Wednesday, April 2, 2014

8 Heart Review: Four Friends by Robyn Carr + Giveaway! (US)

Four Friends
by Robyn Carr
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Page Count: 368

Release Date: March 25th 2014
Publisher: MIRA (Harlequin)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Little Bird!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr comes the story of four friends determined to find their stride. Ultimately, they'll discover what it means to be a wife, mother, lover, friend... and most importantly: your true self.

Gerri can't decide what's more devastating: learning her rock-solid marriage has big cracks, or the anger she feels as she tries to repair the damage. Always the anchor for friends and her three angst-ridden teenagers, it's time to look carefully at herself. The journey for Gerri and her family is more than revealing—it's transforming.

Andy doesn't have a great track record with men, and she's come to believe that for her a lasting love is out of reach. When she finds herself attracted to her down-to-earth, ordinary contractor—a man without any of the qualities that usually appeal to her—she questions everything she thought she wanted in life.

Sonja's lifelong pursuit of balance is shattered when her husband declares he's through with her New Age nonsense and walks out. There's no herbal tonic or cleansing ritual that can restore her serenity—or her sanity.

Miraculously, it's BJ, the reserved newcomer to Mill Valley, who steps into their circle and changes everything. The woman with dark secrets opens up to her neighbors, and together they get each other back on track, stronger as individuals and unfaltering as friends.

"[Andy]. Short for Anastasia.... Know what it means?"
"Can't say I do."
"One who will rise again," she said.
[Bob] gave a friendly nod. "And of course you will."
She took a deep breath and sighed heavily. "I just hope it's not again and again and again."

They were three suburban queens, and they had the perfect lives. But when each Gerri, Andy, and Sonja's lives begin to crumble before their very eyes—as if the entire neighborhood is falling apart—these three women discover that life in paradise isn't so grand after all.

Gerri's realization that she has an imperfect marriage is startling because her husband was the one person she could always depend on. She and Phil were the power couple of Mill Valley; it was never part of the equation for him to slip. Andy's marriages were never so secure, but it doesn't mean her most recent divorce is any less heartbreaking, and it certainly doesn't mean she won't survive the aftermath. Sonja's entire system of belief and lifestyle collapses when her husband tells her he can't tolerate her anymore, which pushes her to the brink of sanity—with indeterminable hopes of coming back. The new girl on the block, the closed-off but well-meaning BJ, never had the perfect life—never had the privileges of the upper middle-class—but when she enters the other three women's radar, her fresh perspective and sobering background help everyone find the strength to piece their disintegrating lives back together again.

What's so extraordinary about a book like Four Friends is that it isn't completely innovative but it still absorbs you completely; it isn't groundbreaking or terribly thrilling—in fact, it's very contemporary, very domestic, very everyday—and that's just the thing: it's for everyday women, a story whose emotional relevance everyone understands.

Each of the four women's subplots combine with the others smoothly, creating a comprehensive, clear picture of not only the individual struggles, but also the overarching friendship. It's impossible not to get involved in the lives of these outwardly "normal" women, because their stories are so personal, so real. It makes for the best women's fiction; it brings to light issues that the everyday woman—if not you, then at least your best friend, or your sister, or mother, or daughter—faces regularly or has faced before.

Robyn Carr writes with a confident hand, creating lovable, vibrant characters and an engaging plot. Even in its normalcy, the storyline is anything but boring! I love just how interesting everyone from the book is. There are so many amazing secondary characters introduced—the children, the mothers-in-law, and so on—that I wish each of them had had equal screen time (page time?), but most of the novel revolves around Gerri.

All four women will undergo life-changing mental, physical, and spiritual transformations in the wake of their seemingly impossible-to-win battles, and although it might put them through hell, it guarantees they will emerge from it all—perhaps, even stronger than they were before.

The magic of Four Friends is that these four women face what everyone faces in middle adulthood: menopause, abuse, divorce, unfaithful spouses, wayward children, heartless exes, distant lovers, and unexpected acquaintances; but it comes with encouraging and empowering anecdotes on the importance of family, companions, and of course, friends.

Pros


A feel-good novel that sends you on an emotional roller coaster // Gerri is an incredibly lovable, incredible human character; I admire her so much! // Each of the women's stories is told in perfect harmony and balance // Fluid, easy to read; well-written and stylistically conversational // Includes both R-rated romance and G-rated sentiment // Taking a glimpse at these four lives is fascinating; you will become immersed!

Cons


Most of the characters are two-dimensional. They're likable and interesting but I wish Carr would have gone into more depth with them // Ending feels rushed, messy, and like a quick fix

Love

"I can't stop thinking about something my mother always used to say. If the rope gets cut, you can tie it back together, but there will always be a knot in it."

"Darling, when I look at the rope that belongs to [my husband] and me, so imperfect, so often broken and reconnected, I just assumed all those knots were there to give us something to hang on to."

Verdict


Four Friends is one of those books that overflows with love, in all of the familial, romantic, and companionable sense. It's a cozy story about family and devoted, symbiotic relationships, but also possesses scorching chemistry—the kind of fire that genuine love never loses—and emotional upheaval with which everyone will be able to sympathize. Robyn Carr fans will be pleased with her traditional "feel good" style and sharp characters, but should definitely expect something different with her newest novel. Four Friends goes beyond the usual romance formula in acknowledging the resilience of the human heart in times of deep personal turmoil, as well as highlights triumph amidst chaos thanks to the power of simply having one other Americanflag

8 hearts: An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended (x)

Giveaway!


Books à la Mode is giving away one print copy of Four Friends so you get the chance to read this fabulous new Robyn Carr novel yourself—yay!! To enter, all you have to do is tell me:
Have you ever had a crisis with which your friends were a monumental help? What happened?

Don't forget to include your email address in your comment so I know who to contact when I randomly select winner. Don't make me track you down!!!! No email = No entry!
Please make your comment MEANINGFUL. Comments solely consisting of stock responses or irrelevant fluff like "Thanks for the giveaway!" will not be considered for entry. Robyn and I really want to hear from you guys! :)

Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publicist—a huge thank you to Little Bird Publicity!
Giveaway ends April 16th at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only. Sorry, international readers! Please be sure to check my sidebar where all my currently-running giveaways are listed; there are plenty you can enter.
Void where prohibited.
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!

12 comments:

  1. I don't have very many female friends and only one best friend, so I envy those with a "group" :) My BF and I lost another very close friend a month ago and we found ourselves leaning hard on each other. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I've heard great things about this book, thanks for the chance to win a copy. Without going into too much detail, when my wife and I were experiencing a crisis in our marriage, two friends traveled 2800 miles to help mediate. We will always be grateful that they did. Thanks again, carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx

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  3. My husband had a health issue which required us to get help out of state. We had many friends step in and look after our kids. It was great not having to worry about them as well.

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  4. While I was in graduate school my then boyfriend of 8 years had cheated on me. I was completely devastated. I was having a difficult time coming to terms with what happened, because it felt completely out of the blue. Plus, I couldn't really mope around my apartment, I had to go to work, attend classes and meetings, and take exams (leave it to him to break up with me the same week I had two exams!). My sister and friends were there for me whenever I needed a good cry and someone to listen to all my wailing. Then I would put on a brave face when I was in public. But I got through it, plus I aced both my exams. =D

    ann [dot] m [dot] vuong [at] gmail [dot] com

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  5. No I guess I'm lucky no issues ,natbelinsky@verizon.net

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  6. In 2001 I suffered from PTSD symptoms that were so bad I could not even drive a car (I would pass out constantly). My friends would drive me to the grocery store and literally pick me up in the midst of my fainting episodes and seizures. They made sure I was safe. They made sure my son was safe. During this time I could not even hold a job. I don't know what I would have done without their support.

    KellysShining(at)gmail(dot)com

    PS Thanks for sharing your review. I love how you covered so many aspects with your pros, cons and loves.

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  7. I've been really lucky that when I've had a serious issue, my family has always been there for me.

    SuzyQ4PR at aol dot com

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  8. Robyn Carr is such a great writer. I loved Virgin River and now I love Thunder Point. Her womens fiction books are excellent as well. I am looking forward to reading this book. She is really good at writing female friendships.

    leanna.hiner at gmail. com

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  9. I've had many crisis where my friends have been a huge help. I have an awesome support system. From rotten first husbands, to cheaters and so on. They have always been there to pick up the pieces give support, never judge and offer to beat the crap out of people.

    jenbook4 at gmail.com

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  10. Oh absolutely. Just recently, I was unsure of wether or not to get my son into counseling. My friends talked to me and gave me advice. I really respect their opinions.
    bekki1820cb at gmail dot com

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  11. Hi Kelly! You're our lucky winner for the print copy of Four Friends—congrats! Please watch your inbox for an email from me on how you can claim your prize. Thanks for stopping by, and hope you enjoy the book! xo

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  12. Thank you thank you thank you! I am so stoked! I'll keep my eyes peeled!

    ReplyDelete

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