I have read a couple of Tif Marcelo’s books and I have to say that my favorite has been The Key to Happily Ever After. Her books are always so great and written with so much heart and perspective not to mention rich with family relationship complexities. I have really enjoyed reading them and when I saw that her latest novel In a Book Club Far Away, was a Book of the Month pick, I was even more excited to get my hands on it!
Even though I had a digital copy of the book to read, I did make this one my BOTM pick not just because the book sounded good, but I also thought the cover was elegant and rich with fun bookish details! I knew that I would read the book one way or the other, but there was something about the cover and title of this one that just seemed to say ‘read me as a hard copy!’ that I simply couldn’t ignore!
Besides the author reputation and elegant cover art, this one sounded like such a great read for book clubs or maybe even a buddy read with your BFF. It’s a story about friendships and for me, it was just the book that I needed right now. It was like curling up with a good friend and a glass of wine to gossip about life and laugh about all the things that life throws at you.
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever Aftercomes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.
Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.
That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.
As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Awayhonors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds. (summary from Goodreads)
One of the things that I liked about this one right away was the structure of the friendships. Marcelo is an Army nurse and I liked the idea of these girlfriends bring former Army wife BFFs. I thought this gave me a different perspective on what some of these military families go through—it’s just not a normal existence and I think this book really capitalized on that and I loved that part of this on. My sister in-law’s husband will likely be a career military man. He has been on numerous tours and deployments and during their marriage he has missed the birth of both of their children. Since her family is all in Arizona, she does not travel with him instead he is gone so much and when he’s home they try and maximize their time together. I have seen first hand how lonely an existence it is for her and how much of a strain it can be especially now that they have kids. So I thought that was one of the most interesting things about this book! I loved the nuances and glimpse into the world of military wives and I thought that Marcelo did a magnificent job highlighting the struggles these women faced.
Over the years their friendships between the three women have been strained and now in 2021 they are brought back together in hopes of resolving their past hurts. This book is told over the course of a ten year period by alternating between 2011 to 2021. I normally don’t really care for ‘modern’ flashbacks like that but in this case I thought that it worked. I liked the idea of time influencing and impacting their friendships. I thought that it gave the sense of perspective in a new way. Normally I like the ‘flashback’ style of storytelling in historical novels but as I said, for this one I thought it worked in a unique way and I enjoyed it.
I felt fully invested in all three of the women’s stories. Sometimes I tend to gravitate toward one or the other but in this book, I felt invested more or less equally in all their stories. This book hit quite a few deeper and emotional topics like miscarriage and divorce but yet I didn’t feel like I was put through an emotional wringer. It felt like the story had some great balance, serious topics mixed with some fluff. It made the story feel like an escape with heart if that makes sense. I really enjoyed my time with Sophie, Regina, and Adelaide. Their triumphs, hurts, and failures were all realistic and thought out. Each of the women was fully realized and written with such clarity. I didn’t feel like I could legitimately meet one of these women and be friends with them.
This was a great read full of women’s issues and friendship. It had heart but also managed to remain balanced in its emotional impact. I loved how the story unfolded and ultimately resolved. If you love women’s fiction and are looking for something fresh for spring, I highly recommend picking this one up! It was a BOTM pick for a reason!
Book Info and Rating
Format hardback 400 pages,
PublishedApril 6, 2021 by Gallery Books
ISBN9781982148096 (ISBN10: 1982148098)
Free review copy provided by publisher in partnership with the Tall Poppy Writers/Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: womens fiction, chick lit