Publisher : Harlequin (US and Canada) , Graydon House
Publishing Date : 13th February 2018
Genre : Women’s Fiction, Contemporary
No woman in this world would be able to survive without the constant support and cheer from her girlfriends who are always present whenever you need a comforting hug or to listen to soothing words or just to unburden yourself. ‘The Story of Our Lives’ by Helen Warner is a tribute to that friendship that is inevitable in our lives. I bet every woman out there can identify with the premise of this novel as who doesn’t have that group of tight knit friends who, though might be far apart in terms of distance, are so close to our hearts that we feel their support and love every day in our life. The book reminded me of my best friends from college and how our friendship grew and strengthened through the various experiences we shared and survived.
‘The Story of Our Lives’ traces the life of four friends – Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa – who are friends from college and still meet each other at least once in a year. As each of them go through various low phases in their lives that shake their marriage, profession and even their relationships with each other, they still find comfort and solace in one another. However, is their friendship strong enough to withstand all the challenges thrown in its way?
The book is designed in a way such that each chapter happens at least a year apart when the friends meet up for a casual getaway or for celebrating certain milestone in each other’s life. However, we do not feel any gaps in the story even with this form of narration as Helen Warner goes through the important events of each characters’ life. The characters of Sophie, Emily, Amy and Melissa are all strong women trying to mark their place the world and work towards achieving their goals. The characters are well developed with each having their own strengths and weaknesses. Also, the author has managed to realistically capture the group dynamics of the quartet as we can see that there is a varying level of comfort between each of the friends. Through the lives of these friends, Helen Warner has portrayed various sensitive issues that are plaguing the modern woman ranging from single parents to post-partum depression and even domestic abuse. Kudos to the author for maturely handling these sensitive issues and showing to the readers how important roles other women play in elevating the victims of these problems.
Although all the characters are given importance, it is obvious that the author is more drawn towards the character of Sophie as she shines through the entire novel as a beacon of understanding and compassion. Emily is portrayed as aloof but stubborn and strong whereas Amy is feminine and caring. Melissa has been portrayed as the wild sheep of the group with her carefree life and acerbic tongue. Each characters are given their own mountains to conquer with it serving as an opportunity for the characters to grow. However, towards the end, I was a little disappointed as I felt the novel ended abruptly without giving much information regarding Amy and Emily. The novel also brandishes a big mystery towards the end that might shake the foundation of the friendship. However this mystery is easy to fathom and will not take the readers by surprise.
Overall, I would rate this book as a must read for all women just to understand the experiences related in the book and to enjoy the wonderful friendship etched across its pages. This is a great book to be shared among your girls group if all your friends are into reading. I would like to credit Helen Warner in writing this beautiful book of female solidarity when the whole world is showcasing women as malicious and spiteful to each other.