Don’t you love when you read a new to you author, absolutely love the book and then discover they have a back catalogue for you to work through? Well, that’s what happened when I read The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly.
Three women have milestone birthdays on the same day. We hear first about Callie Reynolds, celebrating her 50th with a huge party in her luxury mansion in Dublin. She is married to successful businessman Jason and always has the best whether it’s clothes, cars, skincare regimes or food. She is wondering where her inner goddess has gone though and feels these days she only has an inner crone! Unexpected and unwelcome visitors at the party bring her world crashing down in a most dramatic way. Next we meet Sam Kennedy, expecting a much longed for baby and going into labour on the morning of her 40th birthday. She is terrified that she will be a bad mother not having had a great example from her own mother. Finally, Ginger Reilly is spending her 30th birthday as bridesmaid to her oldest and closest friend Liza. Ginger is painfully aware that she is not as sylph-like as the bride or other bridesmaid and worries that her dress makes her look like a rather buxom Scarlett O’Hara. She spends most of her time trying to hide her size and her heartache that she has never had a boyfriend. She overhears something which devastates her during the wedding, just when she thought things were looking up.
I totally loved reading this book and following the three women through the aftermath of the dramatic events of their birthdays. I am much closer in age to Callie than the other characters and yet it was Ginger who was my favourite. I was enraged on her behalf on more than one occasion and would have loved to be able to tell her just what a wonderful person she really was. In common with the other two women, a real lack of confidence affected her life in so many ways and it was wonderful to see her grow in confidence throughout the book. I was delighted when she began to be appreciated for all her good qualities and to begin to have belief in herself. To be honest, I was practically cheering for her by the end!
One thing all three women had in common were family who loved them for who they were. Cathy Kelly has created some wonderfully supportive supporting characters in Sam’s dad, husband and sister, Ginger’s Great Aunt Grace, Callie’s mum and brother plus her friend Brenda. The value of love and friendship is apparent throughout the book.
As I was reading I knew that the three women couldn’t be entirely unconnected though I had no idea how they would come together. I have to say that I thought the way Cathy Kelly brought the three seemingly disparate storylines together was beautifully and sensitively done and there may have been a lump in my throat. They truly did “open their hearts to new happiness”.
A real warmth infuses the whole story and I loved it from start to finish. It’s a really uplifting read about strong women who find that strength in difficult circumstances and through friendship. You could say it’s a book about girl power!
My thanks to Elaine Egan from Orion Books for my copy of the book. The Year That Changed Everything will be published on Thursday 22nd February in hardback and as an ebook. It is available to pre-order now here: The Year That Changed Everything
From the back of the book
Three women celebrate their birthdays . . . 30. 40. 50. But their milestone birthdays mark the start of a year that will change everything . . .
Ginger isn’t spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life – or a total disaster.
Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother?
Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . .
Full of warmth and wisdom, this is a story about finding happiness on your own terms from international bestseller Cathy Kelly.
Cathy Kelly is published around the world, with millions of books in print. Cathy is the bestselling author of The Honey Queen, Once in a Lifetime and Between Sisters, and is a No.1 bestseller in the UK, Ireland and Australia. Her trademark is warm and witty Irish storytelling about modern life, always with an uplifting message, a sense of community and strong female characters at the heart.
She lives with her family and their three dogs in County Wicklow, Ireland. She is also an Ambassador for UNICEF Ireland, raising funds and awareness for children orphaned by or living with HIV/AIDS.
Find out more at http://www.cathykelly.com or follow her on Twitter @cathykellybooks