. There are lots of skeletons in their closets, with everyone having their secrets; every time th I've not read anything by Helen Warner before, but I'll definitely be looking out for more. This book was such an enjoyable and easy read, and I found myself completely invested in all of the characters.'The Story of Our Lives' concerns four female friends who have been friends since university. They meet up periodically, and with each meeting or weekend away we hear more and more about their stories. There are lots of skeletons in their closets, with everyone having their secrets; every time the friends meet it's as though a new drama surfaces. Although at times I couldn't help thinking that there was far too much drama for just four people, but when you consider that each of their meetings are several months / a year apart, then it becomes much more believable. The blurb of the book points out that everyone can remember where they were at the time of a significant event, such as the death of Princess Diana, in the same way that the four friends here can remember where they were when and what was going on at the time of specific media events. Every few chapters there is a summary of such an event, such as the 9/11 tragedy, as if to emphasise this point. However, nothing was done with these little snippets and I felt they were kind of surplus to requirements. The book would have coped perfectly fine without them, and they seemed a little too 'random' to me. The way each of the ladies' stories comes together, their lives intertwined and with so much history, is really great to read; you can't help but want to keep reading page after page to find out what drama will be next. Helen has written this book in such a clever way that it is much deeper than the usual superficial chick lit novels - highly recommended.
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  • Ricki Treleaven
    January 1, 1970
    This book reminds me of Sex and the City because it's about four close friends who met when they were young and maintain a close bond as the years pass, but instead of meeting every week for brunch, these women go away together for long weekends to hang out and catch-up with each other's lives.Helen Warner did a wonderful job crafting each character in the novel. I feel like I know all the friends except Emily, but she's very private about her love life and doesn't share like the other three. I This book reminds me of Sex and the City because it's about four close friends who met when they were young and maintain a close bond as the years pass, but instead of meeting every week for brunch, these women go away together for long weekends to hang out and catch-up with each other's lives.Helen Warner did a wonderful job crafting each character in the novel. I feel like I know all the friends except Emily, but she's very private about her love life and doesn't share like the other three. I enjoyed reading about their weekends, and I think it's so important for women to maintain long-term friendships. The support each gives to the others is phenomenal. Most of their conversation centers around the men in their lives or lack thereof, and there are some serious themes in the book like postpartum depression, spousal abuse, alcoholism, and drug abuse. But the women support each other through thick and thin and won't hesitate to stage an intervention when needed.Each section of the novel is centered around their annual retreat and begins with a real news event from that year (like the disappearance of four-year-old Madeline McCann in 2007 and the Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002). Much of the story is told in flashback to explain what had happened since their last weekend getaway. If you enjoy chick lit about friendship, romance, and a very big secret, then you should enjoy The Story of Our Lives. This is a very quick read, and it would be perfect for your weekend getaway or staycation by the fire. Disclosure: I received an ARC of The Story of Our Lives from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    The Story of Our Lives is a story of friendship, in good times and bad, and how those bonds forged in early adulthood are both strengthened and tested as the years go on. Helen Warner's novel follows four very different London-based best friends - Sophie, Melissa, Amy, and Emily - from their university days into adulthood, as they get married, have children, and face challenges none of them could ever have imagined in their student days.We delve into their friendship at different points in their The Story of Our Lives is a story of friendship, in good times and bad, and how those bonds forged in early adulthood are both strengthened and tested as the years go on. Helen Warner's novel follows four very different London-based best friends - Sophie, Melissa, Amy, and Emily - from their university days into adulthood, as they get married, have children, and face challenges none of them could ever have imagined in their student days.We delve into their friendship at different points in their lives, at the one time the four friends are always guaranteed to be together: their (almost) annual weekends away together. Warner sets the scene - and puts us right into the appropriate time frame - by starting each getaway with a news headline from the time, from the death of Princess Diana to the London Olympics. You'll always remember where you were at those times of national interest, and for the four friends, the twists in their own lives make them even more memorable.The Story of Our Lives is a truly enjoyable read, perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes, Lucy Diamond, or Erin Lawless - and it's a story that anyone with close friends can relate to, one that leaves you guessing about the turn of events until the very end.[Thanks to NetGalley and HG/Harper Collins UK for the complimentary digital review copy of The Story of Our Lives. As always, all opinions are my own.]
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  • Lisa girlsinbooks
    January 1, 1970
    SynopsisThey think nothing can tear their bond apart, until a long-buried secret threatens to destroy everything.Every year they have met up for a vacation, but their time away is much more than just a bit of fun. Over time, it has become a lifesaver, as each of them struggles with life’s triumphs and tragedies.Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends since they were girls. They have seen each other through everything—from Sophie’s private fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a SynopsisThey think nothing can tear their bond apart, until a long-buried secret threatens to destroy everything.Every year they have met up for a vacation, but their time away is much more than just a bit of fun. Over time, it has become a lifesaver, as each of them struggles with life’s triumphs and tragedies.Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends since they were girls. They have seen each other through everything—from Sophie’s private fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite having two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside marriage that starts to reveal troubling warning signs, to Melissa’s spiraling alcoholism, to questions that are suddenly bubbling up around the paternity of Emily’s son. But could a lie that spans just as long as their friendship be the thing that tears them apart?My ReviewI stayed up late at night because I could not put this book down! I finished it in only a few short nights, and I do not think the synopsis gives this book justice. This story follows the lives of four best friends over a 20 year span. The short chapters are easy to breeze through and are organized by year. Every year the girls meet up for a girls weekend and catch up on their lives. I enjoyed the themes of friendship, motherhood, and marriage so much. It was a like a british Sex in the City with lust, drama, and complicated relationships.My RecommendationsI recommend The Story of Our Lives by Helen Warner to fans of Sex and the City, Now and Then, and LifeTime movies. I really enjoy stories that jump back and forth between the past and present so if you like flashbacks, you will enjoy this read. This movie would make a great tv film; the kind you want to cuddle up with your girlfriends and watch.
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  • Nalene
    January 1, 1970
    There are parts of me that really enjoyed this book, but the rest of me felt compelled to read on for the same reason I watched too much of The Secret Life of the American teenager. The concept was compelling--four best girlfriends reuniting every year for several decades--but the women featured and their lives was SO overly dramatic it was hardly believable. And the prose could have used more careful editing suggestions, as Warner has a tendency to rely on certain standby words and phrases that There are parts of me that really enjoyed this book, but the rest of me felt compelled to read on for the same reason I watched too much of The Secret Life of the American teenager. The concept was compelling--four best girlfriends reuniting every year for several decades--but the women featured and their lives was SO overly dramatic it was hardly believable. And the prose could have used more careful editing suggestions, as Warner has a tendency to rely on certain standby words and phrases that just start to sound overused and clunky after awhile. The dialogue occasionally comes off as artificial, and the "twists" are often predictable (for any reader who has been paying attention to her heavy-handed habit of finding the least realistic complications and going with it). Maybe some people's lives are this crazy, but I don't know them. Having said that, the book did keep me reading even in the face of cringe-worthy syntax and occasionally stilted diction.Thanks to Graydon House Books and Goodreads for the advanced copy furnished through a Goodreads giveaway.
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  • Kath Haslam
    January 1, 1970
    They say that the best ideas are the simple ones and this book shows how true this is. The idea, of four friends from University meeting up for an annual girly week-end is simple enough, but works wonderfully well. Linking the chapters with a newsflash from the time is a stroke of genius and brings the reader right into the time-scale, even though, strangely, the characters make no reference to even the most memorable events (I’m thinking 9/11).I enjoyed catching up with the girl’s lives chapter They say that the best ideas are the simple ones and this book shows how true this is. The idea, of four friends from University meeting up for an annual girly week-end is simple enough, but works wonderfully well. Linking the chapters with a newsflash from the time is a stroke of genius and brings the reader right into the time-scale, even though, strangely, the characters make no reference to even the most memorable events (I’m thinking 9/11).I enjoyed catching up with the girl’s lives chapter by chapter, and although I had guessed ‘the secret’ from quite early in the book, I found it even more intriguing to discover how the author would negotiate the twists and turns without giving the game away. All I can say is, well done Helen Warner, and thank you for a really enjoyable read.
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