cover image The Friendship List

The Friendship List

Susan Mallery. HQN, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-335-13696-1

Mallery (Sisters by Choice) entices with this summery standalone about best friends choosing to go outside their comfort zones. Lifelong friends Unity Leandre and Ellen Fox have supported one another through thick and thin. Now Ellen fears that her son, Cooper, won’t go away to college because he knows she depends on him and Unity worries she’ll never break free of grief for her husband, Stuart, who died three years earlier. To break out of their ruts, the women challenge one another with summer to-do lists. Ellen’s list includes getting a tattoo and ending her sexual dry spell, while Unity focuses on expanding her social circle and moving her business to an office. When Ellen agrees to chaperone a college trip for Cooper and his classmates, sparks fly between her and her fellow chaperone, high school coach Keith Kinne—but Keith wants more than just casual sex. Meanwhile, Unity meets handsome, successful Thaddeus, but she isn’t convinced she can have a relationship with him without betraying her love for Stuart. Mallery’s authentic characters and their refreshing summer escapades are sure to resonate. The emphasis on the power of friendship and the joy of new romance make this sparkling novel a sure hit with women’s fiction fans. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.)