About The Story of Our LivesPaperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Graydon House (February 6, 2018)
They think nothing can tear their bond apart, until a long-buried secret threatens to destroy everything.
Every year they have met up for a vacation, but their time away is much more than just a bit of fun. Over time, it has become a lifesaver, as each of them struggles with life’s triumphs and tragedies.
Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa have been best friends since they were girls. They have seen each other through everything—from Sophie’s private fear that she doesn’t actually want to be a mother despite having two kids, to Amy’s perfect-on-the-outside marriage that starts to reveal troubling warning signs, to Melissa’s spiraling alcoholism, to questions that are suddenly bubbling up around the paternity of Emily’s son. But could a lie that spans just as long as their friendship be the thing that tears them apart?
About Helen WarnerHelen Warner is head of daytime for Channel 4, where she is responsible for shows such as Come Dine With Me and Deal Or No Deal. Previously she worked for ITV where she launched the daytime talk show Loose Women and was editor of This Morning. She lives in East Anglia with her husband and their two children.
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I wish I could tell you just how much I loved this book, but fear there are not enough words to describe it.
For one, this book was written so brilliantly that the words just seemed to flow from page to page, effortlessly telling a story that had me hooked from the very first page.
The story is about 4 friends, Sophie, Melissa, Emily and Amy. Every year, they meet up for a weekend of girl time, they talk, they drink wine, they eat good food and catch up on each other's lives.
Everything seems just perfect, but things suddenly start derailing into a world of secrets, lies, betrayals and most of all, friendship that will withstand the test of time and everything that is thrown their way.
Sophie is in a long term relationship with Steve, they are not married but they absolutely adore each other. Sophie spends a night with a coworker and shortly after finds out she's pregnant. The uncertainty of who her daughter Emma belongs to proves to be too much for Sophie who ends up not enjoying her pregnancy and almost resenting the baby once she's born. She goes on to suffer a miscarriage and eventually another pregnancy that produces her beautiful son Theo.
Emily is a single mother to Jack, and has never told anyone, including her best friends, who his father is. The girls suspect Anton, but she's never denied or confessed. Years later, after a small accident with her son, the doctors run some blood tests and find out he has Leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant. Emily is now faced with having to finally reveal who the father is.
Melissa is a party girl, and well on the way to suffering some serious consequences due to the amount of alcohol she ingests. A drunken night encounter with Amy's husband puts a huge strain on the friendship with the other girls and she's forced to change her ways or lose the only family she's ever truly known.
Amy is married to Nick, this handsome seemingly perfect husband, and they end up having two children together, Megan and George, but not all is what it seems, and the friends soon begin suspecting that their marriage is not as perfect as Amy tries to portray, matter of fact, it's downright dangerous.
As the friends navigate their lives individually and together, secrets come to the surface, the paternity of Jack is finally revealed sending shock waves through the group, Amy has to come face to face with the reality that she is in an abusive relationship and if she doesn't get out, she will end up dead. Melissa needs to change her life around and deal with the consequences and effects of alcoholism and Sophie is given the biggest shock of her life in the form of a huge betrayal by one of the women.
I could not put the book down and by the time the end page came around, I wanted to cry. I wanted more, and was quite upset that it had all come to an end.
The Story of Our Lives is quite simply the perfect retelling of women friendships through many years from University to 20 years down the line. I loved that Helen Warner chose to tell it in periods of year to year, in different holiday cottages, and always mentioning a big event from that year as well, from the death of Princess Diana to the release of the last Harry Potter novel and other world news.
This book made me a Helen Warner fan and I can not wait to read her previous books.