This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Susan Lobban
Looking back to her childhood, Hilary Hammond does not have fond memories of Colette O’Mahony. Being forced to include the snobby girl in her games was not something she relished. However, that same superficial girl actually became her best friend as the years passed and they grew up together. Now with families of their own, they no longer live in each other’s pockets, but their friendship has lasted despite the miles that separate them.
Colette is used to just dropping in to see Hilary when it suits her, so she is in for surprise when, one night, she flies in from London and her best friend is as thick as thieves with someone else. Jonathan and Colette instantly rub one another up the wrong way and Hilary is caught in the middle. She may have only known her new friend a few hours, but both are certain that they will be life long buddies.
It turns out that setting up a business with Jonathan is the ideal fit and both their professional and personal relationship goes from strength to strength. Colette, meanwhile, may seem to be in a totally different league from Hilary, but everything is not all as it seems. No matter what else you have in your life, it means nothing without true friendship.
As much as I love Patricia Scanlan books, when her latest thudded through the post I was a bit daunted by the size of it. However, I needn’t have worried as from the minute I started the pages just turned themselves and in no time at all I was halfway through!Hilary and Colette are reluctant school friends with nothing in common, but they are forced together by their parents. At first I felt sorry for Colette as she overheard Hilary moaning to her mother about having to play with her, but the more we get to know her, we realize she can give as good as she gets. Hilary and Colette are polar opposites and as such I loved reading about their friendship ups and downs over the passing years. The fact that their relationship was tested to the limit time and time again made the storyline realistically riveting. A saga spanning decades can often become boring at points as it drags on, but in this case Scanlan manages to keep my interest right to the last page and the jump forwards between sections set the right pace. The fact that both women had their own daughters created a new generation of problems and worries.
Hilary and Colette had great depth as characters, especially as neither simply put up with what life dealt them. Jonathan, on the other hand, I did not really take to. He seemed far too happy to just let others fix things in his life, either his therapist or Hilary, who he latched onto mere hours after meeting her for the first time.
A Time for Friends shows the passing of time is all too fleeting and every moment counts. It’s easy to be a friend when everything is good in life, but it is when things are tough that you find out who can stand strong beside you. As a firm fan of Patricia Scanlan, I truly believe this book is one of her best. If you have yet to read any of her novels then it is time to add this author to your reading list.