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Lindsey's Literary Leanings

Book Reviews - Contemporary Fiction / Biographies / Autobiographies

  • Lindsey Skelton-Smith

The Gift of Friends (Author: Emma Hannigan)

The Gift of Friends (Book Cover)

Warm, Emotional, Humorous

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance/ Domestic/Domestic Abuse

'The Gift Of Friends' By Emma Hannigan

It is moving day for Danielle & Justin. As she stands outside No 10 Kingfisher Road, Danielle feels apprehensive about all the changes currently taking place in her world, such a contrast from the way she had originally imagined it playing out & in such a short time, making her question if it was all happening too fast. She'd had such a different upbringing from her fiance, & she had more than a few misgivings about her new way of life.

Meanwhile four other residents had eagerly been awaiting their new neighbour. They (Maia) were keen to impress on her the community that they had so dilligently created between them, the supper clubs & the girls nights in. Maria, Nancy, Betty & Pearl had once all had a common one day live in this attractive, charming area, & here they were, doing just that with their families, other than Nancy who was content living in her cottage with Nelly. However, their dreams of living in Kingfisher Road, & their love of now doing so weren't, unbeknownst to them, their only common ground....despite initial appearances that all was well, each of the ladies was dealing with a challenge of sorts & two of them harboured a secret that they had concealed from their friends for years. The newcomer to the road encourages a new openness & honesty amongst the four females as they each support & guide each other through life's curve balls.

This was my first time reading a book by Emma Hannigan. My partner subscribes to Postscript & we thumb through it once a month for any well priced books that catch our eye. I wasn't really seriously looking for new books as I already had a fairly lengthy 'to be read' pile, but this book appealed & seemed like the sort of novel that I would enjoy.

When it arrived, I was slightly daunted by it's bulk & was wondering when to read it, as I feared that it may take me a while & I had my eye on books from quite a few authors on my Literary online platform. In fact, it only took me about 4 or 5 days. I really enjoyed the dialogue, of which there was a lot. I much prefer dialogue to reams & reams of descriptive text.

The characters were likeable & lively, their personalities really shone through the writing. Initially, I must admit to making the assumption that the narrative was going to centre around a group of vacuous wealthy women who had more money than sense. It was a pleasant surprise to read a tale of true friendship, mutual support & to disregard those who don't enrich your life & see your self worth.

The scenes with Pearl, her husband & their son were so powerfully objectionable it made me feel frustrated & sad, & wince when Seth physically showshow abhorrent he finds his wife & child. Also, when Besty's daughter in-law arrives on her doorstep with Betsy & Noel's son & their grandson & sparks fly, the repugnant nature of the young mother & her actions is palpable & I was wiling Betsy to get rid!

Nancy is duped into believing something that her gut feeling tells her isn't right which she chooses to ignore initially but then, being the oldest & wisest of the group, is able to reflect on it with a level head. Maia's issues take longer to brew & she perhaps has to pay the highest price of all, but with the help of her ladies, they devise a distraction that pulls her through.

Emma Hannigan sadly passed away in 2018 from breast cancer. Her acknowledgement at the back of her book, & quotes, plus how she refers to the men & women in 'Gift Of Friendship' as 'her final characters', I found poignant & emotional. She was 46. I also read her self penned ulogy detailed in an article on Google. I will be reading more of Emma's novels as I very much like her style of writing. I am just sorry that there won't be any more of her work. I certainly felt that this book deserved a sequel, there may be one,......RIP Emma.

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