Book Buddies is a discussion-style “review” that takes place with Cristina from Girl in the Pages. (You can check out past posts here.) We both read the book, have a discussion, and post our conversation (plus other fun things sometimes!) here. Book Buddies is a seasonal feature that now happens four times per year. Be sure to check out the other half of our feature and discussion on Cristina’s blog (link below)!
The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Published by Simon and Schuster on February 14th 2017
Format: eBook (320 pages) • Source: Purchased
Goodreads • Amazon • Barnes & Noble
In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.
Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.
For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…
All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…
Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?
As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.
Check out Cristina’s post here!
We’ve decided to bring some new elements into our Book Buddies posts, so it will be less Q&A discussion between the two of us, and more personal applications to the book. This is a really character-driven story, as each of the four girls is struggling with their relationships and marriages. One thing that never wavered was their friendship with one another. Even if one of them made a horrible decision, the rest of the girls were there for her. They didn’t really judge and only offered opinions. I liked that this wasn’t a book about struggling with friends; it’s about leaning on friends to get through everything else. Today, I’m including my Cover Colors feature to share the book cover and a few outfits (one for each girl).
This is definitely one of my favorite book covers. I love the colors and obviously the cake. I like that it’s all bent out of shape, but still very pretty and pastel. It represents the book really well. Now, onto the outfits for each character! Some are based on their personal style from the books and other aspects are related to their lives, interests, and issues.
Below, you can see Laura’s waitress outfit for when she starts working again in her hometown. There’s a little crawfish dish to complement that. I also included some notebooks/lined paper to represent her going back to school, plus an LSU necklace and graduate bracelet. All of these things characterize Laura as she tries to get her life back on track, but also in a new direction that’s right for her.
Gabrielle is hiding herself from her new fiance. I tried to include bridal-related things, like the cake purse, white shoes, and engagement ring. The outfit is very muted and boring because she was always trying to keep her real life a secret, especially around Tony and his family. The teacher mug shows what she hopes to do and the key necklace represents her mother’s current situation.
Madison was kind of the badass rocker girl, as she hung around with a guy in a band who smelled like cigarettes all the time. She was struggling with her father’s cancer, so I included a mug to represent her strong relationship to him. She received a pearl necklace as a gift, that caused some issues later on, plus went to Mardi Gras and got some beads. The outfit just represents her personality, in my opinion.
Claire was the wife of a pastor and worked on his social media account. She was fairly obsessed with tweeting for him, so I included a phone with a cross on the case and hashtag earrings. I imagine her wearing some nice, conservative clothing items and makeup. She is the only girl with a baby, so I added a onesie and diaper bag for Sadie. I also included a stripper pole… no comment 😉
What did you think of the small town featured in this book?
How was it similar or different to the place you grew up?
I am all too familiar with small town living! Of course, my experience is in the northeast and I don’t think it’s exactly the same as the south… but still. Everyone knows everyone to a creepy extent. I could probably still remember and tell you where the 150 kids in my graduating class went to college. I worked in the one grocery store in the town, which was right near the one stoplight in the center of town. Everything was quaint and farm-filled where I grew up. I remember nodding my head like crazy throughout so much of this book! I don’t blame some of the girls for having a hard time with staying there (or leaving and coming back) because I’ve often dealt with the same feelings about my town.
Which character’s experience resonated with you the most?
Whose story did you enjoy the least?
This is hard to say! I think I liked Laura’s character the most because she had a very slow realization about what she deserved, but the development was solid. She went ahead and bettered herself without lying to anyone, hiding who she was, or caring what everyone thought (after the initial shock). (I just read Cristina’s answer to this and realized we’ve said almost the exact same things hahaha.) Anyways, I’m writing this about a week after finishing the book and don’t think the characters have stuck with me as much as I hoped. I liked each of them for different reasons but I think Claire’s was my least favorite. She stuck her head in the sand about her husband, even when certain things were glaringly obvious, and I kind of wanted to punch her?
I’m a huge fan of adult fiction books with multiple points of view, but usually find them hard to manage. The author never can fully dive into the character enough for me to really get to know each person. This book, on the other hand, did a great job of that. I felt fairly connected to each of the four girls, even though I often wasn’t a huge fan of them. They all made a lot of mistakes and assumptions that I hated… but (as I alluded to at the top of this post) I loved that their friendship remained strong. This was especially important during the timeline of this story because so many of their other relationships (mostly romantic) were falling apart.
This book reminded me of a cross between two adult fiction reads I’ve read. The first is one of my favorite books, Nowhere But Home, because of the southern small town setting. The second is a book I reaaaally didn’t like, Girls in White Dresses, because of the actual plot around marriage, younger people, engagements, and friendship. As you can maybe guess, this story falls somewhere in between those two books for me. I enjoyed certain elements but wasn’t a huge fan of others. The characters grew on me after a rough start and with each stupid decision… but I could at least see where they were coming from in most situations.
I was nervous when the book was about 3/4 of the way through because I didn’t think it was going to end the way I wanted to. In the end, everything turned out the way I hoped! Even though I’m rating this one 3.5 stars, I can’t think of many things I would change. I enjoyed the reading experience and basically read 75% of the book in one sitting! I’d recommend it if you’re looking to segue out of YA into Adult, as these characters were right out of high school but experiencing “grown up” situations with college, family, jobs, marriage, and relationships.
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