The bonds of friendship are sometimes tighter than the ties of your own family. That's the general theme running through Goudge's new novel.

Fifteen years after their college graduation, four friends find they are as tight now as they were then, even though their lives have changed dramatically. Emerson, who has always enjoyed the good life, is now a divorced single mom with the desire for a man who could change everything she's ever known in a second. Jay is married and due to be a dad any day, while Franny wishes for a little one of her own. Stevie's used to reporting the news, not having her life be a part of the dramatic events other people cringe at. Their stories are unique, and in the way of true friends, they unite to conquer life's ups and downs.

While the overlying tone of the book has good intentions, the story is slow moving and very difficult to get into. As dramatic and detailed as Goudge's writing is, her gifts are not strongly displayed in this story. The characters are heartwarming, but her dialogue is wearing and takes away from the story as a whole.

The overarching theme that friends sometimes equal a family is a good one, but it could have been developed much more deeply. Goudge may have written a good beach read, but chances are it would take most of the vacation to get past the first few chapters. (May, 352 pp., $24.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kristen Foley