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, 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.
Marcie Steele is a pseudonym for author Mel Sherratt who decided to trade her usual genre, crime thrillers, for chick lit for a while. 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. 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. While the story was interesting, I felt it was a bit too slow-paced at times and not enough was going on. I also didn't click with any of the characters, although I think there will be many readers who will be able to relate to Sam, Louise or Charley in different ways. (JoH)
This is a heartwarming tale of friendship between three women at a crossroads in their lives. Lily, who is grieving her husband’s death, decides to reopen her cafe in his memory. She places an ad for help and finds that Kate, whose marriage has recently fallen apart, and Chloe, a recent high-school graduate unsure of her future, are the perfect fit. Even though their relationships with each other do not always run smoothly, they develop a strong bond while living together and working toward running a successful coffee shop. As each character is faced with challenges they lean on each other and support one another as they navigate their new lives. Steele did a brilliant job of creating true-to-life characters in Lily, Kate and Chloe. There are times when you’ll want to hug them, and others when you’ll sigh in despair at the decisions they make. This one was hard to put down and came to a satisfying, albeit emotional, end. (LB)