Couple Friends by Shawndra Russell
By SMW Staff
Shawndra Russell’s debut novel, Couple Friends, has premiered to 5-star reviews on Amazon.com. We weren’t surprised, she’s been a SingleMindedWomen.com book blogger for years. Along with telling us how she made her big decision to quit her job and write full-time, she’s also giving one SingleMindedWomen.com reader a free copy of her new book!
In Couple Friends, Kieran, the matron of honor, stands watching her best friend march toward a terrible decision—made partly because her husband-to-be’s name is Bill Bingley. This small fact means that her name will thereafter be Jane Bingley, just like a character from her favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice—not exactly a great reason to include on the list of why you want to marry someone. As “Here Comes the Bride” rings out, Kieran’s conscience wars with her to stop the ceremony and tell everyone what happened last night before it’s too late.
Kieran and Jane entered each other’s lives eight years before the wedding, meeting at a small college in Ohio. They avoided each other their freshman and sophomore years because Kieran was an athlete and Jane was their college president’s daughter and a cheerleader. Yet, they bonded during a particularly dreadful class their junior year thanks to buckets of wine.
After finishing grad school in separate states, Kieran is offered a dream job in the equally dreamy setting of Savannah, Georgia, where Jane has been earning her MBA and plans to stay. She and Bill are newly dating, while Kieran and Tyler are newlyweds after meeting their senior year of college. Jane has never quite forgiven Kieran for breaking their senior year No Boyfriend Pact or warmed up to Tyler, but the two couples start hanging out every weekend once Kieran and Tyler arrive in Savannah.
The group continues to grow, and the obligations mount, straining everyone’s romantic relationships as well as their friendships. As these twentysomethings thrust forward into adulthood, Jane becomes more demanding, expecting the rest of the girls to follow her lead as she sprints toward the next milestone of life as quickly as possible. Tensions mount as the characters change and the group dynamic irreparably shifts. Adultery, divorce, career struggles, and baby pressures challenge each couple to decide who they should leave in the past, and who should be part of their futures.
Our friendship was doomed when the first notes of “Here Comes the Bride” rang out. As her matron of honor, I had a front row view of the terrible decision she was about to make, and I worried how our relationship could survive. I froze when they exchanged vows, my thoughts unable to escape how contrived the whole day had felt. My stomach and heart still hadn’t switched back places since delivering the groom’s gift—a bottle of Southern Comfort, which he snatched from my hands before promptly turning his back to me—just minutes before the ceremony. The family and friends gathered for the occasion were clueless about the doubts that swirled in my head, but I was certain Jane and Bill could see into my soul as I silently prayed that despite my huge, suffocating concerns, they would have a long, happy life together.
Scratch that. I should have screamed at the top of my lungs for Jane to run while she still could after what happened just twelve hours before her march down the aisle.
About the author:
Shawndra Russell lives in Savannah, Georgia and works as a copywriter and social media manager by day and writes women’s fiction and articles by night. She loves craft beer, mud runs, Pearl Jam, her husband/unpaid editor, and their Boston terrier Massy. Connect with her on Twitter @ShawndraRussell or on her website at www.shawndrarussell.com.
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