Friday, January 11, 2019

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

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Narrated by Lisa Larsen
Publisher: Atria Books - Washington Square Press / Dreamscape Media, LLC
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Date Read: January 8, 2019
Length: 336 pages / 11 hours 2 minutes
Source: NetGalley / Library via Hoopla
★★★★☆
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…
My Review

I really enjoyed this story.  I found that this book grabbed my interest right from the start and was a rather solid read until the very end.  I found that I wanted the best for these three women and hoped that the choices that they were making would work out for them.  I wondered what I would do if I were thrust into the same situation that they were presented with and still haven't decided on an answer. 

Jesse, Claire, and Gabriela have been best friends for years and have always celebrated their birthdays together.  The celebration for their fortieth birthday was one of the more memorable parties since it ended with Jesse going into labor with her son, Lucas.  Fast forward ten years and the trio is celebrating their fiftieth in Las Vegas where they are given the chance to go back and relive the year they turned forty. 

I loved the concept behind this story.  Who doesn't have things in their past that they would love to go back and change?  I know I could compile a rather long list of things I wish I had done differently without a problem.  These three ladies all of have major things that they want to change.  Jesse wants to save her marriage, which fell apart after the birth of her son.  Gabriela wants to have a baby.  Claire wants to save her mother who died from cancer that year.  The changes that they are making create such an impact that other unexpected changes start occurring and they have no idea how to handle everything.

I liked these three characters.  They were all flawed and made some pretty big mistakes in their lives.  I found Jesse and Claire to be my favorites of the group.  Gabriela was so focused on her single goal of having a baby that she pushed everything else aside.  Jesse wasn't able to change the biggest obstacle to saving her marriage but she could change how she handled things.  I wasn't always happy with the choices she was making but I understood why she made them.  Claire had a lot to deal with and I understood her desperation to save her mother and improve her relationship with her daughter. 

This was my first experience listening to Lisa Larsen's narration but I think she was a great choice for this story.  She was able to capture these three characters along with all of the emotions that they were experiencing. I found her voice to be very pleasant and I had no problems listening to her for hours at a time.

I would recommend this book to others.  I thought that this was a thought-provoking story of three friends trying to repair some of the mistakes in their lives.  There were no easy fixes in this story and all of the changes they accomplished took a lot of hard work.  I wouldn't hesitate to read more from this talented writing pair in the future.

I received a digital review copy of this book from Atria Books via NetGalley and borrowed a copy of the audiobook from my local library via Hoopla. 
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, daughter, and two bonus children.

32 comments:

  1. Glad to hear this was good! I thought those two authors sounded super familiar so I had to go back and look - sure enough they also wrote Girls Night Out, a thriller which I read a few months ago. I thought they sounded familiar! :)

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    1. It seems like there are quite a few books that they have writter together. How was Girls Night Out?

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    2. I liked it but didn't love it, mainly because of the main character Ashley. She was a smart woman who seemed to make some dumb decisions and I almost thought she was TOO reckless, in a way? But I loved the setting in Mexico and I thought the authors did a good job of examining the three womens' friendship, pitfalls and all, so all in all not bad!

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    3. I will have to keep my eye out for it. It sounds like something I might enjoy.

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  2. I really liked this one too! The premise was fun. Great review!

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  3. If only life were so simple as going back and correcting our mistakes. Interesting premise and based on your review I can see the story was good.

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    1. I wonder if I would change anything. I have made a lot of mistakes but I like where I am now.

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  4. I really like flawed characters and hey, we'd all like a do-over every once in a while right?

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  5. I love the premise. I can so relate. (Smacking my hand on my forehead, thinking of all the do-overs I wish I could take!) Thanks for reviewing this one.

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    1. I have made so many wrong turns over the years.

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  6. Interesting, I wonder if I would change a year...yes I would

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  7. I can't help but wonder what I would do differently if I could do over a year--40 or some other year. I love the premise of this book and will definitely have to give it a try.

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  8. Wow this is fascinating. Excellent review. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Anne - Books of My Heart

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  9. There are so many things I would change if I could go back! I'm super curious to hear how it all changed. Especially with the ruined marriage. I want to know enough that I just requested the library copy. Wonderful review, Carole!

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  10. I listened to this one back in 2016, and I also enjoyed it. The premise is one I always enjoy, when it's done right, and I felt like Fenton did it well. The idea that what you really want or need is right in front of you, and you don't realize it until it's gone, was something that really stayed with me.

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    1. They did do a great job with this one. I love that the message has stayed with you.

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  11. This does sound like an interesting story. I would love to go back and make a few changes to my life, not that I can really complain about where I ended up. Glad you enjoyed this book.

    Melanie @ Hot Listens & Books of My Heart

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    1. Those are my thoughts. I have done some dumb things but like where I am now.

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  12. What a fascinating idea for a story! I'm glad you enjoyed the listen :-)
    I do have things before my 40th that I would like to change, but then I wonder whether I would still end up where I am now. I wouldn't want my current life to be significantly different!

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  13. I would never want to change anything in my past because then I wouldn't remember what I learned from the situation. I'm glad you enjoyed this one and that it doesn't seem like everything was wrapped up easily in a bow.

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    1. In this story they remembered everything which was a nice twist.

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  14. This one sounds like a moving, very emotional character driven read. I love the sound of all the women and them wanting to do their very best. It actually sounds like a book I would enjoy as well. Great review x

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