Thursday, October 05, 2023

Blog tour: When We Were Friends by Samantha Tonge

When you were a teenager did you have a friendship that was so strong that you just knew was going to last forever, and yet it didn't. I did. I became friends with her at a church camp and once we clicked we totally clicked. We spent a lot of time together and we talked about everything, especially her love life (mainly because I didn't really have one), past future, everything. In our first jobs we ended up working quite close to each other so we would meet for lunch. And then we went on holiday together, came back, and that was it. We were no longer friends. Even now I can't tell you what happened, and I have thought about it a lot over the years.

Morgan, Paige, Tiff and Emily had a friendship like that. They were thick as thieves all through high school. Together, they were the Secret Gift Society, always having each other's back and solving small mysteries for others as well. They were inseparable. The difference between them and my friendship is that they all know exactly what happened to end their friendship. It was explosively, spectacularly  destroyed in public at their school dance and they have never spoken since

Nineteen years later Morgan needs their help. Her 18 year old son really needs to know who his father is, a secret that Morgan has never told anyone. She puts a coded message in the alumni newsletter asking The Secret Gift Society to meet up, not knowing if any of them will see the message, let alone show up. They do, although it is reluctantly as the hurt that was caused on that night so long ago has left a lasting impact on all of them.

This book covers a lot of ground. As the story unwinds we learn about the issues that each of them are facing as adults, ranging from infertility to divorce, to the impact that working as a frontline nurse during Covid has, and more. The women are all wary to share their truths with each other, which is understandable given the distrust that they all feel. We also learn what happened in the lead up to the argument that destroyed the friendship, and the things that they all kept from each other then, some of which are really big issues in themselves

There is a lot going on in this book as the women look back at their past, and then evaluate their current lives. In an effort to help Morgan, the group travels to the south of France and then to Cornwall and we gradually see each of them coming to some kind of realisation about the part that they played in the destruction of their friendship, and about the current issues that they are facing, as well as deciding if their is any future for them as friends now. I particularly liked the way the author addressed the fact that there are often things that we don't tell anyone, even the people we tell everything too. There is also a big twist towards the middle of the book that I must confess I did not see coming. When I finished the book I was like, okay, I can see how that happened but when I was reading it definitely came out of the blue.

I like Samantha Tonge's books. They always have that little bit extra than just a run of the mill book in her genre. I already know I will be looking for the next one from her!

Thanks to the publisher, Netgalley and Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to review this book.

About the book

When We Were Friends

Four friends, one big secret... and the journey of a lifetime.

It’s nineteen years since they stopped speaking to each other, but now Morgan needs to contact her three best friends from school: Paige, Emily and Tiff.

Her teenage son wants to meet his dad and Morgan can’t ignore his requests any longer. And Paige, Emily and Tiff all knew what actually happened back then. Even if that was what led to their friendship group falling apart, they’re the only people Morgan can think of who might be able help her find the man who disappeared without a trace before she could tell him she was pregnant.

Can Morgan persuade her old friends to go on a road trip to track him down? As adults – with marriages, children and a whole bucket-load of their own problems – will they be able to work together to solve the mystery? And if so – just when forgiveness for the past looks like it might be possible – how will they cope with the biggest shock of all?

A story about love, families and how the people who know you best are the ones you will always need in your life. Totally heartbreaking, brilliant, uplifting fiction for fans of Jill Mansell, Paige Toon and Sheila O’Flanagan.

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About the author

Samantha Tonge is the bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen romantic fiction titles published by HQ, and most recently Aria. Her first book for Boldwood, Under One Roof, will be published in February 2022 and marks a broadening of her writing into multi-generational woman’s fiction. She lives in Manchester with her family.

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  1. Great intro to the book review sharing your personal experience and yes, (although I never thought about it before) I had such a friendship with my friend Donna. From 9th to 12th grade we were inseparable and shared everything. Then as we both went to different colleges, when we got together, it was never the same and the friendship ended.

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