Sunset Bridge is the third novel in Emilie Richards' Happiness Key, but, not having read the previous two books, I can assure you that you don't have to have read them to enjoy this book. Instead, settle in for a wonderful story of five women and the friendship they share on a Florida barrier island. Richards is an author who knows how to bring women to life, and to make each of those women a unique character that the reader cares about.
Tracy Deloche owns the five beach cottages on Happiness Key, but what she values most there is the friendship she shares with her tenants. Wanda is the owner of a popular pie shop, a strong woman often at odds with her daughter, Maggie. Maggie is an ex-cop who left her boyfriend, her job, and moved from Miami to work in her mother's pie shop while she decides what to do with her life since she threw away her previous one. Janya is a young Indian wife, learning to love her husband, while bemoaning the fact they can't have children. And, Alice is raising her granddaughter, at a time when she thought she'd be enjoying her retirement years.
It's unusual in a novel of women's friendships to find that each character is so well-defined, and so unique. Often, it's hard to tell characters apart in these novels. But, Tracy is an ex-socialite, struggling with a past that causes conflict in her new relationship with a man who has never mentioned love. Maggie has left a life behind her, but she can't forget the man she left. Maggie is perfectly content with her life as owner of Wanda's Wonderful Pies, until she is offered an opportunity beyond her wildest dreams. Janya and Alice face their own problems, already mentioned. Each woman has her own problems, but, in the end, they all confront the possibility of losing everything they value in life as a tropical storm heads toward Happiness Key. It's a story of love, suspense, and possible tragedy. Is there any problem strong women can't confront when they band together in friendship?
I had never read one of Emilie Richards' books, although I had recommended several to my mother. But, Richards' Sunset Bridge offers something so many novels of friendship do not. As I said before, her characters are all individuals, something I look for in reading stories of friendship. I don't know two women who are exactly alike, or react in the same way. That's what I'm looking for when I read, women who stand out. Emilie Richards made me care for each one of those women of Sunset Bridge. She brought them to life in a novel that threatens to be tragic, while allowing love and friendship to triumph.
Emilie Richards' website is www.emilierichards.com
Sunset Bridge by Emilie Richards. MIRA. ©2011. ISBN 9780778312383 (paperback), 512p.
FTC Full Disclosure - Emilie Richards' assistant sent me a review copy of the book, hoping I would review it.