Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Rating: 5 Cups of Coffee
If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he's getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she's recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…

Natasha’s Experience:
There is something to be said about a book that feels more like life than fiction, that makes you forget how long you’ve been sitting in that reading chair until your legs are cramping and you’ve got to get up and move around. Those kinds of stories grab you, take you in, invite you for a cup of coffee and never let you leave. Those of the stories that Liz & Lisa write because even after closing THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY, I could swear I was still living inside of Gabriela, Claire, and Jessica’s world.

“Was it a good year for any of us? No. But I don’t know if the point is to compare. Maybe we need to revise our definition of what better means.”

THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY follows three best friends who are stuck in life. At the age of fifty, they are living with regrets, mainly mistakes that they made during the year they all turned forty. When the opportunity to actually go back in time to relive their 40th year presents itself, they are apprehensive. If they go back, they might be able to fix what was broken, perhaps make their lives great again. But they soon realize that going back in time to change their lives will indirectly change the lives of those around them.

“Life wasn’t meant to be played like a game of chess, moving the people you love like pawns to win the game.”

I loved this story so much because it gives you a little fiction and a whole lot of real life messes. It makes you question your own actions, how you live the one life you’re given (unless time travel truly is real and we just aren’t aware of it yet). Regardless, you begin to question what you find to be important and what just doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY allows you to see these three best friends struggle through their lives – twice— and ultimately realize that being happy doesn’t mean not having regrets; it means living the life you were given in spite of the bumps in the road.

“…maybe the only way people could know how much they loved something was to be faced with a chance they might lose it. It didn’t mean you should live in constant fear, but rather it should serve as a reminder that love should never be squandered.”

In conclusion, this story is one that you need to read at least once, if not twice, in your lifetime. Everyone needs a kind of reminder that says: love the life you're given, and live it like tomorrow isn't real. Another A+ read from Liz & Lisa!


About the Authors

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for twenty-five years and survived high school and college together. Liz lives in San Diego with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, now lives in Chicago with her husband and children.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads Author Page (Liz) | Goodreads Author Page (Lisa)


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