Saturday, June 11, 2022

Review: The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis

The Friendship Pact by Jill Shalvis
Series: Sunrise Cove, Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
The Friendship Pact cover
ISBN: 9780063095465
Release Date: June 14, 2022
Source: Author
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Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Alone in the world, Tae Holmes and her mother April pretty much raised each other, but as Tae starts asking questions about the father she’s never met, April, for the first time in her life, goes silent. To make matters worse, Tae is dangerously close to broke and just manages to avoid financial meltdown when she lands a shiny new contract with an adventure company for athletes with disabilities and wounded warriors.

Her first big fundraiser event falls flat, but what starts out as a terrible, horrible, no-good night turns into something else entirely when Tae finds herself face-to-face with Riggs Copeland. She hasn’t seen the former Marine since their brief fling in high school, and while still intensely drawn to him, she likes her past burned and buried, thank you very much. Hence their friendship pact.

But when April oddly refuses to help Tae track down her father, it’s Riggs who unexpectedly comes to her aid. On a hunt to unlock the past, the two of them find themselves on a wild ride and learn a shocking truth, while also reluctantly bonding in a way neither had seen coming. Now Tae must decide whether she’s going to choose love … or walk away from her own happiness.

The Friendship Pact is a sweet story about love, both romantic and familial. Jill Shalvis’s second Sunrise Cove novel takes readers back to the Tahoe area and introduces us to characters whose pasts aren’t as far behind them as they may think.

All her life, it’s been Tae and her mother, April, raising each other. The two of them have an admittedly codependent relationship but there’s real love and support there that made me smile. Tae’s event company is taking off but the night of her first big fundraiser she has a run in with a man who knew her father. Tae has questions about the man she never met, but she doesn’t want to hurt April by pushing for information. That same night Tae also runs into Riggs, her high school fling. Riggs is back in Sunrise Cove for a few months to help out with Adrenaline HQ, his brother’s company and Tae’s client. The attraction between the two is instantaneous but Riggs only wants to be friends because he’s leaving for a job in Washington, D.C. soon.

Tae and Riggs are classic Jill Shalvis protagonists: likeable, slightly quirky characters who are a bit messy. There’s humor and heart all over The Friendship Pact, which is also typical of a Shalvis novel. Tae has trouble trusting and Riggs has trouble communicating but even so, the two of them just click. It’s easy to fall into their story and their romance is sweet with a bit of spice. Tae’s relationship with her mother and Riggs’s relationship with his brother is just as important to the story as the romance. April was fifteen when she had Tae and she did what she could for her daughter but wishes she could do more and make up for past hardships. April is coming into her own in this book and she was so interesting I wish we’d explored her character more. And Jake, Riggs’s brother is a veteran who runs an adventuring company for other wounded warriors and (at Tae’s suggestion) for at-risk youths. Jake has a solid sense of self, but he and his brother have some issues from their upbringing they must work out. I liked seeing he and Riggs work through their relationship and come out stronger.

The Friendship Pact is all about love, family, and trust. Shalvis blends heavier issues with her signature humor and it works well, resulting in a satisfying read. All in all, Riggs and Tae’s story is a great summer read, whether you’re on the lakeside or just wish you were.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.