Reviewed on 18th February 2019

The Four of Us by Áine Toner

Genre: Contemporary / Fiction / Romance / Women's Fiction
The Four of Us by Áine Toner Synopsis

Four Friends. Four Secrets.When Lucy tells her friends they need break a from each other, Pippa, Colette and Christine are stunned – after all, Lucy is the quiet one, isn’t she? As the four girls try to adjust to life without each other, none of them could have foreseen the consequences of mousy Lucy’s announcement that day in a swanky Belfast hotel…and as secrets start to come to light, the girls are all asking the same question: How well do you really know your friends?

The Four of Us by Áine Toner Review

An Honest Account of the Importance of Friendship

Recently I had the privilege of reading The Four of Us by Áine Toner. Usually, when I finish reading a book, I can’t wait to sit down and write the review. I love telling people what I thought of my latest read.

This was not the case however when I finished reading The Four of Us.

It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy the book – I LOVED IT. It was because I needed a few days to properly digest the characters and the storyline. I needed to chat to a few friends about the book before I felt I was in the right place to write the review and do the book justice.

Throughout my twenties, I thought I had life all worked out – in fact, I believed I was invincible. I had a good job, lovely house, awesome supportive husband, amazing friends and family and finally my two beautiful children. Life was progressing according to THE plan or at least how I imagined the perfect life should be at that stage. Fast forward 10 to 15 years (yes, I’m approaching the big 40 next year) and life is so far removed from the ‘perfect’ world I once imagined that I lived in.

The book is written from the individual perspective of four women who lead four very different lives but are tied together by their friendship circle. Some of these friendships date back to childhood whilst others have only recently joined the group. Through the everyday drama of these women’s lives we experience laughter, sadness and tears, humiliation and so much more.

The friendship group is shocked and thrown into utter turmoil when Lucy, the mild and quiet one who always tries to keep the peace in the group, announces that she needs a break from them their friendship circle.

What originally started out as Lucy telling her friends that she wanted a break from them all, ends up with the whole group all agreeing to take a break. They decide to set a time cap for the friendship sabbatical and agree to a no communication policy during this time. Before they all go their separate ways, they decide to all meet again at the same place in 6 months.

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Lucy chooses to focus all of her time and energy on her personal relationship with her partner. At times Lucy finds she really misses her friends and she wishes she could simply message or call Christine just to have a chat.

Christine is obsessed with her stationery collection and at times it seems like she is more interested in stationary (and ensuring it is all kept in order) than her husband. Christine struggles with not having Lucy in her life and doesn’t understand why Lucy had to cut all contact with her.

Colette is definitely the outgoing and vivacious one of the group. The friendship break means more time to date and go out with men she meets on an app.

The last friend, Pippa, is married with twins but she seems to spend most of her time trying to keep up with her much younger work colleagues. She is always pretending to be on some fad diet or heading out to a bar with her colleagues, just trying to fit in. When she isn’t, she is thinking about being out with them or other people from work.

I couldn’t help but compare each of the characters to friends I’ve had throughout the years. The similarities between some of them is uncanny – in fact, I kept waiting to read the caption ‘The names have been changed to protect the identity of the individuals’!!

The characters were so real that at times, I could even hear my friends’ voices laughing or crying at the situations the characters found themselves in.

Finally, the friends are re-united slightly earlier than originally planned when they all agree to meet up for a few days of fun and sunshine in Italy. What a way to end the friendship break. Three days of sun, fun and drinking in the Italian countryside. Unfortunately, the trip is doomed right from the very start.

Secrets… ALL four women have been hiding secrets. Secrets, that will change lives forever. Will the friendships survive?

When I finished reading The Four of Us, it made me sit back and think about my life. Why is it that my life no longer resembles what I thought it would at this age? How did I get here and what decisions lead me to be here? What about my friends?

Just because I’m not the same person I was in my twenties nor am I the person I thought I would be at nearly 40, it doesn’t mean that I failed when it came to my life plan. Instead, I like to think of it as a deviation from my original plan that has made me into the person I am today. Some of my friends have been on the rollercoaster known as life with me for many years and others only for a short time but one thing this book reminded me is to never take my friendships for granted.

A massive ‘Thank you’ to Áine Toner for this hilarious and thoroughly entertaining book. I enjoyed every word and felt as though I lived every momentous moment with Pippa, Colette, Christine and Lucy.

Published by: Manatee Books
ISBN: 978-125030-169-7

(Many thanks to Manatee Books and Tracy Fenton for inviting us to take part in this blog tour.)

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