Tordotcom: The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

In a Book Club Far Away

Military spouses, even former ones, don't send an SOS for just anything. So, when captain's wife Adelaide Wilson-Chang summons her two dearest friends, nurse Sophie Walden and Army veteran-turned-caterer Regina Castro, to help her out after a surgical procedure, they know it's serious. The problem? Sophie and Regina have been estranged from each other for years, since the heartbreaking end to the posting in upstate New York where they all met. Former army nurse Tif Marcelo (Once Upon a Sunset) unfolds the complicated story of the trio's friendship in her third contemporary novel, In a Book Club Far Away.

Marcelo tells her story in all three characters' voices, shifting between Adelaide's present-day medical crisis and the year the women met and formed a book club with their fellow army spouses. The plot's tension ratchets up as readers learn more about what transpired back then, and the women edge closer to confronting one another about their past betrayals and their far-reaching effects. Meanwhile, Marcelo relates, with compassion and realism, each character's present struggles: Adelaide's emergency surgery, Sophie's twin teenage girls and Regina's tentative new romance all stand alongside professional challenges for each woman. Sharing a house for two weeks, the women are forced to work through their longstanding conflict, confront long-held assumptions about one another and even squeeze in a little reading. Marcelo's warmhearted, juicy novel is a compelling portrayal of the fierce bond among military spouses and a sensitive exploration of friends trying their best to right old wrongs. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams