- Title: Now and Then Friends
- Series: Hartly-by-the-Sea #2
- Author: Kate Hewitt
- Pages: 368
- Genre: Women’s Fiction
- Published: July 2016 – NAL
- Source: Publisher; NetGalley
Description: Childhood best friends Rachel Campbell and Claire West have not only grown up, but after fifteen years, they’ve also grown apart…
After her father left, Rachel had to dedicate her life to managing her household: her two younger sisters, her disabled mother, and her three-year-old nephew. When Rachel’s not struggling to look after all of them, she makes her living cleaning the houses of wealthy families—inclulding the Wests, where a surprise now awaits her. . . .
A lifetime of drifting in other people’s currents has finally left Claire high and dry. First it was her parents, then the popular crowd in school, and finally her fiancé. Now she’s returned to Hartley-by-the-Sea to recover. But running into Rachel brings back memories of past mistakes, and Claire wonders if she now has the courage to make them right.
Soon Claire’s brother, Andrew, asks Rachel to keep an eye on Claire, which is the last thing either woman wants. But as their lives threaten to fall apart, both Claire and Rachel begin to realize what they need most is a friend. The kind of friend they once were to each other, and perhaps can be again. . . . (publisher)
My take: Author Kate Hewitt takes readers back to the Lake District village of Hartley-by-the-Sea where we meet Claire and Rachel. These two twenty-somethings were friends when they were very young but circumstances beyond their control put an end to that friendship. Claire was very sheltered by her family and Rachel had to grow up too fast. They meet again as adults but still carry the hurt from the lost friendship.
I liked all of the characters in this book. I think most readers could relate on some level with each one. These people have experienced loss, some more deeply than others. Because of their experiences, they have trust issues and live rather closed-off lives. I enjoyed how Hewitt brought them along as they gained new perspective on their lives and the people closest to them.
Ultimately, Now and Then Friends is an uplifting novel of families and friendship. I enjoyed it. Recommended to fans of Kate Hewitt and women’s fiction.