I’ve had The Company of Good Women series by Nancy Anderson, Lael Littke, and Carroll Morris on my must read list for quite a while, so when I was offered the chance to review the third book in their series titled Surprise Packages, I jumped at the chance. Though I had every intention of reading them all, the time slipped by and I didn’t have time. I recommend reading them in order, of course, for many reasons.

First, the cast of characters is many and diverse and reading the first two books would have made keeping everyone straight so much easier, as they added people slowly to the rich tapestry of stories instead of going in cold turkey.

More than that, though, is the many years’ worth of stories I kept hearing about throughout that made me wish I could just stop time for a couple of days so I could inhale the first two like I did the last one.

In case you aren’t familiar with the premise, the first book, Almost Sisters, starts with three women all attending BYU Education Week for various reasons and they bond, promising to support each other over the next twenty-five years as they strive to growing into Crusty Old Broads, a term they associate with being strong enough to do what must be done and face trials even when it would be much easier to pull the covers over your head (my definition, not theirs).

In the third book, Deenie moves across the country when her husband gets a new job and she has to figure out who she is in a new place. Juneau has a deep, dark secret she has kept for decades that is insisting to come out, and Erin finds love in the least likely place.

Along the journey they overcome personal difficulties, face births, deaths, and Griff—the Great What If. The writing is vivid and interesting, the characters are realistic with struggles and triumphs, and throughout it all they keep in touch, support each other as they weave their ‘safety nets,’ clean their closets, and celebrate life as they open their surprise packages.

I had intended to put the book down around 11:30 the other night, but stayed up until 2:30 to finish it instead because I couldn’t stop until I had all the answers. The various story lines ensured that there was always something going on, something I had to learn about before I could set it down—and then it was finished.

I laughed, I cried, and I appreciated the dedication these three writers must have had to create such a lovely story. You can purchase this book, you can do so here or here. Now, to go get my hands on the first two books.