cover image Sister Friends Forever

Sister Friends Forever

Kimberla Lawson Roby. Grand Central, $29 (336p) ISBN 978-1-5387-0895-8

In the uneven latest from Roby (It’s a Thin Line), four friends help each other weather hard times and remain grounded in their Christian faith. Kenya, Lynette, Michelle, and Serena have been best friends since they met at church as young children, and now, in their 40s, they carry on a decade-long tradition of meeting for lunch each month to discuss their complicated lives. Serena struggles to keep faith that God will lead her to her soulmate after her boyfriend cheats on her. Kenya’s happy marriage is upended by her husband’s bitter ex-wife, who uses Kenya’s stepson as a pawn to leverage more child support. Lynette has recently emerged from a tough divorce and falls for a younger man, only to get blindsided when his secrets come to light. Michelle’s marriage plans unravel when her recently divorced ex-boyfriend declares he still has feelings for her. The plot is fast-paced and packs some juicy surprises, but the supporting characters can feel one-dimensional and simplistically depicted as either wholly deserving or undeserving of readers’ empathy, a fault especially evident in the unsympathetic portrayals of Kenya’s husband’s ex-wife and Serena’s boyfriend’s paramour. Winning leads can’t quite save this. (Aug.)