cover image The Friends We Keep

The Friends We Keep

Susan Mallery. Mira, $15.99 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-7783-1872-9

Three friends provide encouragement to one another in Mallery's second installment (after The Girls of Mischief Bay) in her Mischief Bay series. The a seaside town in Los Angeles County, Calif., is home to Nicole, Gabby, and Haley. Gabby is mother to five-year-old twin girls, Kenzie and Kennedy, and 15-year-old stepdaughter Makayla. When unforeseen circumstances threaten to prevent her from going back to work after the twins start kindergarten, Gabby and her husband, Andrew, are in total disagreement. Hayley wants nothing more than to be a mother. Despite weakness from miscarriages, she is convinced that she and her husband, Rob, can be parents if only she can get one more chance at carrying a pregnancy to term. Nicole, reeling from a divorce, is not thrilled when her son, Tyler, wins a contest that enables him to meet the creator of his favorite books, Jairus. But things become more complicated when Jairus and Nicole hit it off. Gabby, Haley, and Nicole are down-to-earth real women with whom readers will be able to identify, and Mallery successfully balances each story line. The women's stories and the depth of support they provide one another make this an engaging read to be savored all the way through. (Mar.)