Lovers and Newcomers, by Rosie Thomas

Miranda Meadowe has spent most of her late adult life living alone. After her husband passed away, she had a hard time imagining herself with any other man, content to spend her hours within the walls of the home passed down through family lines. While she feels herself rooted to the present, she also finds herself remembering the past, the special relationships she’d formed with college friends decades earlier. Back when she saw the future looming ahead for miles and miles. How did life get away from her?

Bringing to fruition a special plan put into place so many years ago, by the very circle she trusts her life to, she invites her cronies to live with her, on the mass amount of land that surrounds her beloved home. There’s Sel and Polly, intent on sprucing up the barn house, living out the rest of their lives within walls they remodel with their own bare hands. Amos and Katherine want to start from the ground up, creating a custom design fit for a king, and queen. And then there’s Colin, content to stay with Miranda when the mood suits him. When the six of them are together, there’s nothing they can’t achieve.

And nothing that remains unchanged.

With close friends often comes closely-guarded secrets, a lifetime of skeletons better left buried in a closet. First loves, lost loves, infidelities and lies, bubbling to the surface, threatening to damage the very foundation this special friendship was built on. Self-discovery and the constant reminder that time can only move forward, never backwards, only adds to the pressure and pain brought to light. Throw in an Iron Age princess burial ground spanning thousands of years, an unforeseen diversion from what’s really going on within this dynamic group, and you’ve got yourself a beautifully-written phenomena.

I could really feel the struggle within every character, even the ones I knew were meant to be the antagonists. You don’t want to root for them, but given the backstory, the reasons why they are the way they are, you can’t help but want to see them rise up. On the flip side, protagonists were very flawed and very real. I could see the connection between each and every friend, every dynamic working wonderfully to create a story about friendship and love, the foundation to Lovers and Newcomers. I got the feeling that in the end, Miranda wouldn’t be who she is, or where she is, without the support of those who know her, inside and out.

While the friend dynamic is less than perfect, just like what most of us would encounter in real life, I couldn’t help but want a close tie like that with my own friends when I’m nearing my golden years. Most of us could only be so lucky to have relationships span as many decades as this group has, and whether or not those relationships are meant to continue on past the drama and chaos remains to be seen. It won’t hurt to try. Or maybe it will.

Original review can be found at Chick Lit Central

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