Just Between Friends

Author: Sandra Steffen

Publisher: Zebra Books

Release Date: January 2005

Blue Ribbon Rating: 5

Format: PRINT

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Friendship is a treasured gift.  Knowing there are people who care about you and will help you through your darkest times can make any heart that has been scorched by pain seem much lighter.  Friends can have you soaring across the sky and bring you great solace through the warmth of their smile or a gentle hand upon your shoulder.  JUST BETWEEN FRIENDS is such a story.  Please join me as I take you on a journey through the souls of three friends who have been brought together again.  It is through their combined knowledge of life’s challenges that the thread of friendship is carried on for all eternity.  Come, take my hand, allow me the gift of your friendship as we wander through the pages of this heartwarming novel. 

Brooke Valentine grew up believing in love.  She thought she had found the one who would forever remain true and walk hand in hand with her across the universe.  She is now rethinking her life.  In only a few hours, her world was shattered.  The loss of a job that she truly enjoyed and the realization that her once-cheating husband, Colin, was back to his old ways caught her off guard.  For in one instant, life as she knew it had changed drastically.  What is left to say when you find your husband kissing another woman?  What hurts her more than anything is that she had already forgiven his past indiscretions several years ago.  His promise of fidelity has faded along with the dreams that he and Brooke shared with their daughter, Sophie. In her heart, Brooke knows her marriage is over.  But what will she do?  Where will she go? 


Even through her sadness, there is a ray of sunshine that has come into Brooke’s life.  Her sister, Eve, will be getting married very soon.  It’s through Eve’s happiness and desire to have her sister share in this special time in her life, that gives Brooke the incentive she needs to do something quite painful.  She will take Sophie and leave her beautiful and prestigious home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and travel to her hometown of Alcott, New Hampshire where Eve still resides. 


Making a new life for themselves, Brooke and Sophie must face some major emotional issues, decisions that hold deep pain yet harbor the promise of a new tomorrow.  They must also discover the joys of making new friends while reconnecting with friends of old.  It’s through these people that Brooke and Sophie discover just how strong they are and can be. 


Now that Brooke is back home in Alcott, she is able to see for herself what has been happening to Sara, one of her two dear friends from her youth.  Sara has changed so very much because of an abusive marriage. The one shining star in Sara’s life is her son, Seth.  When Brooke sees just what Sara has been coping with all of these years, she knows she must help her.  Together they forge a new bond – one that carries with it an understanding and strength that will never be broken. 


When Claudia, the third of the best friends, arrives in Alcott to make sense out of what is happening to her friends, the fireworks begin.  Claudia, a talented businesswoman, is feisty and speaks her mind.  Men fall at her feet – especially one man in particular.  Julian and his sensual British accent leave her weak in the knees.  But, she’s afraid to admit many things, not only to herself but to Julian as well.


Just when Brooke thinks she’s on solid ground, the earth begins to move and shake, causing sensations she’s never known before.  How could this be?  How could a man named Mac, who she’s never even kissed, make her blood boil and her heart race like it does whenever she’s in his company?  She smiles and laughs so much more and she looks forward to seeing him.  He makes her feel different, and she likes that so very much.


Mac has his own demons that haunt him.  He’s only in Alcott because of his father’s declining health.  But, when he meets Brooke Valentine, something happens – something he never thought possible. 


I have never been so taken by a book.  Sandra Steffen has written an absolutely wonderful novel, rich with friendship, and ripe with love and the realities of life.  This is friendship at its finest moment.  Her talented writing style opened a new world for me, one which was filled with laughter and love, sadness and tears, and more importantly, hope. It reminded me just how wonderful and precious friendship truly is.  There is nothing sweeter.  JUST BETWEEN FRIENDS holds a special place inside my heart because I care so much about Brooke and her family and friends. Sandra Steffen has given me a wonderful gift, the gift of her writing, and I thank her immensely.


By Romance Junkies Reviewer: Patti Fleishman

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