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16 September 2016

Review: 'That's What Friends Are For' by Marcie Steele (2015)

Best friends tell each other everything… right? 
Sam and Louise have been best friends since they hung their coats side by side on the first day of primary school. Now in their thirties, they’re just as close, but life is a little bit more complicated… 

On the outside, thirty-something Sam seems to have it all; the gorgeous husband, the beautiful home and the flourishing business. But things are not quite as rosy as they seem. So when handsome stranger, Dan, walks into her life, Sam finds his attentions hard to resist. 

Louise might seem like life and soul of the party, but her outgoing exterior hides her sadness about the heartbreak in her past. She just wants someone to love – but all Louise gets left with is a quick fumble with an ex at the end of the night. 

When a glamorous face from the past returns to shake things up, things get even more complicated for Sam and Louise. And just when they need each other the most, they’ve reason to wonder whether they ever really knew each other at all.

One of the nicer things about catching up on my TBR-list is stumbling upon novels I'd somehow completely forgotten about and having a copy ready to just dive into. This was also the case with Bookouture's 2015 release 'That's What Friends Are For', which was author Mel Sherratt's first venture into the world of chick lit (she's known for her crime thrillers, so quite a change!). I've had the pleasure of reading two of Mel's other works under her pseudonym 'Marcie Steele', namely 'Stirred with Love' and 'The Second Chance Shoe Shop' (click here to read my review) which I both enjoyed. I seem to be reading these novels in a slightly weird order, so was glad to finally check out 'That's What Friends Are For' and hoped I would enjoy it as much as Marcie's other novels!

Thirty-somethings Sam Wheldon and Louise Pellington have been best friends since primary school. Even though their lives turned out slightly different from what they had planned for themselves, they are still as close as they used to be, living and working together in the town of Hedworth. Louise is a single mother taking care of her teenage daughter Charley, but just like Charley has her own problems, Louise is struggling in her seemingly never-ending search to find someone to love and to share her life with. To the outside world Sam seems to have a pretty good life, but behind doors her marriage is falling apart and she is having difficulty resisting the charms of another man. Hiding secrets from one another doesn't do any good for Sam and Louise's friendship, but will their bond be strong enough to even get through the most challenging of times?

Marcie Steele is a pseudonym for author Mel Sherratt who decided to trade her usual genre, crime thrillers, for chick lit for a while. An interesting change, but with her two other novels 'Stirred with Love' and 'The Second Chance Shoe Shop' she already proved it was a wise choice! 'That's What Friends Are For' was Mel's first chick lit novel and even though I enjoyed reading it, I didn't love it as much as her next two reads. Perhaps she was still finding her way around the genre with this one, I'm not sure, but it just didn't really click with me. The book focuses on the lives of best friends Sam and Louise, with a separate storyline for Louise's teenage daughter Charley as well; different female characters dealing with their own different issues, which often is a good basis for an enjoyable read, in my opinion.

I really liked the setting of the novel; Sam and Louise both live in the small town of Hedworth and work together in an indoor market place, where they've made a lot of friends over the years. I always love that feeling of small towns where everyone knows each other, and that was also the case in this novel. While the story was interesting, I felt it was a bit too slow-paced at times and not enough was going on. Next to that I just didn't really click with any of the characters, even though I think that's just me because I'm sure numerous readers will be able to relate to Sam, Louise or Charley in different ways. I am definitely a fan of Marcie Steele, but I enjoyed her more recent work a lot more than this read. That doesn't mean this wasn't an enjoyable chick lit read, because it was, it just wasn't my Marcie Steele favourite.
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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