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NOW AND THEN FRIENDS (HARTLEY-BY-THE-SEA #2) BY KATE HEWITT: BOOK REVIEW

by Andra W, September 9, 2017

Now And Then Friends

Hartley-By-The-Sea, Book #2

Kate Hewitt

(ISBN13: 9780451475596)

http://www.kate-hewitt.com/

Brought to you by OBS Reviewer jerjen

Synopsis:  

 

The USA Today bestselling author of Rainy Day Sisters returns to Hartley-by-the-Sea…

Childhood best friends Rachel Campbell and Claire West have not only grown up, but after fifteen years, they’ve also grown apart…

After her father left, Rachel had to dedicate her life to managing her household: her two younger sisters, her disabled mother, and her three-year-old nephew. When Rachel’s not struggling to look after all of them, she makes her living cleaning the houses of wealthy families—inclulding the Wests, where a surprise now awaits her. . . .

A lifetime of drifting in other people’s currents has finally left Claire high and dry. First it was her parents, then the popular crowd in school, and finally her fiancé. Now she’s returned to Hartley-by-the-Sea to recover. But running into Rachel brings back memories of past mistakes, and Claire wonders if she now has the courage to make them right.

Soon Claire’s brother, Andrew, asks Rachel to keep an eye on Claire, which is the last thing either woman wants. But as their lives threaten to fall apart, both Claire and Rachel begin to realize what they need most is a friend. The kind of friend they once were to each other, and perhaps can be again. . . . (Goodreads)

Review:

This is the story of two friends, Claire and Rachel, who were as close as friends can be when they were younger.  They could not have been more different but they got along well and really cared for each other.  They did all the things that young friends do together and they shared their dreams with each other, like all young girls do.  But then one day, that all changed when Claire started hanging out with the popular girls and left Rachel behind.  Rachel never really got over the hurt and betrayal she felt when that happened.  When they meet again years later, Rachel is still bitter over the way Claire treated her.  As they spend time together and each reflect on their past relationship, they realize that they both have differing opinions on what happened in their past.  Can they work past the feelings of hurt and betrayal to become friends again?  

The characters were well rounded, well developed and three dimensional.  Both Claire and Rachel have had difficult pasts and both continue to carry that baggage.  Their broken friendship may be a hurdle that they cannot get over, even if either of them are so inclined to try.  Both characters seemed very realistic to me and caused me to have many emotional reactions to them both.  The secondary characters were also well developed and I had reactions to them as well, not all of them favorable.  I think it takes a great author to bring these reactions and feeling out of the reader.

The writing style flows smoothly for the most part.  For me, the use of British words kept it from having the smooth flow that I like.  I had to stop at times and try to figure out what was being talked about.  This may not have bothered other readers but I found it slightly annoying.  

I did like how each chapter was titled either Claire or Rachel.  I like this technique, I think it helps the reader to learn more about each character.  You can concentrate on their background and feelings better, in my opinion.  I feel like it makes the characters seem more realistic.

For the most part, I felt that this was a sad book.  There were some happier parts, but the overall feeling that overcame me was sadness.  Rachel is just such an unhappy person with so much responsibility that I felt very sorry for her.  For me, her chapters were rather depressing.  I think the author did a great job relaying the feeling of hopelessness of Rachel.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written women’s contemporary.  You might want to have a tissue nearby because it is an emotional read.  Although it is the second book in the series, I did not have any trouble following what was going on.

*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*

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