The Best of Friends by Susan Mallery

January 19, 2011

Plot summary (from the publisher): In high school, studious Jayne Scott and wild child Rebecca Worden became unlikely best friends—a tie that endured even after Rebecca fled her family to live overseas. After Jayne’s mother passed away, she became part unpaid assistant, part surrogate daughter to the wealthy Wordens.

But now, ten years later, Rebecca is coming home to L.A. to cause havoc for Elizabeth, the mother who all but rejected her. And Jayne finds herself pulled deeper into the Wordens’ complicated family dynamics—especially when Rebecca’s brother, David, returns as well.

David is the man Jayne always wanted and knew she could never have. But when he gravitates toward her in spite of Elizabeth’s protests, her vow to escape the family’s shadow is put to the ultimate test. And as lies are shattered and true feelings exposed, Jayne must decide where loyalty ends, and love begins….

Liked:

  • I liked the parts dealing with Jayne and Rebecca’s friendship. It’s interesting how ties like this can form between two people with such diverse backgrounds, and usually when the ties are established early on — such as in high school — they prove to be relatively strong and enduring. I liked their dynamic for the most part, but then Rebecca turned into such an unrealistic bitch that she ruined the whole thing.
  • The way Jayne met David again was kind of funny. Mallery did a good job describing Jayne walking around with that huge arrangement from that Los Angeles flower delivery service and then falling and crashing. Hard to believe that would turn out to be the precipitating event in the Jayne-David romance.
  • Some of the information about diamonds was fairly interesting. I liked learning about the blue diamond, and wouldn’t have minded a bit more on the topic.

Disliked:

  • I hated how this book turned out to be more about the dysfunctional Worden family than about Rebecca and Jayne’s friendship. I didn’t care about Blaine or Elizabeth because they were such cookie-cutter characters. He was the kind old patriarch with a soft spot for Jayne, while she was an overbearing, hypocritical shrew hung up on class distinctions, social status, and money. Gee, I’ve never come across those kinds of characters before….
  • The David and Jayne relationship developed way too quickly. Sure, Jayne had been part of the Worden family since high school, so she and David had technically “known” each other for years. But they never spent any time together, so it seemed highly unlikely that they would go from casual sex to declarations of love and a marriage proposal in a few short months.
  • The whole Nigel thing seemed so out of place and disconnected to the main action. I’m not sure what the point of that was, but it certainly wasn’t helpful in any way.
  • I’m so sure Blaine would move his entire company to Dallas just to humor David and Jayne. Yes, I can buy that he would approve of David and Jayne and give them his blessing, but move the headquarters and follow them there? I don’t know… that just seemed over the top.
  • Of course Elizabeth the evil shrew was left with nothing but the house and some money at the end. It’s not as though it was hard to see that coming.

Rating:

The Best of Friends was my first Susan Mallery book, and based on what I read here, I probably won’t be turning to her again. This was a free ebook download from my local library, so it’s not as though I lost any money on the deal, but I still felt as though I wasted my time on this one. I was expecting a novel about the friendship between the leads, but that turned out to be the C storyline behind the David-Jayne romance and the Worden family saga. I give this book 2 stars out of 5.

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