The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell
Publisher: Atria, Emily Bestler Books, Alloy Entertainment
Publication Date: February 14, 2017
Genres: Women’s Fiction
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.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I first picked this one up. I was a bit apprehensive because sometimes books that have more than one or two main characters, don’t have good character development. If they have a big cast of characters, it can be confusing to try and keep track of everyone. With too many characters, I find it can be difficult to connect with each one and get invested in their outcome.
Not the case with this book. I could not put it down.
Pennell drew me in right from the beginning. From the first page I was invested in these ladies’ lives. I was curious about all of them, interested in each one, and ultimately cared about how their story progressed. Each woman is struggling with something different, but their friendship binds them together.
Laura dropped out of high school to marry her high school sweetheart, Brian, and follow him to LSU where he has been signed to play football. When an injury sidelines Brian, their dreams come to a grinding halt. Now Laura must decide if the life she dreamt of is actually the life she wants.
Claire is married to a prominent local pastor and is the mother of one. Everyone thinks Claire has the perfect life. She even thinks so too sometimes. When she finds out that her husband has been keeping a secret from her, Claire takes matters into her own hands. Will her plan work, or will it cause more pain?
Madison has been in love with Cash Romero since before she can remember. But he isn’t the setting down type, insisting he and Madison keep things casual. When a family crisis arises, Madison is desperate to find a way to help. Meanwhile, she meets shy, sweet George, a man of wealth and generosity. Suddenly, Madison must decide between two paths; the one she thinks she wants, and the one she may just need.
Gabby has not had the easiest of lives. Growing up with a single mother, life was tough. When her mother went to prison for embezzling money, Gabby’s dream of college and a better life were lost. Then she meets kind and loving Tony. Feeling ashamed that her life hasn’t worked out the way she imagined, Gabby keeps her past life a secret, lying and omitting things to Tony. But when someone close to them finds out the truth, Gabby’s hand is forced. Will she come clean to Tony about her lies and risk losing him forever, or will she find a way to keep the truth bottled up?
Growing up in the south, I connected so much with this book. From the church life, to football ruling the lives of all, it allowed me to connect on a deeper level with these ladies. I honestly could have read a full-length novel about each one of these young women and not have gotten bored. With each chapter being from a different woman’s perspective, each individual story is drawn out; their stories overlapping and coinciding with each other. It was interesting seeing how they interacted with each other; sometimes they weren’t always completely open with each other about their lives.
“Things change. And you can’t regret anything that you’ve done. You make decisions based on what you can see in that moment. Sometimes the view shifts.”
The character development was wonderful. Each woman grew and learned and changed for the better. I kept forgetting that these women were only 18-22 years old; they seemed very mature at times. Yes, they each had their moment of immaturity or naivety, but overall these girls were very mature young women. It was nice not reading a story about catty women. These ladies supported each other, and did their best not to judge one another.
“When you love yourself, it’ll be so much easier for you to love someone else.”
Through their individual journeys, they learn how important it is to be honest, not only with others, but with themselves. In the end, these ladies learn to take control of their lives, and make it what they want.
I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.