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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Now and Then Friends & A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

Review by Suze

Rachel and Claire were best friends when they were children, but something caused a rift between them. Rachel was never able to leave Hartley-by-the-Sea, she's been stuck taking care of her family for years. Since her mother became disabled Rachel has been looking after her younger sisters. She also has a three-year-old nephew to partially raise, so her days are always filled. She supports everyone by cleaning houses of wealthy people. One of those houses is being owned by Claire's family. The house hasn't been used as a permanent residence for years, but now Claire is back. What does that mean for Rachel?

Claire always did what she was told. Other people made the decisions in her life and she just went along with everything. Because of this she now has nothing left, she doesn't have a job, she isn't together with her fiancé any longer and she has to start over completely. She's back in Hartley-by-the-Sea friendless and alone. She could use a shoulder to lean on and her brother Andrew asks Rachel to keep an eye on his fragile sister. However, after everything that happened between them, Rachel isn't happy to spend time with her former best friend and is feeling hurt all over again. Will she and Claire be able to find their way back to each other eventually or is it too late for them to make up?

Now and Then Friends is an impressive story about two former friends who could use a second chance together. Both Rachel and Claire are struggling. Claire has never had a true identity. She let other people direct her and never made any decisions for herself. This was quite shocking at first. She's sweet, but doesn't know how to live and she doesn't have a backbone. I enjoyed witnessing her grow and turn into the woman she's supposed to be. For me that was one of the best parts of the story. Because of Claire's behavior Rachel was hurt and those feelings keep resurfacing. Rachel is quite bitter because of the unfairness of her situation. She's incredibly smart, but can't follow her dreams because she has to provide for her family. She tries to remain in control and sometimes becomes too much because of this. I could easily feel her pain and think Kate Hewitt has done an amazing job describing the feelings of both of her main characters.

Now and Then Friends is set in Hartley-by-the-Sea, which is a beautiful place with interesting inhabitants. I had a lot of fun reading about it. She combines this with a gorgeous moving story about friendship and family. I loved this combination and think it worked out very well. Now and Then Friends is a fantastic book, it has many emotional layers and there are plenty of surprising twists and turns. Kate Hewitt's writing has a wonderful warmth that always manages to pull me in straight away. I love her books and highly recommend them.


If you love beautiful stories about friends and family Now and Then Friends would be an excellent choice. It's part of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Review by Suze

Abby lives with her grandmother and helps her with the family business, a beach café in Hartley-by-the-Sea that could use an upgrade. Abby's grandmother is struggling with her health, so Abby is glad she can take care of her and help her with the café. When Abby and Noah needed a place to stay after Abby's fiancé passed away moving in with her grandmother was the perfect solution and Abby is happy where she is. This abruptly ends when her mother shows up. Laura left Abby with her grandmother when Abby was little and never returned. They've only seen each other a few times since then. Laura has come back to stay and once more turns Abby's life completely upside down.

Laura is back in her hometown. She used to have a successful career, but is now jobless and homeless. She wants to make a fresh start with her daughter. However, Abby isn't ready to let her mother back in just like that. Laura has to work for it. Slowly she's trying to bond with her daughter and grandson, something she should have done years ago. Will she be able to make up for her past mistakes and is there a chance Abby will forgive her? Several tragic incidents are making things even harder for them, will they be able to find their way back to each other eventually?

A Mother Like Mine is a beautiful emotional story about a complex mother-daughter relationship. Abby has never seen Laura as a mother. Laura was very young when she had her daughter and then left. Nothing is ever black and white though and it was interesting to discover why she went away. Both Abby and Laura are having a hard time adjusting to their new situation and Kate Hewitt describes their struggles in a fantastic emphatic way. I was intrigued by them from the start and couldn't wait to find out more about them. Abby is sweet and caring and Laura has a harder surface, but underneath she is actually much more kind than I expected. They have a lot in common and I enjoyed finding out in which ways they resembled each other. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to discover if they'd find a way to get along.

Kate Hewitt writes about complicated family relationships with love and compassion. I love how heartwarming her stories are. Her characters have their flaws and sometimes it's hard to understand their decisions, which makes their stories even more fascinating. I love reading about family connections and A Mother Like Mine is a strong story about this topic. I really enjoyed reading this book and was surprised by the many unexpected directions the story takes. I liked it very much and was spellbound from beginning to end.


If you love mother-daughter stories you will definitely like A Mother Like Mine. It's part of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, but can be read as a standalone as well.

About Kate Hewitt

Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can read about her life at

Author links


1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an American ex-pat living in a small market town in Wales with my husband and five children, aged between 4 and 18.

2. What makes your heart beat faster?

A great story idea, the beauty of the world around me, knowing I am loved!

3. If you could create the perfect romantic day what would it look like?

I think it would be a fairly normal day. My husband and I have had to find romance in little things, as with five children we can’t get away very often! So I find him bringing me a cup of coffee in the morning just as romantic as a day strolling through Paris—something we haven’t been able to do ☺

4. Who are your favorite romantic couple?

I love the quiet, tortured aspect of the suppressed romance between the butler Stevens and the housekeeper Miss Kenton in Remains of the Day. They never get together, but their fledlging romance is so perfectly done.

5. Could you describe what romance means to you?

Romance is showing a person how much he or she means to you with thoughtful gestures, loving words, and ultimately, sacrificial love for that person.

6. Do you find it difficult to write about romance?

I love writing romance, because I love writing stories of healing and hope. Romance isn’t just the ‘meet cute’ at the beginning where two people meet and sparks fly. It’s the depth of enduring love, which faces fears, trials, and grief.

7. Can you tell us about your most romantic experience?

My husband’s marriage proposal was very romantic—in Central Park, with him kneeling in front of the fountain of Bethesda.

8. What kind of music do you like to listen to when you're in a romantic mood?

I love old Sinatra songs which combine whimsy with romance.

9. Which country personafies romance for you and why?

I’m not sure a country personifies romance for me, but I love the Greek isles and find them quite romantic—white sand, blue-green sea, and delicious food! The perfect place to be swept away.

10. What can we expect from you in the future?

My third Hartley-by-the-Sea book, A Mother Like Mine, is coming out August 8 and my fourth and last Willoughby Close book is coming out July 18. In the autumn I will be coming out with a brand new series, the Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite, set in the Lake District.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Now and Then Friends by Kate Hewitt.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. A Mother Like Mine sounds like a beautiful, emotional story.

  2. Wow, supporting five children and full time writing is very impressive. best wishes with the new books.

  3. great interview, love the sound of this book xx

  4. Awal liat judul,kirain Now and Then Friends itu tentang friendzone, ternyata masalah persahabatan😂😂😂

  5. Great interview. Thanks for the chance. I love the sound of these books.

  6. Both of the books sound fabulous.

  7. I'd love to go to the Greek isles. Never listened to Sinatra songs but I've heard great things.

  8. Awweee. Nothing like a feel good book on friendships and family love <3

  9. What a wonderful interview. Looking forward to new books

  10. Such a nice interview! Yet again inspired to read new books!

  11. Wishing you success with your new Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite series.

  12. I loved reading this interview. I love the cover of your new book.

  13. It sounds like a lovely book. Thank you for sharing it.

  14. I agree. Thoughtful gestures are romantic.

  15. I love what you said about writing romance.