The Year We Turned Forty: A Novel - Lisa Steinke, Liz Fenton

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…

This book ended up being an incredibly sweet way of looking at life and how the decisions we make affect how our lives turn out.

 

I was really inspired by Jessie, actually, though she was probably the character I was least similar to. The decisions she made and the effort she went to in consciously choosing to love the people she loved were really heart-warming and I think I can learn from her.

 

Subtly, the authors had mixed in quite a few lessons about the various forms of success one can find. There were points about parenting and points about love that were really poignant

 

The three girls had very dissimilar lives which made the story really interesting. I loved seeing how they supported each other in the different situations and how they wavered between which of their loves they had enjoyed more.

 

There were a lot of fun aspects also. One of the characters had been a bestselling author but then had serious writer's block, and any writer can relate to her pain. They took a few trips that were just nice additions and gave me a real sense for their lives.

 

I had tears in my eyes at the ending and I really loved the overall theme this had of how life isn't always about perfection and there's no exact way to make things be the way one might want them to be, but nonetheless, we can find happiness.

 

This book came at a time in my life where I really needed a read like this. Despite my personal feelings, I nonetheless recommend it for anyone looking for something warming and uplifting.

 

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.