Happy Thursday afternoon all!
Excited to share with you today at Excerpt for this amazing book! I will be posting my review on August 9. I don’t know about you but it is books like this that are getting me through these crazy times!🐚
About the Book
[ ] Dance till dawn
[ ] Go skydiving
[ ] Wear a bikini in public
[ ] Start living
Two best friends jump-start their lives in a summer that will change them forever….
Single mom Ellen Fox couldn’t be more content – until she overhears her son saying he can’t go to his dream college because she needs him too much. If she wants him to live his best life, she has to convince him she’s living hers.
So Unity Leandre, her best friend since forever, creates a list of challenges to push Ellen out of her comfort zone. Unity will complete the list, too, but not because she needs to change. What’s wrong with a thirtysomething widow still sleeping in her late husband’s childhood bed?
The Friendship List begins as a way to make others believe they’re just fine. But somewhere between “wear three-inch heels” and “have sex with a gorgeous guy”, Ellen and Unity discover that life is meant to be lived with joy and abandon, in a story filled with humor, heartache, and regrettable tattoos.
Silver Pines was the largest retirement community in the Pacific Northwest. There were single-family homes, condos, a golf course, several clubhouses, three restaurants, a workout facility, two pools, tennis and pickleball courts, and a grocery store. Deeper into the multi-acre complex were the independent living apartments, assisted living apartments, memory care and rehab facilities, a skilled nursing home and an outpatient surgery center.
The community hosted weekly garage sales, movie nights and all kind of clubs. The senior center—housed in the largest of the clubhouses—was open to the public.
Unity had discovered it and Silver Pines when she’d first moved back, three years ago. She’d decided to take up knitting, and the senior center had offered a class. She’d enjoyed the company so much, she’d joined the local pickleball league and was a regular at various events. Now, with the exception of Ellen, all her friends were over the age of sixty-five.
She drove through quiet, well-maintained streets. The association took care of all front lawns—freeing the residents from worry. Unity smiled. Maybe Howard should tell his son about the work his lawn business could have here. Not that she was interested. Too many of her friends were trying to fix her up. They liked Unity and wanted to see her “happy.” When she tried to tell them it had been only three years and she was nowhere near over Stuart, they told her she shouldn’t wallow. As if she had a choice about the amount of grief in her life. She also tried explaining that she’d had one great marriage and didn’t need another one, but that didn’t work either. Only Ellen let her be.
Unity turned onto a side street, then another, before pulling in front of a small rambler. The house was two bedrooms and two baths—about twelve hundred square feet. Sadly, Betty had fallen the previous week and broken her hip and would be moving into an independent living apartment.
Betty’s soon-to-be former house, like all the other houses, was on a single level with no stairs. The path from the street to the dark blue front door had a gentle incline. There were no steps anywhere in the house. The doorways were wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Inside the finishes were upscale. There were several floor plans and this was one of Unity’s favorites.
Dagmar met her at the front door. “You’re here. Good. We can get started right away. I went and saw Betty yesterday and got a list of all the things she wants us to pack for her. The movers come in the morning and take care of the rest of it.”
Dagmar, a seventysomething former librarian, had the energy level of a brewing volcano. She wore her straight hair in a chin-length bob. The color varied, sometimes significantly. Currently her swinging, shiny hair was a deep auburn with a single purple stripe on her left side. Her clothes matched her personality—vibrant hues battled prints for attention. She was as likely to show up in a Hawaiian-print caftan as riding pants and a bullfighter’s bolero jacket.
Today she had on a calf-length wrap skirt done in a balloon animal print. Her twinset picked up the lime green of one of the balloons and seemed conservative enough until she turned around and Unity saw a sequined version of the Rolling Stones open mouth logo. As always, reading glasses perched on Dagmar’s head.
“Let’s start in the bedroom. All she wants us to pack up there are her unmentionables.” Dagmar grinned over her shoulder as she led the way through the cheerful living room to the short hallway. “She used those exact words. Unmentionables. What is this? The set of Little Women? I told her unless she had some fur lined G-strings, the movers weren’t going to care, but you know how Betty is.”
Unity was used to Dagmar’s whirlwind, take-charge attitude. The first time Unity had come to Silver Pines to take her knitting classes, Dagmar had spotted her immediately. Within ten minutes, she pretty much knew Unity’s life story. By the end of the fifty-minute lesson, she’d introduced Unity to everyone in the class and had invited Unity to a potluck and a pickleball game. They’d been friends ever since.
“I packed up her medications yesterday,” Dagmar told her, pointing to the bathroom. “I’m hiding them at my place until she’s out of rehab. You know that doctor of hers is going to mess with everything and it will take her weeks to get back on track. This way I have a stash so we can figure it out as we go.”
“Because self-medication is always the answer?” Unity asked wryly.
“At our age, it can be.” Dagmar pointed to the roll of packing paper on the bed. “You get going on her Swarovski collection while I pack up the girl stuff. That’s mostly what she’s worried about. Her glass animals and the pictures, of course.” Dagmar’s smile faded. “She won’t have room to hang them at her new apartment. I’ve been thinking that I should put them all in a photo album for her.”
Before Unity could say anything, Dagmar pointed to the paper. “Chop-chop. I have bridge this afternoon and I’m sure you have work you should be doing.”
Unity didn’t take offense at the instruction—it was simply Dagmar’s way. She unrolled the paper, then she walked around the small house, collecting the crystal animals in a sturdy box.
Betty had them in her hutch, of course, but also on floating shelves in the living room and den. As Unity gathered crystal swans and frogs, dogs and birds, she looked around at various rooms. The kitchen was recently remodeled, with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. There was plenty of storage and a back deck with room for a table and chairs, along with a barbecue.
Have a lovely day! XOXO Berit🦋