Writing in the bestselling tradition of Barbara Delinsky and Patricia Gaffney, Judith Henry Wall, in her new novel, The Girlfriends Club, has crafted a wry and moving story of four women who have been best friends since childhood. Through the years, and through many spiritual crises -- including the recent divorces that three of them have endured -- they have given one another emotional support. But when they are forced to share a secret that threatens to disrupt their lives, each of them begins to wonder if this bond of friendship that has held for almost four decades will be strong enough to withstand the strain.
On the eve of Mary Sue Prescott's forty-fifth birthday, she is joined by her three closest friends, Gretchen, Pamela, and Dixie, at the lakeside cabin that has been their refuge for years. This meeting of "The Girlfriends Club" -- as they jokingly call themselves -- is not, however, strictly a celebration, since the following morning, Mary Sue is scheduled to undergo a mastectomy.
At the same time that they are dealing with Mary Sue's operation, another crisis arises, requiring the three women to make a decision that results in a haunting and terrifying secret.
How these friends individually deal with their terrible secret, while going on with their lives, is a reflection of how each has coped with the traumas and stresses of the past.
- Pamela, the only one of the four still married, lives in a state of perpetual fear that she will upset or embarrass her older husband, a respected judge, who is both rich and controlling, and who disapproves of Pamela's "divorcée" friends.
- Gretchen is fearful as well, but her anxiety stems from her concern about her future following a particularly acrimonious divorce that has left her both bitter and distrustful of all men.
- Dixie, more amicably divorced, has gone on with her life -- at least up to a point. There is a man in her life again, but she keeps him a secret from her friends because she has broken one of their taboos by having an affair with a married man.
- For Mary Sue, divorce has been especially painful, as she has not stopped caring for her former husband. A devoted wife and mother, she was devastated when he left her for a sexy, much more sophisticated widow. Now, afraid not to have a man in her life, Mary Sue has talked herself into dating again, even if it means settling for an abusive relationship.
How these women deal with their personal secrets and fears, and with the trials and tribulations of growing older and trying to find a place in a world in which everyone seems to be younger and prettier and sexier, is at the heart of The Girlfriends Club.
It is a story told with compassion, humor, and absolute truth, one that explores the dynamics of friendship, and the secrets both shared and held in their hearts, as four women learn that it is never too late to live, to trust, and to love again.