I received this book free from NetGalley and Harlequin as an advanced reader copy.
The Friendship Pact by Tara Taylor Quinn was a great read for the very beginning of summer. I was drawn to this book as soon as I read the description and saw it was about two very different friends who had been together most of their lives. I don’t find many books about friendships, especially between women around my age, so this was definitely a refreshing find, and truthfully I’m glad that I came across it.
Koralynn and Bailey met in elementary school. Even then they could see the differences between them, feel it like a palpable wall separating them, but still their friendship formed into a tight bond. Through high school and college they become as close as sisters, and Kora’s parents even accept Bailey as their unofficial daughter. Bailey suffers through the divorce of her parents and the problems her own mother faces with alcoholism, becoming stronger, though more emotionally withdrawn and guarded while Kora basks in the light of her parents’ love. But through everything that happens to them together and separately they always seem to understand one another, and to share a special bond that no one and nothing can break. As Bailey has trouble with romantic relationships, Kora is lucky in love with her high school sweetheart Danny. But the tables seem to turn dramatically when in their mid twenties, Bailey decides that what she really wants in life is a baby, and to raise that child as a single mother. Kora is vehemently against it, and makes that known to all involved, which while creating tension between the friends, hardly breaks them apart. In fact, Bailey waits months to do anything about it, hoping her friend will change her mind because she cannot do it without Kora’s support, but still nothing changes. When Danny comes to Bailey behind Kora’s back and offers to be the donor for her artificial insemination, they become closer like Kora always wanted. Bailey eventually takes the offer, but it creates a secret between her and Danny that results in disastrous consequences. Soon after the birth of Bailey’s son a string of unfortunate incidents threaten to tear the best friends apart for good, and change everyone’s lives and relationships forever. But life works in mysterious ways, and friends as close as family find their own ways to work through even the roughest patches.
This book reminded me instantly of Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin, but without the lingering animosity towards one of the girls. I never at any point felt like I hated either girl, even though they sometimes clashed and refused to see the other’s point of view. Kora was so caring and optimistic and Bailey so grounded and determined that there was never a dull moment between them. It reminded me so much of my best friend and I, especially the way Kora’s family made Bailey like their second daughter since her family situation was always less than ideal. This book really drove home for me why I love my best friend and that through it all, no matter what life throws your way it’s always good to have someone you know you can trust wholeheartedly. I don’t know what I would do without my ‘sister’ Katie, and I think you’ll see as Bailey and Kora do, that friendship sometimes really is everything. The Friendship Pact is a book I’d recommend to any women looking for a great beach read this summer.