NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

When We Were Friends by Elizabeth Joy Arnold

3.0 out of 5 stars Predictable melodrama..., March 8, 2011
This novel, the first I've read by this author, was a fast-paced but predictable and totally unbelievable story. Two women who were best friends as teenagers before they had a falling out in high school conspire in a plot that involves kidnapping, accusations of child abuse, infidelity, and a love triangle.

Lainey and Sydney were "blood" sisters during childhood. During their high school years, Sydney turns on Lainey and puts her down in order to be part of a popular crowd. Years pass. Sydney marries, has a baby, and Lainey is left behind at home to care for her mother who has some psychiatric issues that include agoraphobia. Lainey is an artist painting murals for a living when she runs into Sydney when hired to do a mural at a local occult shop. Sydney seems overjoyed at their reunion and suggests that the two become reacquainted. During the get together, Sydney relates tales of abuse that she and her daughter Jacqueline have experienced and expresses a fear of her husband. She proposes the most outlandish plan -- Lainey should take the baby and hide her until Sydney can get things together and leave her husband while retaining custody of her daughter. Needless to say, the idea is poorly conceived and completely preposterous, but Lainey acquiesces, takes "Molly" and departs -- thus begins the rest of the novel.

Where does Lainey go? Who does she meet along the way? What connection, if any, does this man have with her friend and what are the "bad things" he has done? No spoilers here, but the novel bumps along in a very predictable fashion with no surprises. The characters are not particularly interesting and I thought they were definitely unlikeable. I read on to the conclusion without much interest in the outcome as I knew full well what it would be. I wouldn't say this was a novel about friendship. I doubt that any sane person would do what Lainey did. Hmmmm.

Ho-hum novel, borrow it if you want to read it.

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