Cover Image: In a Book Club Far Away

In a Book Club Far Away

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Member Reviews

I have read a couple of Tif Marcelo’s books and I have to say that my favorite has been The Key to Happily Ever After. Her books are always so great and written with so much heart and perspective not to mention rich with family relationship complexities. I have really enjoyed reading them and when I saw that her latest novel In a Book Club Far Away, was a Book of the Month pick, I was even more excited to get my hands on it!

Even though I had a digital copy of the book to read, I did make this one my BOTM pick not just because the book sounded good, but I also thought the cover was elegant and rich with fun bookish details! I knew that I would read the book one way or the other, but there was something about the cover and title of this one that just seemed to say ‘read me as a hard copy!’ that I simply couldn’t ignore!

Besides the author reputation and elegant cover art, this one sounded like such a great read for book clubs or maybe even a buddy read with your BFF. It’s a story about friendships and for me, it was just the book that I needed right now. It was like curling up with a good friend and a glass of wine to gossip about life and laugh about all the things that life throws at you.

Summary
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever Aftercomes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.

Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.

That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.

As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Awayhonors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds. (summary from Goodreads)

Review
One of the things that I liked about this one right away was the structure of the friendships. Marcelo is an Army nurse and I liked the idea of these girlfriends bring former Army wife BFFs. I thought this gave me a different perspective on what some of these military families go through—it’s just not a normal existence and I think this book really capitalized on that and I loved that part of this on. My sister in-law’s husband will likely be a career military man. He has been on numerous tours and deployments and during their marriage he has missed the birth of both of their children. Since her family is all in Arizona, she does not travel with him instead he is gone so much and when he’s home they try and maximize their time together. I have seen first hand how lonely an existence it is for her and how much of a strain it can be especially now that they have kids. So I thought that was one of the most interesting things about this book! I loved the nuances and glimpse into the world of military wives and I thought that Marcelo did a magnificent job highlighting the struggles these women faced.

Over the years their friendships between the three women have been strained and now in 2021 they are brought back together in hopes of resolving their past hurts. This book is told over the course of a ten year period by alternating between 2011 to 2021. I normally don’t really care for ‘modern’ flashbacks like that but in this case I thought that it worked. I liked the idea of time influencing and impacting their friendships. I thought that it gave the sense of perspective in a new way. Normally I like the ‘flashback’ style of storytelling in historical novels but as I said, for this one I thought it worked in a unique way and I enjoyed it.

I felt fully invested in all three of the women’s stories. Sometimes I tend to gravitate toward one or the other but in this book, I felt invested more or less equally in all their stories. This book hit quite a few deeper and emotional topics like miscarriage and divorce but yet I didn’t feel like I was put through an emotional wringer. It felt like the story had some great balance, serious topics mixed with some fluff. It made the story feel like an escape with heart if that makes sense. I really enjoyed my time with Sophie, Regina, and Adelaide. Their triumphs, hurts, and failures were all realistic and thought out. Each of the women was fully realized and written with such clarity. I didn’t feel like I could legitimately meet one of these women and be friends with them.

This was a great read full of women’s issues and friendship. It had heart but also managed to remain balanced in its emotional impact. I loved how the story unfolded and ultimately resolved. If you love women’s fiction and are looking for something fresh for spring, I highly recommend picking this one up! It was a BOTM pick for a reason!

Book Info and Rating
Format hardback 400 pages,

PublishedApril 6, 2021 by Gallery Books

ISBN9781982148096 (ISBN10: 1982148098)

Free review copy provided by publisher in partnership with the Tall Poppy Writers/Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.

Rating: 4 stars

Genre: womens fiction, chick lit
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In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo is a delightful story about three women friends, Regina, Adelaide and Sophie. The women became close when their Army spouses were deployed and they joined a book club in an effort to stay connected to others who faced the same stressors.  
The story begins when Regina and Sophie each receive an SOS from Adelaide. The women gather to help their friend, but tensions arise as they must contend with old wounds that have fractured some relationships seemingly beyond repair.  
As the story unfolds, each woman deals with relationships, career, independence, family and of course, their complicated friendship.  
The book club thread throughout was minor, but lovely. The books they read were often quite relevant to their own struggles. 
The author also did a great job of revealing the joys and struggles of Army families.  
Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery books and the author for this ARC of In a Book Club Far Away.
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You may be particularly drawn to Tif Marcelo - Author’s new book IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY if you are in or love a good book club, have ties to or are in the military *bonus points if you are a military spouse*, and if you have friends that would drop everything to be there for you if you called a friends “SOS”.  You would also perhaps fit right in with Marcelo’s main character trio of Adelaide, Sophie, and Regina who check all three of those previous boxes.

In Tif’s latest book, a new book club brings these three “milspouses” together in a time where they all have settled in a new duty station and are not only trying to meet new friends, but are also trying to get through another deployment of their spouses overseas.  The women and other book club members bond over reading and doing activities related to their monthly book club selections, some of which include The Hunger Games, Room, Bossypants, and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  The trio become so close they are “framily” - friends who are like family, until something occurs that threatens to tear and fracture their group apart forever.  Fast forward ten years when one of the ladies calls a SOS, needing not only her two friends to help her in her time of need, but also in hopes to mend the chasm that has separated the other two ever since their previous fallout.  The reader is a spectator to the trio’s bumpy ride of finding their way back to each other and navigating their current life crossroad decisions.

Tif Marcelo’s background as a veteran US Army Nurse, a military spouse, a Filipino-American, and an avid reader gives her a unique perspective to author this new release IN A BOOK CLUB FAR AWAY, in the ultimate culmination of her personal experience and past military and book club relationships.
Gallery Books  Tall Poppy Writers  Simon & Schuster  #TifMarcelo  #Inabookclubfaraway
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If  you are looking for a book  that has strong female friendships then this book is for you. Tif Marcello takes a friendship that begins in an army base and builds it into a life long relationship. Through a book club, spouses that are left at home due to deployment, unite together and have fun delving into adventures related to the book are reading.  Can the friendships survive infidelity, miscarriage, depression, anger and time?  Great book!  This was a 4star read for me.  
I received this copy from NetGalley. Thank you to Gallery books for offering me this book to read and review.
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Adelaide, Regina, and Sophie are best friends.  As Army wives, they understand each other’s lives better than most.  Unfortunately, about a year into the friendship, Regina and Sophie have a horrible argument.  Ten years later, Adelaide’s husband is deployed, she has a toddler at home, and needs gallbladder surgery.  In order to get the help she needs, she tricks Regina and Sophie into visiting her at the same time, hoping to repair the friendship and reveal a secret she has been hiding for a decade.

Cute book. The couples in the book are adorable!  And I would love to attend book club with these ladies.  This book is a great quick weekend read.  Lighthearted and easy.  Super heartwarming, as well.  

Thanks to Tif Marcelo, Gallery Books, and Netgalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.

This one comes out in May, so be sure to keep an eye out for it!
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Three friends, Army wives, were rocks for each other during deployments, returns from deployments, and children being born.  Until something happens and they parted way, two of them not talking to each other.   The third brings them back together when she has surgery and needs their help with recovery and her daughter. 

I love the dynamic of these ladies.    Their friendship is one that withstands time and even when they lose touch when an SOS is sent, they show up.    I like that they call each other out, protect each other, and stand strong in their beliefs.    Even when things are tough, they come together, putting aside their differences and help each other out. 

The different timelines gave me a better understanding of the life they lived while in the military, the way their husbands were involved in their lives, and how they ended up where they are now.   I have a bigger appreciation for the spouse who is not military, the way that they had to step up at home and must keep things in order all on their own.   It is almost like being a single parent.    Life is never easy, but military life has added challenges.
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(Notes to be changed once I finish the book)
Thank you for approving my ARC request. I had already purchased this book through BOTM before I received approval for the ARC.  I began reading the story a few days ago because the publication date as stated here on NetGalley is --May 05 2021.-- I'm a little confused because the pub date for this book is also listed as today (April 06) on Goodreads. My bio promises that I always review books on time and so I wanted the record here to show that I was basing my reviewing schedule by the pub date of May 05, that was stated on NetGalley. 

Thanks again for this opportunity. I'll be sure to post my reviews and record them on Netgalley once I complete the book in a few days. Thank you!
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I've been meaning to read one of Tif's books before now. When I saw this one, the cover full of books and about a book club, I just knew this was the one that I ineeded to read. I loved it!

In a Book Club Far Away has a close, supportive trio of women friends who vow to be there for each other, if and when they receive an SOS. That's how these three women finally come together after so many years on the outs—one of them sends out an SOS and the other two come running. 

Regina, Adelaide, and Sophie are all interesting characters, each with their own personalities and quirks. It was fun getting to know each of them and to see how they all got to where they are today. 

This was a beautiful story of the power of friendship, and forgiveness, with caring characters dealing with everyday problems, as well some deep-rooted misunderstandings. Watching the women be there for one another was a wonderful thing. When women support women, anything can happen. 

And if you are in need of more fantastic books to add to your TBR list, there are numerous title mentioned in the book that would be great to read.

I highly recommend In a Book Club Far Way for a great escape read. I know you will get lost in this amazing story, just like I did.
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A cute book about female friendships!! I will say, this book was a bit hard to get into at the beginning.  But, once I got ~25% of the way in, it really picked up.  Storyline was cute, a little bit different, and had a nice ending. Would recommend!
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One of my favorite themes is friends who become family. Like families, friendships can be complicated and this story did a nice job of exploring the complexities of female friends who are as close as family.
Adelaide, Regina and Sophie bonded over book club a decade ago. At the beginning of the story we learn that there was a falling out that led to the breakdown of the friend group. In the present, each woman is dealing with an internal struggle, and when Adelaide sends an SOS, her friends come to her aid, no questions asked. Slowly the readers learn about the events leading up the friendship rift, and each perspective from the past is shared. 
This was my first book by Tif Marcelo.  I enjoyed the writing and the storyline and would be interested in reading more by this author.
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Eight years ago, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, Regina Castro, and Sophie Walden were inseperable. Stationed at Fort East, they bonded when their partners were deployed and helped each other through every struggles those few months. Then something happened that caused a rift in their relationship, and the group hadn't been the same since. Now, these three women find themselves together again - Adelaide requires emergency surgery, so she tricks Sophie and Regina into both coming to assist during her recovery, and with care for her daughter, while her husband is stationed abroad. Lines were crossed in the past, and faith and trust has been broken and destroyed, but is one week enough time to rebuild some of the time lost to betrayal?
*content warning for discussion of miscarriage*

I really didn't know what to expect going into this book. We are settled into present day, but when the three reunite we are blast into the past to relive what happened on that military base eight years ago. I really enjoyed the structure of this book - typically with dual timeline, it will alternate every other chapter, during seven of the eight parts, we are allowed to explore each perspective in the present first, while then reliving the past with each of the women (part eight is the only section told entirely in the present). I have to appreciate the care that went into exploring each of the three women - Adelaide, Sophie, and Regina all have their individual issues and concerns they are trying to address and overcome throughout the novel, and I never felt confused as to whose perspective I was following (I will say sometimes I mixed up their partners, but they are off page for most of the book so that may have been my fault). Regina, the only single mother of the bunch, is struggling to figure out what to do with her catering business that she loves but isn't bringing in enough money - Sophie, mother to twins, is feeling more and more like she is a single mother trying to take care of everything while her partner is constantly traveling for work - Adelaide, who brought the three together once more, has been harboring guilt over the rift in their friendship, and is scared to allow people she trusts to help her in a time of need. There is a large focus on holding a grudge and misplaced anger in this novel - Regina hasn't spoken to Sophie ever since the incident that caused her to lose trust in her friend all those years ago. It highlights just how much that anger, even if it is misplaced, can harm a frienship and harbor resentment, even unintentionally. The women lost almost eight years of their lives to this feud, years that could have been spent supporting each other through tough times like they had in the past. It was honest and real, and I really liked the conversation it started about evaluating those grudges to see if they truly are worth the resentment.

While I did overall enjoy my experience reading this book, I did have my issues. I found the ending to be a bit rushed - in part eight, an extremely important piece of information is revealed to the reader (that I personally did not see coming, and am not sure others have picked up on it earlier or not), and that leaves only a few chapters for the issue to be resolved and the book to end. I feel like for the importance of that information, and the impact that it ultimately had on our main leads, I would have liked their internal monologues and thought processes to be explored a little more. And I think my main critique of the book is the book club aspect itself. I know it was primarily established as a way for the main characters to be introduced, and that first session garnered great discussion, I found the book club meetings sprinkled throughout the rest of the novel to be a bit underwhelming. I wasn't sure exactly why one wanted an entire trip to New York City, or an escape game, and sometimes the meeting were cancelled and nothing was disccused anyway. I understand that it wasn't the focus of the book, but it at least should have felt important, and for me it didn't. Or at least I would have liked the final "book club," the one Adelaide makes Sophie promise her and Regina will participate in during the present timeline, would have been better explored or explained. It is mentioned a few times when the women pick up to read the book, and they compare how much they've read in comparison to the others, and then at the end it's all wrapped up in just a few paragraphs. The book was chosen specifically because it mirrored what was going on in their lives, so I just wish that parallel could have been better established throughout the course of the entire book, instead of rushed at the end.

In conclusion, I found myself charmed by Tif Marcerlo's writing and connecting with each of the characters in different ways. I can't wait to read more for this author, incuding a new YA release from her late this year. *Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Gallery Books, for the e-copy, all thoughts and opinions are my own.*
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I was so excited to get an ARC of this book because while I do not live on base, my brother and his family do.  From the stories I have been told about life on base and how things are almost "sorority"  feel I couldn't wait to get my hands on what I knew would be drama!  I love stories told from multiple pov's and I also like stories about friendships and how human emotions can divide people.  The writing was clever and I thoroughly enjoyed this.
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4.5 stars.

  In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo is a captivating novel of friendship, forgiveness and self-discovery.

  Ten years ago, Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden are stationed with their significant others at an Army base in upper New York. They meet through Adelaide’s book club and form a tight bond during a months long deployment. Regina and her husband Logan are a dual military company. Although she loves Logan, she is frustrated at his immature behavior. Sophie and her partner Jasper Clemons have been together for several years and are parents to twin daughters. Since she and Jasper are not married, she is delighted to be included in the initial book club invitation. Adelaide and Matt have been through several moves and deployments and she plays a supportive role with all of the Company’s spouses during the current deployment. But she is closest to Regina and Sophie. When their significant others return home from deployment, Regina’s believes Sophie betrayed her and they are no longer friends.

  In the present, the three women are at very different places in their lives. Adelaide and Matt are still in the Army and they are now parents to two-year-old Genevieve. Although, Regina and Sophie are still estranged, she is friends with both of them. Matt is deployed and she needs surgery so she seizes the opportunity to stage a reconciliation between Sophie and Regina. Sending out an SOS to both women since she needs help with Gen, both her friends do not hesitate to drop everything to provide assistance.

  Regina and Logan are now divorced but remain connected by their nine-year-old son. She is no longer in the military and she owns a catering business. She and her business partner are at a crossroads about their catering business. Regina hates to give up her dream, but they have been barely hanging on for quite some time. Although she never remarried, Regina has been chatting on line with baker Henry Just for about eighteen months.  And coincidentally, Adelaide lives in the same town as Henry but will Regina get up the nerve to meet him in person?

  Sophie and Jasper are still together but he is now retired and their daughters are close to going off to college. She is wrestling a bit with what she wants for her future. Sophie still deeply loves Jasper but she is having difficulty articulating to herself what exactly is giving her so much inner turmoil. Will time apart provide Sophie the clarity she needs to figure out what she visualizes for herself and Jasper?

  Adelaide is always upbeat, chipper and puts Matt and the Army first. But she is not looking forward to another move that  is coming up soon after her husband returns from his deployment. Adelaide is also rethinking other goals has always longed for. Will she find a way to explaining her needs to Matt when he comes home? And will she achieve her goal of reuniting Sophie and Regina?

  Seamlessly switching between different points of view, In a Book Club Far Away is a heartwarming novel that weaves back and forth in time. Adelaide, Regina and Sophie are likeable characters that are easy to relate to. The different story arcs are engaging and each of the women’s issues are realistic and relatable. The military serves as a wonderful backdrop for the close-knit friendships to flourish. With unexpected plot twists late in the story, Tif Marcelo brings this captivating novel to an uplifting, sigh-worthy conclusion.

  Reviewer Note: I was a military spouse for twenty-six years and I completely related to many different parts of the storyline. I also saw different parts of myself in each of the characters. This wonderful novel is an accurate portrayal of military life and the close friendships that form between spouses. My best friend is someone I met in 1989 at our first military base. Although most of our friendship has been spent apart, she remains my "ride or die" bestie and we get together once a year for a girls’ trip (boo Covid for messing up last year's trip).  The time and distance always fades away and it is like we have never been apart!
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My overall impression? Underwhelmed. I went into this book with high expectations because I absolutely loved The Key to Happily Ever After.  In a Book Club Far Away follows three women who meet on an army base and bond over book club. A fight tears apart two of them and a major health scare brings the three back together after ten years. The story is told from all three points of view, and I felt the character development was superficial. I didn’t feel like
I really knew the women in this story. The book also jumps from the past to the present and it almost seems rushed, and I was frustrated as I felt I was missing information. Don’t get me wrong, it was a good book, and I recommend the read to everyone who loves a fast read, but it’s just a one time read for me.
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Friends, family, friendships gone array - Army Wives. Didn't really hold my interest, although I did appreciate the strong female roles. Thank you #NetGalley#GalleryBooks
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Genre: women’s fiction
Rating: 📚📚📚.5 (rounded to 4 for Goodreads)
Pub date: April 6th, early release through BOTM in March

Regina, Adelaide, and Sophie leaned on each other through Army wife life - their rule was, if you get an SOS, you answer it immediately. They bonded through their book club, but something tore them apart. Years later, Adelaide sends out another SOS, bringing the group together in the hopes of mending old wounds.

Things I liked:
📚The books! Each part of the book covers one of the books the women read in book club, and it was fun to see how the books tied into the story.

📚Dual timeline - I know some people don't like these, but I love getting a look back at the past!

📚Female friendship - I love reading stories about women supporting each other through hard times, so this was right up my alley.

My reason for giving this 3.5 stars is the pacing - it took a bit too long to get to the big reveal, and then the resolution was pretty fast. More consistent pacing would have brought this up to a 4 star read for me. But I still enjoyed the book - it's a good women's fiction read that will remind you to be thankful for your friends!

Thank you to Gallery Books for providing an ARC on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!
Review posted to Goodreads and Instagram on 3/31/21.
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I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Sometimes, the third time really is the charm, and that is the case with In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo. My first two attempts with her work weren’t bad, but I didn’t fully connect to the characters, even if they worked on a conceptual level. Yet, this concept, about women bonded by their book club, spoke to me, even if other aspects, like that of a military wife and mother,  were outside my lived experience. 

Adelaide, Regina, and Sophie are all intriguing characters with complex inner lives which I was drawn into as the story unfolded. There was also this big question around why Regina and Sophie stopped speaking years ago, even though each maintained a friendship with Adelaide, which I felt was well-explored and foreshadowed through the back-and-forth between past and present. The struggles of being a military spouse are also well conveyed, and how it can often feel like you’re not really able to depend on anyone, even your husband, during tough times, and that serves as a strong source of common ground for the three women. 

I also really liked seeing the role the book club played in their friendship and their lives. It really bonded them; and bonds them again as they come back together. And I liked the fact that their book choices were so varied. From nonfiction (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks) to romance (His at Night by Sherry Thomas), they read broadly, and I enjoyed how this reflected in the themes of the story. The latter is particularly interesting, as while I haven’t personally read it, it reflects the author’s experience as a romance reader and author (her early books were more romance leaning) and her existing connections to the community. Some not in the know would pick up Fifty Shades (there is a reference in there) or some other popular title as a first romance for their characters, but this one reflects a deep level of thought on her part. 

This book is deeply emotional and heartfelt, and really resonating with me as a book lover and providing insights into the lives of military families which I only had peripheral knowledge of in the past. While I did have some minor issues with it, like feeling the ending was a bit rushed, I enjoyed it overall and would recommend this book to others who love heartfelt women’s fiction or books about books (and book clubs).
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This was a quick read that gave me new perspective on the struggles of military families and how that lifestyle can both create amazing bonds and throw wrenches into strong friendships and relationships.
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Tif Marcelo is a veteran US Army nurse and a military spouse, and her love and appreciation for books and military spouses and dependents is evident throughout this novel. The friendships and military culture described felt authentic. Several books are quoted and supplement the story. 

The story is told through a non-linear timeline about a multiracial group of military spouses as they form a book club that helps them form lasting bonds and get through hard times. Appreciated that various perspectives were represented: Dual military couples, long-term/unmarried partners, and spouses of high ranking officers, men with active duty wives.

It explores chosen family (deep friendships), struggles of marriage and parenting, finding purpose, loyalty and trust, loss and survival, and love and dating while also managing the interruptions of deployments and homecomings of an active duty spouse.

While this book covers some hard topics (loss of friendship, miscarriage, divorce), it still felt light. The ending is sweet and happy, and I don’t feel like enough books make you feel good (especially outside of the romance genre). 

After reading this, I understand the sacrifices of military families better and have a greater appreciation for them and for my chosen family.
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This is the story of three women, Adelaide, Regina, and Sophie - military wives/partners - who become each other's chosen family. It is a story of strong female friendships in the midst of the chaos of spouses/significant others' deploying, with each of the friends struggling with something - raising twins, infertility, an unplanned pregnancy, and a needed surgery. No spoilers, but the three friends get past a rift in the friendship between the two of them as well as a divorce and come out stronger. I enjoyed it and recommend it. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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