Mar 21 2014 4:00pm

First Look: Robyn Carr’s Four Friends (April 1, 2014)

Four Friends by Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr
Four Friends
Harlequin MIRA / March 25, 2014 / $14.95 print, $10.99 digital

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 them. Always the anchor for friends and her three angst-ridden teenagers, it's time to look carefully at herself. The journey is more than revealing—it's transforming.

Andy doesn't have a great track record with men, and she's come to believe that a lasting love is out of reach. When she finds herself attracted to her down-to-earth 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.

In Four Friends, Robyn Carr explores the good, the bad and the ugly in challenging marriages, and the different way the women involved come to terms with those problematic issues. They are in for a bumpy ride, but with the support of each other, they see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Gerri Gilbert would have taken it to the bank that she and Phil, her husband of twenty six years, have a strong, solid marriage. Both are working professionals, raising three kids, and their marriage is a shining example that it can be done. Except when she goes to surprise Phil at the office, she gets her own surprise. Oh, it is not that uncomplicated—she doesn’t find that he is having an affair, just that he had one six years ago, and she was completely oblivious to the fact. She still would have been in the dark except Phil’s assistant, Kelly, lets it slip when she breaks down, worried that her husband John is seeing someone else.

“I think I admire you more than anyone,” Kelly said.

“Aww, come on…”

“Being able to forgive him for something like that…That took such courage, such commitment.”… “I’d forgive John an affair, if he just wanted to be forgiven, to be together again, like we were.“

Andy’s breakup is certainly no surprise to her or Gerri, her close friend of 15 years. Andy met Bryce when she was forty five and he was only thirty four. He made her feel young, and the sex was fabulous. Plus he was great with her fifteen year old son. But even before a year was out she knew that she had made a mistake. She just didn’t want to admit it. But there is just so many times that you can make yourself believe that your husband had a reason for staying out all night, and that the perfume smell on him came from a woman sitting too close to him at a business dinner.

“Oh, Andy, I hate that this is happening…”

“Like I said, it’s overdue. If I’d had a brain, I wouldn’t have gotten into it to start with.”

“So what got you into it?” Sonja asked.

She shrugged. “I think it was his basic equipment. Handsome, funny, endowed.” She looked up from her work. “I was just so lonely by the time he came along. You know?“

Sonja Johanson has only lived in the neighborhood for few years, but she is a great neighbor. In fact, she is wonderful to have around when you are sick or hurt or in trouble. But Sonja’s profession as a Feng Shui consultant, home organizer and life reader, along with her compulsively healthy lifestyle—she is also a vegetarian, novice herbalist, part-time yoga and meditation instructor—leave Andy and Gerri only able to take her in small doses. Her husband didn’t have that option, and he finally reaches the end of his limits:

“George,” she said, surprised. “Do you have to leave town?”

He turned slowly. Gravely. “No, Sonja. I’m leaving. I’ve rented a place. I’m sorry, Sonja. I’m moving out. I just can’t do this anymore.”

“Do? This?”

“The candles. The tinkling music. The little waterfalls. The bland meals. The way-out-there philosophies on destinies being altered by where people put the goddamn red candle. I just want a normal life.”

With all three women facing life changing calamities in their personal lives, they fail to realize that one of them is unable to cope and is on the brink of a psychotic breakdown. It takes BJ Smith, an outsider and a loner, who has repeatedly resisted the women’s offer of friendship, who recognizes the dangerous situation for what it is, because she has her own history of marital problems.

Fans of Robyn Carr, and fans of the trope “can this marriage be saved,” will find plenty to enjoy in Ms. Carr’s latest release.

Learn more or order a copy of Four Friends by Robyn Carr, available March 25, 2014:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & Noble



Leigh Davis, Blogger

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