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Between Friends

Between Friends

3.9 534
by Debbie Macomber

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Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski. Two girls from very different backgrounds. Jillian is the only child of wealthy parents, while Lesley's from a working-class family. They become best friends in the turbulent '60s, but their circumstances, their choices—and their mistakes—take them in virtually opposite directions. Lesley stays in their Washington State


Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski. Two girls from very different backgrounds. Jillian is the only child of wealthy parents, while Lesley's from a working-class family. They become best friends in the turbulent '60s, but their circumstances, their choices—and their mistakes—take them in virtually opposite directions. Lesley stays in their Washington State hometown. She gets pregnant and marries young, living a life defined by the demands of small children, not enough money—never enough money—and an unfaithful husband. Jill lives those years in a completely different way: on a college campus shaken by the Vietnam War, and then as an idealistic young lawyer in New York City.

But they always remain friends.

Through the years and across the miles, through marriage, children, divorce and widowhood, Jill and Lesley confide everything to each other—every grief and every joy. Because the quality of a friendship is the quality of a life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The prolific Macomber follows up Thursdays at eight with this scrapbook-style novel, which relies solely on letters, newspaper clippings, diary entries and even school essays to tell the story of a friendship spanning more than half a century. Born in 1948 in the same Washington State town, Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski have vastly different backgrounds. Wealthy Jillian is on a trajectory to become a lawyer like her father. Just as smart, but from the wrong side of the tracks, Lesley is destined to remain in their native Washington; like her mother, she becomes pregnant at a young age by an alcoholic philanderer. Despite their different circumstances, Jillian and Lesley forge a grade-school friendship that lasts a lifetime and is evoked in their various communiques. Macomber's storytelling is undermined by the ambitious choice of format. Rather than providing intimacy, the "just a short note" conceit deals superficially with the most significant events of the last 50 years (a quick perusal of the half-page e-mail devoted to the World Trade Center attack will be enough to confirm this) and with the characters themselves, who are somewhat thinly drawn. As for the lessons learned - it's generally easier to be rich than poor, it's never too late to take up golf - there's not much that's revelatory. Still, while this book is unlikely to win her new fans, Macomber's old ones will give it a chance. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Read an Excerpt

Between Friends

By Debbie Macomber

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 155166674X

Chapter One

September 10, 1948

220 Railroad Avenue Pine Ridge, Washington

Dearest Momma,

I thought you should know Mike and I had a baby girl on September first. I realize Daddy said I wasn't to contact either of you ever again, but I felt you'd want to know you had a granddaughter.

We named her Lesley Louise and she weighed 8 pounds. Lesley because it seems like such a pretty name and Louise after you, Momma. Mike wasn't home to take me to the hospital, so Gertie Burkhart, who lives next door, drove me. My labor took almost twenty hours. I thought I was going to die, but all that pain was worth it the first time I got to hold my daughter. She's a beautiful baby, Momma. She has your nose and Mike's forehead, with soft wisps of blond hair. I think her eyes are going to be blue, but the nurse told me we won't be able to tell until Lesley is six weeks old.

I wonder what the future holds for my baby girl. Will she grow up to be smart and pretty? Will she have a chance to finish high school? Dare I dream that one day she'll go to college the way I always hoped I would? Mike says asking questions like that is a waste of time. Still, I can't help wondering if those were the same questions you had when I was born, Momma. Did you love me as much as I love my baby? I'm sure you did and I can't believe you no longer love me now.

Mike and I are doing all right. We live in Washington State - it seems so far away from Mississippi. We're renting a two-storey house and Mike's uncle got him a job at the lumber mill. He's working lots of hours and I've been putting a little bit aside every week for when the mill shuts down, which it seems to do on a regular basis. Unfortunately, Mike was so excited the night Lesley was born that he got drunk and was arrested. I had to use the money I'd saved to bail him out of jail.

I miss you, Momma. I'm not any of those ugly names Daddy called me.

If I don't hear from you, then I'll accept that you agree with Daddy and want nothing more to do with me. When I look at my baby, I don't think of the circumstances that led to her birth. What Mike and I did was a sin, but we're married now.

Lesley is a beautiful child, created in the image of God. That's what Father Gilbert said a child is, and I believe him. I hope you'll love her despite everything.

Your daughter,


October 12, 1948

Mrs. Leonard Lawton 2330 Country Club Lane Pine Ridge, Washington

Dearest Aunt Jill,

I regret taking so long to answer your letter. After waiting fifteen very long years for a child, one would assume I'd be better prepared for the demands of motherhood. I had no idea an infant would take up so much of my time and energy. I'm months behind on my correspondence and can only beg your indulgence.

Jillian is truly our joy. As you know, Leonard and I had given up hope of ever having a child. We're both convinced her birth is a miracle and we are so very grateful. I know how pleased you are that we named her after you, but you've been a mother to Leonard since his own dear mother's death. Without you, he wouldn't have any memories of her.

Leonard is thrilled with his daughter. Every night he rushes home from court in order to spend time with her. She's already standing on her own and it looks as if she'll be walking soon. I'm afraid Leonard must bore everyone at the courthouse with photographs of Jillian. In his eyes she's the most brilliant, precious child ever to appear in this world. She has deep blue eyes and dark brown hair and a cheerful, happy disposition. She loves listening to the radio; her favorite show is Kukla, Fran and Ollie. Leonard claims it's really my favorite show, and Jillian gives me the perfect excuse to listen. One show she doesn't like - I think it scares her - is The Lone Ranger. Every time she hears the music she buries her head in my skirt.

Thank you for recommending Eleanor Roosevelt's book This I Remember. I've ordered it from the library, but my reading has been severely curtailed since Jillian's arrival. I've been making an effort to read during her afternoon nap, but the problem is, I usually fall asleep myself. With her teething, I haven't slept an entire night in weeks. The poor child is having a difficult time of it, but the pediatrician assured us everything is normal.

Leonard and I are delighted that you've accepted our invitation to spend the Christmas holidays with us. Jillian will surely be walking by then - and sleeping through the nights!

I'll write again soon. Give our love to Uncle Frank and everyone.

Yours truly,

Leonard, Barbara and Jillian


Excerpted from Between Friends by Debbie Macomber Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Meet the Author

Debbie Macomber, with more than 100 million copies of her books sold worldwide, is one of today's most popular authors. The #1 New York Times bestselling author is best known for her ability to create compelling characters and bring their stories to life in her books. Debbie is a regular resident on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times (70 times and counting), USA TODAY (currently 67 times) and Publishers Weekly (47 times). Visit her at www.DebbieMacomber.com.

Brief Biography

Port Orchard, Washington
Date of Birth:
October 22, 1948
Place of Birth:
Yakima, Washington
Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

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Between Friends 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 533 reviews.
apryl_w More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, it kept me up till midnight on work nights reading as I couldnt put it down. I did read it on the nook and it was fine for me. This is one I recommend highly!
harstan More than 1 year ago
The two women were born in 1948 in Pine Ridge, Washington. The location, the year, and their gender are about the only things these two women have in common. So how could Jillian Lawton and Lesley Adamski remain best friends and confidantes into the new millennium?

Jillian, the daughter of wealthy parents attended college while Lesley an unwanted child who forced her parents to marry repeated the same mistake as her own mother by having two children while still a teen. Yet from the Eisenhower through Desert Storm and the Clinton scandals they exchange first letters and later email as they describe what is happening to each of them during the various decades of the latter half of the twentieth century.

BETWEEN FRIENDS is an insightful look at five decades of America through the eyes of two friends living totally different lifestyles as the country goes about its changing business. The story line is an excellent look at the times starting with their childhood during the I like Ike decade to their teen years hindered by Nam and Watergate and finally to the naughty adult era of the eighties and nineties. Lesley and Jillian constantly communicate the ¿thrill of victory and the agony of defeat¿. These two wonderful female characters empower readers to see Debbie Macomber at her best as the dynamic author provides a powerful look at the American half century reminiscent of Billy Joel¿s tune, We Didn¿t Start the Fire, but with much more depth.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is so wonderful that I read it in one day! The format of the letters and journal writings was interesting and new. The historical references made me feel more like part of the story. I remembered the same historical events and where I was in my life when they happened. Every woman should read this book. The relationship of the 2 best friends in the story will make you cherish your relationship with your own best friend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book reminds you that friendship is not determined by financial or physical backgrounds; but by a connection of hearts that causes a lifetime of caring and concern for 'the other person'. LG
Guest More than 1 year ago
Debbie Macomber does a wonderful job at making the reader close to the characters in this book. The book is an excellent look at two friends and the trials they face throughout their lives. Despite what they both experience and go through, they remain friends. A book most women can relate to and have experienced themselves.
SybilG More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful summer read. It made me think of my best friend, my family and the people who have had an impact in my life. As someone born in the late 50's, what a trip down memory lane. This book made me laugh, cry, and remember. I recommend this book to all baby boomers and their daughters. I think the format of letter writing, journal entries, and e-mails worked perfectly for this story. Didn't want the book to end because I felt like I would be saying goodbye to "my" friends Jillian and Lesley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Two girls meet and become friends in first grade, each has different backgrounds and upbringing, but best friends for life. You read the letters and the journals that both have written to each other over the years. From notes in school to emails later in life, their lives are shared with you. It was a very good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is by far my favorite book by Macomber! Normqlly I wouldn't think twicw about a book like this but the characters really stick with you and I can't wait for the sequel. This book is written in the format of letters and diary entries dating from 1948=2002, when two friends are born into two different worlds- one rich the other poor; and extends throughout the years with their hardships, families, marriages, and even the deaths that happened between two friends. If you want to read a book that is so real that the people will feel like you actually know them; then this is the ONE for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
enjoy all her books and really like them on our Nookcolor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did not like the diary / journal type reading icould relate to the story of events however just not that interesting , boring for first parts of the book
asapAA More than 1 year ago
Nothing wrong with the story, but the method of writing the whole book as letters and journal entries got very boring. I like to see some interaction between characters...there was none.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The history in the book was an addition that made the book stand out from most other romantic novels. It brought back many good, and not so good, memories. LOVED IT!
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cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Between Friends is the 68th stand-alone novel by popular American author, Debbie Macomber. It details the friendship of two women born in the same year in Pine Grove, Washington, over some fifty years. Lesley Adamski and Jillian Lawton have been friends since grade school and continue to support each other as they deal with everything that life dishes out to them, including, but not limited to: births; weddings; loss of parents, siblings children, lovers and spouses, and the attendant funerals; divorce; cancer; infidelity; the draft; survivor guilt; abortion; alcoholism; heart attack; rebellious teenagers and jailed spouses. Instead of using a straight narrative, Macomber tells the story through journal entries (with differing fonts to denote different writers), letters (to friends, family members, acquaintances, lovers and spouses), notes passed in class, accounts and sales receipts, invitations, announcements, want ads, bank statements and cheques, newspaper cuttings, funeral notices, certificates and citations, library request forms, packing lists, drivers licences, arrest dockets, emergency room charts and emails; in short, the incidentals of life.  She firmly establishes the year with reference to popular music, actors, books, movies, the price of petrol and postage, and world events like the Church ban on the Pill, the Oil Crisis, Vietnam War protests, Iran Hostage crisis, Mt St Helens eruption and many more. Macomber paints a picture of a friendship that survives over distance and time. Her characters are engaging and realistic; her plot is sometimes predictable, but has enough variation to keep the reader interested. A heartwarming read. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of couse im done with rp forever sorry my fuqqing nook brokr im quitting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wasnt a fan of the letter/journal format and I found many if the events in the characters' lives to be predictable. I also found some of the writing didn't fit the tone of a letter. That being said it was a quick, easy read...and on sale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Add me...
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This by far was not one of Debbie's great books. Love her," Rose Harbor" books.