Title: In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 397 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
From the author of Once Upon a Sunset and The Key to Happily Ever After comes a heartwarming and moving novel following three Army wives—estranged friends—who must overcome their differences when one of them is desperate for help.
Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden used to be best friends. As Army wives at Fort East, they bonded during their book club and soon became inseparable. But when an unimaginable betrayal happened amongst the group, the friendship abruptly ended, and they haven’t spoken since.
That’s why, eight years later, Regina and Sophie are shocked when they get a call for help from Adelaide. Adelaide’s husband is stationed abroad, and without any friends or family near her new home of Alexandria, Virginia, she has no one to help take care of her young daughter when she has to undergo emergency surgery. For the sake of an innocent child, Regina and Sophie reluctantly put their differences aside to help an old friend.
As the three women reunite, they must overcome past hurts and see if there’s any future for their friendship. Featuring Tif Marcelo’s signature “enchanting prose” (Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake) and the books that brought them together in the first place, In a Book Club Far Away honors the immense power of female friendship and how love can defy time, distance, and all old wounds.
In a Book Club Far Away by Tif Marcelo is a captivating novel of friendship, forgiveness and self-discovery.
Ten years ago, Regina Castro, Adelaide Wilson-Chang, and Sophie Walden are stationed with their significant others at an Army base in upper New York. They meet through Adelaide’s book club and form a tight bond during a months long deployment. Regina and her husband Logan are a dual military couple. Although she loves Logan, she is frustrated at his immature behavior. Sophie and her partner Jasper Clemons have been together for several years and are parents to twin daughters. Since she and Jasper are not married, she is delighted to be included in the initial book club invitation. Adelaide and Matt have been through several moves and deployments and she plays a supportive role with all of the Company’s spouses during the current deployment. But she is closest to Regina and Sophie. When their significant others return home from deployment, Regina believes Sophie betrayed her and they are no longer friends.
In the present, the three women are at very different places in their lives. Adelaide and Matt are still in the Army and they are now parents to two-year-old Genevieve. Although, Regina and Sophie are still estranged, she is friends with both of them. Matt is deployed and she needs surgery so she seizes the opportunity to stage a reconciliation between Sophie and Regina. Sending out an SOS to both women since she needs help with Gen, both her friends do not hesitate to drop everything to provide assistance.
Regina and Logan are now divorced but remain connected by their nine-year-old son. She is no longer in the military and she owns a catering business. She and her business partner are at a crossroads about their catering business. Regina hates to give up her dream, but they have been barely hanging on for quite some time. Although she never remarried, Regina has been chatting on line with baker Henry Just for about eighteen months. And coincidentally, Adelaide lives in the same town as Henry but will Regina get up the nerve to meet him in person?
Sophie and Jasper are still together but he is now retired and their daughters are close to going off to college. She is wrestling a bit with what she wants for her future. Sophie still deeply loves Jasper but she is having difficulty articulating to herself what exactly is giving her so much inner turmoil. Will time apart provide Sophie the clarity she needs to figure out what she visualizes for herself and Jasper?
Adelaide is always upbeat, chipper and puts Matt and the Army first. But she is not looking forward to another move that is coming up soon after her husband returns from his deployment. Adelaide is also rethinking other goals has always longed for. Will she find a way to explain her needs to Matt when he comes home? And will she achieve her goal of reuniting Sophie and Regina?
Seamlessly switching between different points of view, In a Book Club Far Away is a heartwarming novel that weaves back and forth in time. Adelaide, Regina and Sophie are likeable characters that are easy to relate to. The different story arcs are engaging and each of the women’s issues are realistic and relatable. The military serves as a wonderful backdrop for the close-knit friendships to flourish. With unexpected plot twists late in the story, Tif Marcelo brings this captivating novel to an uplifting, sigh-worthy conclusion.
Reviewer Note: I was a military spouse for twenty-six years and I completely related to many different parts of the storyline. I also saw different parts of myself in each of the characters. This wonderful novel is an accurate portrayal of military life and the close friendships that form between spouses. My best friend is someone I met in 1989 at our first military base. Although most of our friendship has been spent apart, she remains my “ride or die” bestie and we get together once a year for a girls’ trip (boo Covid for messing up last year’s trip). The time and distance always fades away and it is like we have never been apart!