Monday 26 February 2018

The Year that Changed Everything - Cathy Kelly

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.

What did I think?

I love Cathy Kelly books, they always make me feel warm and squidgy inside; but they're not all sunshine and rainbows, as the characters have to go through some tough times to come out the other side stronger and happier.  Cathy's writing is as bubbly and effervescent as a bottle of Prosecco so I couldn't wait to get stuck into her new novel: The Year that Changed Everything and I positively whizzed through it as fast as a cork shooting out of a bottle.

Three women, unknown to each other, celebrate milestone birthdays on the same day and it's certainly a day they will never forget: Callie is 50 and her house is raided by the fraud squad as she is hosting her birthday party, Sam is 40 and goes into labour on her birthday, and Ginger is 30 but selflessly spends the day celebrating her friend's wedding rather than her birthday.  All three characters are strong and unforgettable with the common thread of unconditional family love running through their stories. 

I really identified with Ginger and felt my jaw drop when I read a line about her not wearing heels to comply with the unfeminine persona she had created to protect herself from heartbreak.  Although I do wear flat shoes because I have a problem with my back, there are occasions where I could wear heels but refrain from doing so.  I asked myself why and the honest answer is that I believe I'm not attractive enough to wear heels, so why would I want to draw attention to myself?  I reminded myself that beauty is in the eye of the beholder so treated myself to a new pair of heels.  Not plain black, oh no, but sparkly Wizard of Oz style 'look at me' heels.  Gulp!  Thank you for giving me the courage to buy my fabulous new shoes, Cathy Kelly.  I will need to summon my inner Ginger to have the courage to wear them!

There are quite a few pearls of wisdom in The Year that Changed Everything that I could liken Cathy Kelly to my personal Dalai Lama; I certainly felt unexpectedly enlightened by some of the passages in the book.  Take the quote that Joanne gave to her sister, Sam, for example:
You can't change other people: you can only change how you react to them.
So simple, yet so very true.  I'm definitely going to remember this and repeat it like my personal mantra.  I admit that I'm not a people person, so people do often annoy me but I'm going to practise changing my reaction to them.

The Year that Changed Everything is a fabulous, unexpectedly enlightening book that did more for me than any self-help book has ever done.  The warm and effervescent writing of Cathy Kelly will make this a firm favourite among her many fans, myself included.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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