Families and Friendships

Written by Margaret Thornton
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

Set in 1960s northern England, the story of Fiona Norwood continues in this saga from popular author Thornton (Cast the First Stone, As Time Goes By). Fiona has found happiness with the duties attached to being the wife of Reverend Simon Norwood. They have a small daughter and another on the way and just enough parish challenges to keep life interesting.

But life is about to get even more interesting. Debbie Hargreaves is the daughter Fiona gave up at birth, and she is coming of age with some growing pains. Dumped by her first real boyfriend, considered proud by friends, and of course, embarrassed by her loving older adoptive parents, Debbie decides to find out about and meet her birth mother. Debbie succeeds at her quest and comes to a successful bridge between her widening circle of family (the Reverend has a surprise offspring as well) at a very convenient time just as her birth mother Fiona goes into labor and needs help that only Debbie can provide.

Warmly nostalgic in tone and old fashioned in style, Families and Friendships leans more on head-hopping point of view shifts and “tell” rather than “show” in its narration. The preponderance of detail might strike some readers as rewarding atmosphere and background, but others may find this story overwritten and a bit dithery.