The blessings of friendship in life & books

Sep 17, 2022 | 10 comments |

Returning from my blog hiatus, I welcome new subscribers and send warm wishes to you all.

Along with family, both my romances and women’s fiction celebrate the blessings of friendship.

The bonds I share with friends are amongst the most important in my life and I enjoy reading stories about friendship too.

Life friends

Loyal. Sympathetic. Trustworthy. Kind. Sincere.

Not only words that apply to Floppy Ears, they also come to mind when I think of my human friends.

The small group of trusted writer friends with whom I share the ups and downs of this career and who nurture me in life as well as work.

The high school friend who’s now a staunch support to “writer me,” buying and reading my books and popping up daily on social media to remind me I’m not talking into a void.

My sister-cousin who’s there for me whenever I need her, both practically and by lifting me up in prayer.

Then there’s the friend of thirty plus years who seems to have a sixth sense for when my life is in crisis. She always calls at just the right moment and not only offers emotional support, but pithy wisdom and an “attitude” that makes her both staunch ally and force to be reckoned with.

The older neighbour who’s become like a second mother, offering maternal wisdom along with home-baking and other “just because” treats.

And the virtual friends I’ve connected with through social media. Boosting and encouraging me in life and writing, they represent the best of the online world, and how it can help us make positive connections and learn from others far beyond our immediate circles.

These and many others make my life better and also shape how I explore friendship in my writing.

Friendship in books

As a reader, I’ve always been drawn to bookish friendships.

In L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Anne and Diana are “kindred spirits” and “bosom friends.” I first read the Anne books in childhood and Anne and Diana’s bond continues to influence how I approach female friendship in both my life and ficton.

And since I’ve recently been immersed in reading about England in the Second World War as background for a women’s fiction novel I’m writing, I’ve been struck by how important friendship was in those wartime years.

The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle by Jennifer Ryan is a 2022 release and Second World War women’s fiction novel set on the British home front.

I loved this heartwarming story of three women who, at a time of clothes rationing, come together through mending wedding dresses and, while helping others, change themselves and find love too.

The Railway Girls series by Maisie Thomas (a dear real-life friend) is also set in wartime England, and is about a group of women who ‘do their bit’ by working on Britain’s railways whilst the men are away fighting. Each wonderful book (the newest, A Christmas Miracle for the Railway Girls, is out this autumn) celebrates strong female friendships.

 I hope you have friends to cherish in life and books. Do you have a favourite book about friendship? 

10 Comments

  1. Elizabeth Waldman

    Dear Jen, I recently just got a book from the library called, The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman that I think you would like and I just read her new book, called, The Matchmaker’s Gift which is also a historical book which was a wonderful read that I highly recommend. Sincerely, your friend in Kingston, Liz🙋‍♀️☕️

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you for recommending those books and author, Liz. Much appreciated and I’ll look for titles by Lynda Cohen Loigman in my local library. From what you said, she indeed sounds like a writer I’d enjoy.

      Reply
  2. Anne Kinch

    Hello Jen,
    Having had a very busy summer I didn’t find time to respond to your other recent blogs which I have now caught up on. Your comments about friendship certainly ring true and I chuckled over your remarks about mosquitoes in your previous blog. Such nasty pests!
    I am finally ordering “The Sweetheart Locket” for my Kindle and looking forward to reading it. Wishing you a happy fall and looking forward to your next book.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog, Anne. Lovely to hear that you’re able to read “The Sweetheart Locket” on Kindle. I hope you enjoy it. Happy fall to you as well.

      Reply
  3. Susanna Bavin

    I loved the mention of Anne and Diana in your blog. Anne is one of my favourite characters. She has such a big heart as well as a huge imagination. Thank you for sharing a little information about your various friendships. It is important to appreciate the support we have. I’m glad to know you have a ‘mother figure’ in your life. We all need a mum.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      As you know, “Anne” is one of my favourite fictional characters too, Susanna. I’m grateful for your friendship too. and appreciate all your support in writing and life. xx

      Reply
  4. Pamela Wagner

    You are so accurate about the importance of friends….and if one is lucky enough…a kindred spirit. You know I enjoy all your books and how the characters develop, overcome struggles, face fears and grow . Always excited to hear you have another one or two in the works. I know you work hard at your craft…but know you are not speaking to a “void” and we all love your writing and are so proud of the writer you have become….and the very courage it took to leave your day job to make this your day job. Congrats for all you do. Juggling writing, being a mother and a wife. A lot! And so you find refueling in your friends…..they are lucky to have you!

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Pamela. Your kind comment touches my heart and I appreciate it, and you, so very much. I’m lucky to have you too!

      Reply
  5. Jane Cable

    I completely agree about the wonderful fictional friendships in The Railway Girls. So very real in their ups and downs.

    Reply
    • Jen Gilroy

      Thank you, Jane. How lovely to hear that you enjoy “The Railway Girls” too. Although the books are set in the 1940s, the friendship bonds still feel very timely today.

      Reply

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