The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen

Don't let the size of this little book fool you. The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen may be small, but it is loaded with complicated relationships and numerous twists and turns. A group of four college friends reunite for a fully-paid trip to Jamaica with their spouses, courtesy of Dwight Glass, the "nerd" of the group, who struck gold with his dot com business. Though it sounds like the ideal beach vacation - a private villa in Jamaica for a week of pampering, sun, swimming, and good times - drama ensues because each couple is flawed, troubled by one thing or another, and comes baring baggage. The location is paradise, but tensions run high and soon they are tested as friends as well as people.

For anyone who went to college in the 90s, and is now dealing with the realities of marriage, career and family, this is a must read. Each family has their own unique situation which makes them seem realistic and relatable as the story unfolds. Tina is a mother of four young children and is overworked and drowning under the demands of parenthood. Her husband, Gio, works long hours in the construction business and only helps when he can. Allie has just received news that a genetic illness runs in her family. Will Ryan be there to take care of her "in sickness and in health" as he promised in their wedding vows? Savannah is carrying the secret of her husband's infidelity. How long before the group realizes that Gary's absence is not because of work but because of his voluptuous office assistant? And, finally, there's Pauline, married to Dwight, who spares no expense to throw her wealthy husband this unforgettable thirty-fifth birthday celebration getaway, hoping it will gloss over the cracks already splitting apart their new marriage.

I really enjoyed this book. The storyline digs in quick and deep and explores the complicated relationships we have with our friends, and with our spouses. It is real life at its best and worst. The author's writing style makes it seem as if you know the characters, and you feel like they are your friends, too. By the time hurricane Betty sweeps through the island paradise, mistakes have been made, deep seeded truths have been revealed, and each of the women have reevaluated everything they thought about their lives and those of the people around them. Though the hurricane tears the island apart, it brings the group together and brings out what is the best in each of them. What I think they discover is that unless you can be honest with yourself and accept who you really are, you cannot be truly happy or be all you can be for those you love. It's a story about couples, friendships, and finding your strongest self to get through the hard stuff.

Fans of Elin Hilderbrand or Nancy Thayer might enjoy this author.

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