Monday, December 9, 2019

Forever Friends (Cranberry Cove #1) by Sarah Mackenzie

Title: Forever Friends (Cranberry Cove Book 1)
Classification: Adult Women's Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Cranberry Cove (1) (Book 1)
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Publisher: Forever (December 10, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1538751127
ISBN-13: 978-1538751121
Author's Website: Not Available at this time
Notes: I received an eARC loan of the book from the publisher through Edelweiss for review purposes. This in no way affected my review or rating.

Sadie Landry is a stay-at-home mom who feels she's losing her identity. The cool, confident young professional she'd once been has been replaced with a women who feels a bit like a fish out of water flopping around and trying to catch her breath. Add in the fact her husband is acting suspicious, her mother-in-law is constantly nitpicking her every move, and she suspects she might be pregnant and you've got the makings of a woman on the verge of coming undone.

Renee Rhodes is a single mom and a newly minted empty nester. Her daughter is attending her first year at college and Renee doesn't know what to do with herself. Her life centered around her daughter and now she feels a little lost and without purpose.

Two individuals with seemingly nothing in common at different ends of the mommy spectrum will be united over the burning of a batch of cupcakes. They will come to each other's aid in ways neither could ever have imagined--helping each other out with life, love, and the pursuit of happiness all while forming a friendship that will last forever...
This was a very heartwarming story with some twists and turns along the way. The mystery of what Sadie's husband is up to kept me guessing. The friendship forged between Renee and Sadie was enviable and there was no doubt that these two would be life long friends. I liked how Ms. Mackenzie picked two people at very different points in their life to form a friendship. I enjoyed how each was able to impart a piece of wisdom to the other to help them get through the difficult and confusing situations they were facing.

I loved how the author captured some of the stress and self doubt that sometimes accompanies being a stay-at-home mom of young children. I still remember my first real shower after having my daughter. I was relieved to finally have some alone time, something I hadn't realized I needed until I stepped into the bathroom. Less than a minute into it my husband rolls our daughter into the bathroom in her bassinet and left her saying he couldn't get her to stop crying. Needless to say I started crying and got very upset with him when I got out. Crying babies and showers don't mix especially when you're nursing. Your whole life is upended in ways you never would have imagined when you have a child. Having a little person attached to you at the hip is both wonderful and a bit overwhelming. At times it feels like you're constantly taking one step forward and two steps back and losing yourself in the process.

On the other side of the parenting perspective, I loved how the author captured some of the emotions a parent experiences when their child goes off to college. I've yet to become an empty nester, but I do know what it's like when your child goes off to college and suddenly their coming home during breaks isn't a given any more. While they're out testing their wings getting ready to fly away, you're still trying to deal with the fact you need to let them go so they can become the independent person they're meant to be. This is not always the easiest thing to do when your main goal for years has been to keep them safe, healthy, happy, well rounded, clothed, and fed. While the story delves a little into some deep topics, this storyline made me think of the Jergens lotion commercial where Leslie Mann makes her 20-year-old daughter use the skin lotion on her elbows, and ends with letting her know she's free for dinner. I'm so that type of mom--while the kids may be ready to break away, I'm just not.

While friendship holds a key role in this story, romance was just as prevalent. The repairing of the relationship between Sadie and her husband, and the transformation of the relationship between Renee and Dan into something more were fun to watch. Each couple had some hurdles to overcome, but as expected in any good romance, love prevails.

I ended up giving this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I enjoyed this story immensely. The two main characters, Sadie and Renee, were easy to relate to and sympathize with. I liked the contrast between the characters and between their relationships. The book contained a lovely combination of humor, friendship, drama, and romance. This was a great first novel from Ms. Mackenzie. Her writing style reminded me a little of Debbie Macomber's and Susan Mallery's, and I look forward to reading many more of her novels. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one scored a FAN rating--the temperature in the room seems to have suddenly gone up a couple of degrees and a fan would be nice. The only thing missing in this one was recipe for one of Grandma Hester's pies at the end. That would have been the proverbial icing on the cake, or, er, the à la mode on the pie, I suppose, for this one.

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