What we say – review by Elizabeth Wright: Best Chick Lit

“The first book in this collection of novels is a beautiful introduction into the lives of Penny, Suzanne, Caitlin and Rebecca. The one thing that really stands out from the story is perhaps to be expected, but none-the-less truly warms the heart and that is the friendship. A friendship that lasts a lifetime is something that everyone hopes for, but is actually quite rare. As we move on through schools, jobs and homes it is so easy to lose contact with people, yet the Friendship Diaries are a real lesson in the value of friendship. The 4 women are always there to support each other through the good and the bad, with never a hint of jealousy, lies or fatigue.

The groundwork that is laid out in the first book in regards to the personalities of each of the women makes the second book all the more emotional. I found myself caught up in the heartbreak of Rebecca and Caitlin who both fell for men with disgusting character-traits. What is beautiful about these stories is that Sarah Bevan Fischer doesn’t leave anything out. You learn all about the little nuances of character of each of the children, ultimately feeling as if they were your friend’s child rather than a fictional character. Fischer covers all the issues that people deal with in life, both in the 70s and 80s and today – from post-natal depression to an abusive relationship.

Book 3 enters the lives of these 4 women and their respective partners and children with a sense of confused security, as in theory their lives are now set out clearly, yet still the world finds ways to mix things up. As with any good series, by now you feel like you know each of the women and even their partners extremely well, feeling their emotions much more intimately. Without giving too much away, I can say that Rebecca and Caitlin are once again in for a traumatic twist of fate, but it is the unending support of the friends that gives the reader a sense of security, knowing that none of them are on their own. Unfortunately Penny becomes slightly detached from the group, partly owing to having such a large family and commitments, but also due to her growing frustration with the other girls. She subtly steps back from the group, just as it happens in real life.

In the fourth book you are taken up to the present day, experiencing the intertwined lives of 3 generations through familiar lives. As the series went on, I was surprised by the loosening of the ties of friendship between the 4 women, realising how sad it would be if the final book ended with this reality of friendships lost. However, the reunion at the end happily dispenses with these fears as all involved realise that their friendship was much stronger and much more important than they had ever thought.

To sum up the series I suppose a comparison to the friendship in Sex and The City has to be made, but The Friendship Diaries is a much more realistic version. As the four books cover 1963 through to today it is fascinating seeing the change in attitudes and the manner in which certain historical events affected these women’s lives. Considering the time that they grew up it is also very refreshing to see 4 women who took pride in their independence, using their personal talents to make their lives their own. Overall the Friendship Diaries offer a world of opportunities, never-ending friendships and steamy relationships.”

“I read all four books. What a great story. I would love to read more about these characters. A follow up on the children lives. I will definitely recommend these books to my friends.”  Ms JP

“I really liked all the characters in this book you get involved in their lives and want to know more. The relationships are well drawn and the sex pretty steamy at times but I liked that it was part of the story not gratuitous. I got this book for free having been recommended by a friend and then had a special offer for the rest of the series which I wouldn’t have minded paying for now I’ve sampled the author’s writing. I’m now going to read the rest as I cant wait to see what happens next. I can thoroughly recommend this one.”

“Couldn’t put it down. Great characters.”  Ms JP Smashwords

“I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in Sarah Bevan Fischer’s The Friendship Diary series, Palmerstone. It tells the story of four women who met as schoolgirls and became firm friends, and follows their lives, careers and loves over the decades. Bevan Fischer is adept at creating an imaginary world that is both escapist for the reader, but also believable and engaging. This is a modern take on the ‘family saga’ genre and, although it would be a fantastic holiday read, it is more intelligently written than most ‘chick lit’. The ending leaves the reader wanting more – luckily there are another three novels in the series.”  Ms JD

“Friendship Diaries tells the story of four school friends as they grow up, get jobs and start families. The chapters are fast paced and focus on one character in one month of one year, starting in the early 1970s.  Great read, real page turner.”

“Really enjoyed all of the books in the series so far. Great characters that you can believe in. Perfect for a book club.”  Mr TF

“Great read. I liked the contrasts between the main characters and found them all interesting and likeable with well written camaraderie. Descriptions are evocative and the pace is fast.”  Ms GT Smashwords



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