Her Best Friend

Her Best Friend - Sarah Mayberry I try to be stingy with my five stars, but I wavered between a four and a five for a few minutes before I decided that it's perfect for what it is - a category contemporary that makes you smile with your whole face.Amy Parker and Quinn Whitfield have been friends so long that there's a photo of them sharing the same teething ring as babies. They grew up together, played together and were two peas in a pod, until the double whammy of puberty and a new girl named Lisa went and changed everything. Though the three hung together as the Three Musketeers, Quinn and Lisa eventually married - with Amy serving as "Best Person" at their wedding - and moved from their small town near Melbourne to attend law school in Sydney.Throughout all this, Amy has harbored an unrequited love for Quinn that she never declared. Nearing 30, she decides it's time to stop pining for what will never be and slowly cuts contact with Quinn and Lisa. For the past 18 months she's ignored calls and emails, hoping distance might help her move on. Unfortunately, she's also missed that Lisa's been carrying on an affair and that they're currently going through a divorce. So, in his hometown to help Amy realize her dream of owning and renovating the historic cinema in town, Quinn reconnects with Amy and wants to regain what they once had, leaving her torn between keeping the status quo or risking it all to chance a romantic relationship with him.What I loved most about this novel what how well Mayberry handled their relationship. She makes their friendship clear through their actions - their casual banter, remembered food preferences, shared memories - rather than just telling us they were friends and skipping to the lust resisting. She spends the time to establish their friendship for the reader to see before truly pressing the romantic angle. As a result, I could easily feel their angst and confusion along with them, and grin and sigh when it all comes together.I enjoyed the companion plot about buying and renovating the theater. It was an opportunity to show the two of them working together to make a dream happen, but not in a particularly heavy-handed manner either. The task suits them well - Amy's working to preserve something she's loved for her whole life, and Quinn seeing in it a chance to escape the city life that is increasingly alien to him. The evil competing developer was a bit two dimensional, but not absurdly so. After reading a recent journal article about how most business managers are sociopathic, perhaps he wasn't all that far-fetched. I certainly have had clients with his manner.I also really liked that Quinn's ex and their childhood friend, Lisa, is thoroughly human. Yes she's a manipulative bitch in some ways, but she was sympathetic in others. There's no Disney-style reconciliation for the three, but the book does a great job of not demonizing her. She and Quinn just couldn't make it work, both regret that it couldn't, and that's that. Refreshing.I'd recommend this to anyone who likes their romance fairly sweet, loves to see friends become lovers and wants to close a book wearing a big goofy grin.