Four suburban mothers and friends conspire to cover up a deadly crime in Just Between Us, a heart-stopping novel of suspense by Rebecca Drake.
Behind every closed door is a woman you may never truly know. . .
Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids thriving. But each of them is keeping a dangerous secretand hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a mystery that will consume them all.
“Compulsively readable.”O, The Oprah Magazine
When Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist, she shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate into their friend’s marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abusebut she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that Heather is dead.
“Twisty and compelling.” Associated Press
But the shocking call they get changes everything. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to save a friend…and themselves.
“Tense, bombshell-laden, and action-packed.” Publishers Weekly
|Publisher:||St. Martin''s Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.55(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.01(d)|
About the Author
REBECCA DRAKE is the author of the novels Don't Be Afraid, The Next Killing, The Dead Place, which was an IMBA bestseller, and Only Ever You, as well as the short story "Loaded," which was featured in Pittsburgh Noir. A former journalist and native New Yorker, Rebecca currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, with her husband and two children.
Read an Excerpt
Sometimes I play the what-if game and wonder, what if we hadn't moved to Sewickley when I got pregnant, and what if I hadn't gone into labor in early August, and what if Lucy hadn't slipped, wet and wailing, into this world a full three weeks early? If my oldest child had been born on her due date or after, then she wouldn't have been eligible for school a full year earlier than expected, and I wouldn't have met the women who became my closest friends, and what happened to us might never have happened at all.
So much in life hinges on chance — this date or that time, the myriad small, statistical variations which social scientists like to measure.
What if I hadn't been the one handing Heather her cup of coffee that crisp fall morning at Crazy Mocha? And what if the sleeve of her knit shirt hadn't slid back just a little as she reached to take it, and what if I hadn't happened to look down and see what the sleeves had been meant to hide, and what if I hadn't asked, "How did you get such a nasty bruise?"
A throwaway question at first.
I distributed the other cups to Julie and Sarah, barely paying attention but turning in time to see Heather startle, a tiny movement, before jerking down her sleeve to cover that large purple-yellow mark. "It's nothing," she said. "I must have bumped it on something."
It's only when I look back that I see this moment as the beginning, how everything started, though of course I didn't understand the significance then.
We were in our favorite spot in the coffee shop on a Friday morning, a tradition started by Julie long before I moved to Sewickley, tucked in the back corner of a shop that itself was tucked in a back corner on Walnut Street. Our kids had been seen safely off to school, and the only child with us that morning was Sarah's three- year-old, Josh, who dozed in a stroller by his mother's side.
If I close my eyes, I can still see the four of us in our respective armchairs. Julie, red-haired and energetic, couldn't sit still, her leg jiggling or toe tapping, always moving. Sarah, her counterpoint, small and still, dark head bent over her coffee, reminding me of a woodland creature in the way she pulled her legs under her, fitting her whole body in the seat. Too tall to do that, I slouched in mine, legs stretched out in front of me, hiding behind my mousy-blond hair. And then there was Heather, with her fine long legs hanging over the side of her chair, head back and golden mane hanging down, her thin neck exposed, looking both effortlessly graceful and vulnerable.
Sometimes I'd notice the glances we got from other mothers, desperate for adult conversation as they pushed strollers with one hand while clutching coffee cups with the other. I'd been one of those women once, coming here with Lucy and Matthew in a double stroller, envying the conversations going on around me. That was more than five years ago, when we'd first moved to town, before I met Julie and became part of the shop's regular clientele.
What if Michael and I hadn't been expecting a child? Our Realtor might have suggested a different, less family-friendly neighborhood. Or what if the male half of the elderly couple who owned the house we visited that day in Sewickley hadn't had a stroke and his wife hadn't decided that they should move to an assisted-living facility? If his stroke had been in December, rather than March, their home might have sold to someone else, and we might easily have bought a house in another neighborhood. This is the way of fate — all of these pieces that must slot into place, one leading to the other, a progression toward a conclusion that seems inevitable only after the fact.
Years before, I'd spent those first lonely visits to the coffee shop trying to entertain my children and wondering about the lives of the baristas and their patrons. Later I barely noticed them; my friends and I always had things to talk about — children, jobs, the school and other parents we knew, husbands, homes. That nasty bruise.
If I'd seen that injury on another mother from the elementary school, we would have all been talking about it, but Heather was one of us and she was sitting right there, blowing nonchalantly on her latte. I glanced at Julie and Sarah, but they were busy discussing whether it was okay to let their boys play football, even though the sons in question were barely nine and heavily involved in soccer.
I felt a familiar twinge — just a tiny twist — of jealousy. Not because I envied their conversation, but because before I moved to Sewickley it was Julie and Sarah, Sarah and Julie. They were friends first and that always irritated me, just a little.
Of course, it was stupid, because I shared that bond, too, soon enough. It's just that I sometimes wished that I'd been Julie's friend first. She was effervescent, one of those people who seem to be friends with everybody and everybody wants to know. Very social, gabby, an extrovert and a great organizer. It was no wonder that she became a real-estate agent — she was such a natural salesperson. Of course, I liked Sarah, too, but she was a little harder, a bit prickly at times, and mostly it was just that I envied the history they had that predated me. It was childish, this feeling, like being back in school and feeling upset because your prospective BFF has already been taken.
Julie and I first met at the preschool drop-off, hovering nervously around the entrance with the other parents as our little four-year-olds trooped inside with their teachers.
The rule at Awaken Academy was that no parents should enter the building in the mornings, in order to minimize long, weepy separations. Of course, those still happened, but I guess they thought it was better if the children associated the tears with what happened outside, rather than what happened in the classroom. These good-byes at the door were so hard; sometimes the parents wept along with their children. Lucy was one of those kids who didn't want to let go, clutching my hand long after the teachers had called for the students to line up.
She'd invariably whine "No, Mommy! No go!" while clinging to me like a tree monkey. I'd have to slowly peel away her tiny grip, all the while feeling like a monster for sending her on into the unknown. Of course I'd toured the school and knew exactly what was inside — miniature tables and chairs, play kitchens and carpenter benches, pots of finger paint and child-safe easels, and shelves filled with brightly colored toys and picture books. A wonderful place, very clean and bright, but the daily lineup seemed so rigid and regimented that I had to remind myself every morning that once Lucy got inside the classroom she was fine.
As I stood there one morning, watching my daughter throw me the big-eyed, pitiful looks of an abandoned animal, a smartly dressed, redheaded woman said, "For all we know they've got a sweatshop going on in there." She smiled at me and at the father of another child standing near us. "Little kids tethered to sewing machines and assembly lines."
The man looked confused and slightly nervous, but I burst out laughing, surprised. The woman's smile widened and she laughed, too, adding, "Do you think they're making clothes for Baby Gap or the Neiman Marcus kids' collection?"
"Oh, don't be elitist," a short woman to her right said. "It's probably Walmart or Toys 'R' Us and our kids are the ones adding the enormous boobs to Beach Blanket Barbie even as we speak."
The first woman winked at me and stuck out her hand. "I'm Julie Phelps, a.k.a. the mom of the little boy who refuses to share with anybody."
"Sarah Walker." The shorter woman thrust her hand past Julie to give mine a vigorous shake, her dark curls bouncing. "She means Owen, who is not nearly as bad as my son, Sam, who enjoys crashing trucks into everybody — warn your daughter."
And that's how we met. I sometimes wondered why Julie chose to ask me to join them. I thought maybe it was because the preschool was small, and the other available mothers all seemed nearly identical, with their flat-ironed hair and preppy suburban clothes, chatting about tennis or golf games. There were only a few mothers who stood out among this set — one, a glamorous banker who wore silk shirts with dark, pinstriped suits and liked to make snarky remarks, which she'd invariably follow with a braying laugh and "Of course, I'm just joking!" Another was a tiny, miserable-looking woman whose name I never did get, but who had an equally tiny, miserable-looking little boy with a perpetually runny nose named Jonathan. I only know this because his name accompanied every high-pitched shriek she leveled at him: "Jonathan, be careful!" "Jonathan, say thank you!" "Jonathan, don't run!" I have to say that her nasal voice turned me off that name for life.
Sarah stood out, too, but in a good way, beautiful and biracial in a sea of pasty white women, and with a penchant for wearing brightly colored scarves and jewelry that another mother had dubbed "ethnic," even though Sarah bought them at T.J.Maxx.
In hindsight, it's easy to see that I also stood out among this crowd. Tall and introverted, I didn't chat with the other mothers, had zero interest in or aptitude for country-club life or team sports, and brought books to read to avoid appearing to be all alone in that sea of conversation. I'd stand off to one side holding my book aloft, my free arm folded protectively across my middle.
My nervousness must have seemed like aloofness, perhaps even disdain, at any rate interesting enough to merit Julie's attention. If she'd known how desperate and lonely I felt, would she have been so welcoming? If she'd known my real history, not the abbreviated version I shared? That we'd moved to Pittsburgh because of Michael's job transfer. As far as Julie knew, I was from the eastern part of Pennsylvania, like Michael, who grew up in comfortable Bucks County. What if I'd told her that I'd spent my childhood in hardscrabble Braddock, no more than thirty miles, but an entire lifestyle, away? What if she'd known we depended on food stamps after the mills had closed, and lived in an aluminum-siding house whose Easter-egg pastel yellow exterior had faded to dingy gray, the walls so thin that in the winter my mother filled cracks with tin foil and old newspapers to try to keep out the cold? Perhaps I'm underestimating Julie; if she'd found out about my past she might have considered it exotic.
While she was friendly with everyone, I'd learn that Julie hand-selected friends who were different. Before I moved to Sewickley, there'd been Brenda, a computer- science professor who was also tall and bookish, her similarities to me something that both Julie and Sarah liked to exclaim about. As in, "That's just what Brenda would have said!"
After our first meeting, I saw Julie and Sarah again at pick-up and again the next morning at drop-off and at every drop-off thereafter, but it was always Julie who came to stand near me and started each conversation. I was hesitant to impose, and Sarah, while friendly, seemed perfectly content to hang out only with Julie. Until one Friday morning when it started to rain while we chatted in the parking lot, and Julie said, "Shall we get coffee?"
I thought at first that she was only talking to Sarah, but then she looked at me and I realized she meant both of us. I'm embarrassed by how thrilled I was to be included — like I was back in high school and being accepted by the cool girls.
As we walked through the door of Crazy Mocha that first time, I was aware of people turning to look at the three of us laughing and chatting. It was exciting, all of that attention. I wasn't used to it. I worked from home as an IT consultant, so I didn't have to dress up, wearing jeans and casual shirts, comfortable albeit boring clothing that would hide the "curves" I needed to lose. Michael always wanted me to show off my body, which he loves in a frankly admiring way that makes me love him. Julie always claimed to admire my curves, too. Like Michael, she was good at focusing on the positive. Sarah would have called my self-assessment "self-pity."
Sarah didn't have patience for whining — she was very can-do. "If you don't feel good about your body, change it," she said once in an effort to convince Julie and me to join the Mommy Yoga class at the YMCA for which she'd impulsively registered. "Too much Halloween candy," she'd said, patting her stomach, which I thought looked better than mine. "I told myself, stop complaining and do something about it — that's my pre–New Year's resolution!"
Julie was obsessive about fitness, a runner and healthy-diet devotee, so she certainly didn't need to add any more exercise, but she enthusiastically signed up for yoga, because it would be "so fun" for the three of us to take a class together. Of course I signed up as well — peer pressure, sure, but it was also another excuse to hang out.
I regretted it almost immediately. Downward-Facing Dog, the Crane, the Big Toe — all of these wacky names for poses that reminded me of that old game, Twister. It turned out that I was terrible at yoga, because I was very inflexible. So inflexible that the instructor — a skinny twentysomething who looked glamorous in Lycra and called herself Shanti even though she was clearly not from the Indian subcontinent — kept commenting on it. "You're very tight, Alison, very tense — we need to do more Shavasanas with you."
Julie was tight like me, too, but this was temporary hamstring tightening from her running, and Sarah, mommy belly notwithstanding, turned out to be a rubber band. "Beautiful!" Shanti would exclaim, clapping her hennaed hands together. "Class, pay attention to Sarah's form!"
"The only asana I can really relate to is the Cow," I said after the third class, when we were walking out to the parking lot. "I certainly feel like a cow when I'm doing it." I saw Sarah exchange a look with Julie; it was just a slight glance, but I knew they'd been talking with each other about me. I flushed, suddenly more self-conscious than I'd been in the class, and I remembered my grandmother's advice: "Never have an odd number of children, because someone will always be left out." My mother had obviously listened; it had been just Sean and me growing up, and I'd taken it to heart, too, giving Lucy a younger brother before I stopped. Watching Julie and Sarah's secret communication in the parking lot that day, I realized that Nana's advice could also apply to friends.
I think after that I was subconsciously on the lookout for a fourth to join our group. If you believe in the law of attraction you might say that I made Heather part of our circle every time I wished that I wasn't the third wheel, though of course Julie was the one to actually find her.
The first Friday that Heather showed up at the coffee shop with Julie, I felt that little twinge again, insecurity rearing its Hydra head. Here was this tall, gazelle-like woman who was drop-dead gorgeous and clearly as comfortable in her own, flawless skin as I was uncomfortable in mine. But there was something vulnerable about her, too — I could see it in the way she looked at us with shy, yet eager, eyes. It turned out that her little boy was in preschool with Sarah's middle child, Olivia, but none of us had ever seen her at the preschool drop-off.
"I like to sleep in," Heather said. "So I let the nanny take Daniel." The nanny. The first time she said that it was Sarah and me exchanging surreptitious glances, because we used babysitters, not nannies. There were plenty of families in Sewickley who had "help," and we knew we were in a different income bracket than Julie, a million-dollar producer in real estate married to Brian, a VP of business development for a big medical-device firm. It turned out that Heather was a SAHM (stay-at-home mom), just like Sarah, but with a much bigger household income — she was married to a surgeon.
"Viktor Lysenko?" Julie asked that first morning. "As in Dr. Viktor Lysenko?" She sounded surprised and more bubbly than usual, although Julie's excitement meter always ran at a higher level than the rest of ours.
"That's him," Heather said, her casualness in sharp contrast to Julie's enthusiasm. Seeing my and Sarah's blank faces, Julie said, "Viktor Lysenko is a preeminent plastic surgeon, he specializes in craniofacial and reconstructive surgery. There was an article about him in the Post-Gazette last month; didn't you see it? He volunteers worldwide, too, performing operations free for people in poor countries."
"Wow," Sarah said, "he sounds like a saint."
There was only the faintest hint of snideness, but I remember that Heather flushed at Sarah's comment. "He's just Viktor to me," she said in a light tone, before deftly changing the subject.
Excerpted from "Just Between Us"
Copyright © 2017 Rebecca Drake.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I couldn’t put this down! One of the best best books ever!
Loved this book. Was absolutely great from start to finish!
Excellent could not stop reading you feel like you are there cant wsit until the nrxt book
I found this book to be a really great read. Interesting from beginning to end.
Wonderful book which pulls you in and is hard to put down. Having each of the four main characters narrate as the plot progressed was an interesting format. I will be looking for other books by this author.
Great readI couldn’t put it down
What would you be willing to do in order to help a friend? Alison, Sarah, Julie, and Heather have children attending the same school, and it wasn't long before the four moms became friends, regularly meeting for coffee after they drop their kids of at school. Alison is concerned when she notices a bruise on Heather's wrist, even more so after Heather hastily covers it and swears it's nothing. When it becomes evident that Heather's husband is abusive towards her, the women try to talk Heather into leaving, but she refuses. Her friends worry that Heather's husband might kill her, given the signs of increasing violence, but Heather isn't the one who ends up dead—and when she finally asked for help, it's not the sort of request any of her friends ever expected to receive. What I Liked: The entire premise of this book was fascinating to me; basically taking the hypothetical question about what you'd be willing to do for your friends, and forcing the issue with a set of circumstances that demand immediate action without time to consider the consequences. The situation in the book is an extreme one, to be sure, but I think everyone can identify with being put on the spot by a friend who needs something immediately. You do (or don't do) something in that moment, and don't have a chance to think about consequences until later, and then you worry over whether or not you did the right thing. That being said, it was extremely easy for me to go along with the plot. I had no problem understanding why the women chose to do what they did, or why they worried themselves sick over it later. The story is told from the perspective of each woman, and I liked having insight into each woman's private thoughts on things, as well as their feelings about one another. The events of that night would put a strain on their friendship, and it was nice to see that reflected in each of them as the story progressed. Every good story has shocking plot twists, and the big twist in Just Between Us was fantastic! I felt as if I should have known it was coming, in retrospect, but I didn't have a clue and was left wide-eyed in shock when it came. I want to say so much more about this, but it would completely ruin the story for those who haven't read it, so I'd better not. Trust me when I say it was excellent, and made me want to go back and re-read certain scenes now that I possessed this new knowledge. What I Didn't Like: Umm... I didn't like that the story came to an end... does that count? Final Thoughts: Just Between Us is a fabulous novel filled with suspense and intrigue. The characters are well-written and vividly detailed with a plot that is certain to keep the reader fully engaged and reading well into the night. Full of unexpected twists and a shocking reveal, Drake has written a domestic suspense that will leave you breathless. Highly recommend this book! If you haven't read it yet, be sure to add it to your reading list... and you can thank me later. ;)
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Four suburban moms. Some have jobs, some stay at home with their kids and at a school drop off they connect and start a friendship. This friendship will alter all their lives completely. There is a prologue at a funeral and fortunately the reader finds out soon enough who has died and what happens, but that is just the start of it! If you are new here, this book has one of my favorite things - multi character narratives. I love it when an author writes from more than one character's viewpoint so the reader gets a full story from all angles.
A fantastic read! Full of unexpected and brilliant twists!
Alison, Julie, Sarah, and Heather may seem like a typical group of friends. They enjoy coffee after they drop their children off at school, some go to full time jobs while others are stay-at-home moms, but in reality, they are anything but typical. They all are hiding secrets, some more than others, secrets that can not only put them in danger, but hurt their families as well. Alison works from home with an IT company and Julie works in real estate. Sarah and Heather are both stay-at-home moms. Although these four friends are not extravagantly rich by any means, they do live in a nice neighborhood with very little crime. One night while they are all at a party, Julie notices Heather and her husband Viktor talking alone. Julie also notices that Heather looks a little tense while Viktor has a firm grip on Heather's arms. Not wanting them to see her, Julie tries to walk away, but Heather and Viktor notice her and rejoin the party like nothing ever happened. With Alison's theory in her head, Julie starts to wonder if Viktor could be abusing Heather. It isn't until the ladies are at the park with their children and they notice a mark on Heather's stomach, that they realize that Viktor is abusing Heather and that they need to help her. After this incident, the group decides to have a sort of intervention with Heather. Heather, feeling as if she is being ambushed, finally agrees that Viktor isn’t the awesome doctor who everyone sees and confirms their suspicions. Although the ladies try to convince Heather to leave him, she refuses. Heather also informs the group that she is pregnant, which her friends think is even more of a reason to leave Viktor. As Heather continues to refuse to leave Viktor, her friend's concern continues to grow. One night as Alison is sleeping, she receives the call that they all have been dreading. Heather calls Alison frantically in the middle of the night. Alison, worried that Viktor is about to do something, is surprised to hear that Viktor is dead. Alison, trying to calm a frantic Heather, rushes over while calling Julie and Sarah along the way. When they all arrive, they try to calm Heather down. Knowing, because of Viktor's injuries, that it would not look like self-defense, they come up with a plan to make it look like a carjacking, and take his car to the spot they picked out. Thinking that it is all over, and that they covered their tracks, they try to go back to normal. The police begin an investigation and soon, the four friends start to worry that they may not have covered up everything and their nervousness grows. While they are trying to remain calm and continue on as normal, they receive a letter from someone claiming to know what the women did. The blackmailer has photos of that night and is planning on going to the police unless the women pay up. The women are left to make a decision that could not only harm them, but will also affect their families as well. Their decision will change their lives forever. Just Between Us is a really great book. The whole story is so suspenseful that I was not able to put it down. It is very well written with a lot of detail that makes you feel like you are there. There are so many twists that just when I thought I knew where it was going, it changed and it was something totally unexpected. When I first began Just Between Us, I thought I knew where the story was going, but admit I was very wrong - and that's part of what made this such a fun read.
About: Just Between Us is a thriller written by Rebecca Drake. It was recently published on 1/9/18 by St. Martin’s Griffin, an imprint of Macmillan, paperback, 384 pages. The genres are mystery, thriller, fiction, crime, and suspense. My Experience: I started reading Just Between Us on 1/15/18 and finished it on 1/21/18 at 12:30AM. This book is a great read! The start of this book reminds me of Behind Closed Doors, The Last Mrs. Parrish, and The Wife Between Us because they all portrait domestic abuse. This book separates itself from the other books is the friendship. I like how they support each other despite their different personalities. I think I enjoy this book a bit more as a mom to little kids because I can relate my feelings with them. I like their different professional and personal backgrounds and whether they choose to be a stay-at-home mom or continue working. I like Alison’s drive to succeed and Julie’s trust in everyone. I like how Sarah’s defensive about stay-at-home mom. Heather gives me a lot of doubts and reading throughout the book, I couldn’t take her words for what it is until the end. This book is told in the first person point of view following four friends: Alison, Julie, Sarah, and Heather. Alison works in IT, Julie works in real estate, and Sarah, an ex-lawyer and Heather, an ex-model are both stay at home moms. Their kids all goes to the same school. Alison is often jealous of Julie and Sarah’s friendship because they met each other first. Sarah is glad that Heather is a stay at home mom too because she is sick of people thinking that she doesn’t do enough work at home. They often meet at the coffee shop to catch up on life and gossip. Their friendship started to change when signs of abuse begins to surface among one of their friends. She’s ashamed of it and asked her three friends to keep it a secret just between them. A secret that could consume them. They all worried that a bruise here and a welt there could lead to an end of their friend’s life, but when a phone call comes one night, their friendship is tested beyond their fears. A smaller secret becomes a larger secret and soon it’s up to them to defend themselves. This book starts out obvious but it spikes up the intensity and suspense as the story move forward. I like the names of each main character at the beginning of each chapter and at the top of the page with the title because there are four point of views and I often forget who I’m reading about since they all have a husband and two kids. I love their individual secrets and it’s delicious when it’s being revealed. I like the realistic reactions of each of the main characters the author describes in this book especially after each twists and turns. I like the easy way of their friendship where their first instinct was to help and only accuse when there’s hard evidence, but even so, they still stood by each other to help. I felt the adrenaline rush with Sarah’s close call about the phone at the bar and Alison and Julie’s shocking discovery at the rickety apartment. Friends meeting for coffee reminds me of the friends on Sex and the City, but this friendship is on a whole new level and I highly recommend everyone to read this book! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at howusefulitis dot wordpress dot com for more details
Just Between Us is the story of what happens something bad happens in one night that will lead to shocking revelations for a group of four women. Alison, Julie, Sarah & Heather are four friends living the suburban life but not all is what it seems with everyone. Each one of them has a dirty little secret that will soon be revealed to all after they start noticing bruises appearing on Heather. It will lead to a phone call in the middle of the night that will leave Heather's husband dead and four women trying to protect Heather. As secrets and revolutions about that night start coming out, no one is safe from what is about to happen to each of them. It will come down to the most shocking secret ever in the most surprising ending to a tale of who can you really trust? This book was amazing and it truly is a shocking thriller that will keep you up way past your bedtime. With how this story starts out, you think you know how it will end but you will be mistaken. It's that little shocking twist in the end that will pull everything together on why it happened the way it did. Let's just say it's one of those books that will draw you in to leave you wanting more!! Thank You to Rebecca Drake for writing a pretty darn good thriller that makes me wonder what is coming next!! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher!
I guess you should probably get to know your friends better... This was a wholly entertaining read, if you can suspend your disbelief just a tad and get into it. I'm not quite sure that a group of friends would get themselves in THIS much hot water for one other friend, but maybe I'm just missing friends like this. BUT the friendships in this book - let's be HONEST - are built on lies and a lot of superficiality, and that's the point. In a tiny town where appearances matter, four friends start to have concern that one of them is being physically abused. Their natural tendency to gossip and gather around the friend with all the drama going on, ends up leading this little foursome into a very tense and complicated tangle of lies and deceit on behalf of their battered friend, and in the end, they're left wondering if it was worth it. And to a very unexpected ending. Domestic and physical abuse isn't a subject to be trifled with, and in this novel in particular, the plot actually may make some readers who are extremely sensitive to how the topic is used in writing, a little unnerved and upset, so I just want to point that out. Other subjects that may be difficult to come across in this novel are sexual abuse and miscarriage, but these are not addressed in detail and are not the focus of the book. The author Rebecca Drake cleverly uses the different characters' voices and perspectives for the chapters, alternating the viewpoints of the narrative for the reader. And then just when you think these girls are going to be able to roll out one more 'great idea', something else goes disastrously badly. One quote in the book is quite perfect, and they should have kept it in mind, 'But life so rarely goes according to plan.' You've got that right. Overall, solid, nerve-wracking thriller!
Just Between Us by Rebecca Drake I saw the blurb for this book and thought it sounded worth reading so “wished” for it through NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press-Griffin bequeathed me a copy. I wish I had known in advance the book was told in first person from the viewpoint of four women…that got confusing at times and I found I really could not connect with any of the women telling the story. I am not sure if it is because of their stories and how dissimilar they are to my own or if it is their age – much younger than my own – or if it is something else but I ended up skimming rather than reading in depth, got the gist of the story and had no desire to go deeper. It could be that this book is just one that does not appeal to me at this moment in time and perhaps it would at some point in the future BUT I doubt I will pick it up in the future to find out. I am sure that it will appeal to others and there are reviews that indicate that is so…just not for me. This is my honest review. 2-3 Stars