Trigger warning: Rape
Dealing with some repairs at my home since Monday so since Sunday evening I have gone on a Cathy Lamb reading binge. I am also almost done with the two Clare Mackintosh books I have right now as well. I should have just kept up to date with reviews, but honestly hit a wall of not wanting to post any of my reviews. So today I am sucking it up and getting caught up.
First up, “My Very Best Friend.” So I read Cathy Lamb years ago. I got annoyed by one of her books so badly though “If You Could See What I See” that I just stopped insta-buying her like I have before. So here’s the thing about Lamb, her books are mostly comfort romance reads. Usually the heroine will have a dark past, she will fall for a very tall guy with broad shoulders, they will have hot sex (that won’t really be described), someone will die, and then they will still (heroine and hero) have a happy ever after. I am always puzzled by Lamb being considered chick lit though, her subject matters are often not breezy enough to be chick lit.
On another note, I do love it best when her books all tie together though. So in some of her books will be references to the characters in her other books. This one though, I believe stands alone. The main reason why I didn’t give this 5 stars though is the book gets quite repetitive towards the last 100 pages when the heroine’s very best friend returns.
“My Very Best Friend” takes place in 1990. The main character, Charlotte Mackintosh is about to return to her childhood home in Scotland. Charlotte and her mother left Scotland after the death of Charlotte’s father when she was just 15 and she has stayed in touch with her best friend Bridget through letters. Now that a tenant that was renting her family’s cottage has died, and Charlotte’s mother is off in South Africa, Charlotte is the only one left to return and see about assessing the cottage and getting it ready for sale. Charlotte is also thinking it’s a good time to return to Scotland since she hasn’t heard from Bridget in a long time and is worried about her. Charlotte though when she returns finds that the home is in bad shape, she’s dealing with an awful case of writer’s block, and she is starting to think romantic thoughts about Bridget’s brother Toran.
So “My Very Best Friend” deals with some heavy issues. We have Charlotte still affected by her father’s death and her wallowing at times in happier memories of her family and her three best friends, Bridget, Toran, and other childhood friend. The four kids often spent every day together. Charlotte we find out is a scientist, but also secretly writes time travel romance novels and is quite successful. Charlotte has been hit with a case of writer’s block though and starts to wonder what is next for her. Charlotte is quite logical and I thought Lamb did a great job of slowly revealing Charlotte’s first marriage and the supposed visions from her paternal grandmother about her life.
Lamb typically includes a group of women that get together in her books and this one is no exception. Charlotte is invited to a group that meets weekly and for the most part everyone is great, except for a narrow minded nasty woman.
The romance between Charlotte and Toran was a nice slow burn. I thought Lamb did a great job of showing off Toran more than she usually does with the heroes in her book. We get to find out about him via Charlotte’s remembrances and also what he tells her. We find out that Toran and Bridget had a excessively religious father who beat them and berated his wife. Toran also provides insight into Bridget who is not in Scotland and that they are both looking for.
Lamb via letters though is where she shows the heart of most of the characters. We have Charlotte’s letters to Bridget through the years and Bridget’s letters back. We also after a time get to see letters that Bridget wrote to Charlotte and never sent. Those were heart breaking. We find out what drove Bridget from the family home years ago and we find out why Toran is so desperate to find her. I am not going to lie, the last part of this book had me in tears Sunday night. I went through a lot of tissues.
I thought the flow of the book was pretty good up until we get towards the last 100 pages. I think Lamb got too repetitive (which is always a problem) with going over the same ground via the towns people and how Bridget was her best friend and her very best friend.
The setting of this book is not typical for Lamb. Usually her books take place in Oregon so it was fun to see her move things from Washington state to Scotland. I was intrigued about Scotland, but didn’t see enough things to have me feel it was Scotland except for some dialogue here and there. And also in the attitudes of the village towards the end of the book.
The ending was bittersweet and I really enjoyed it.