Review By Don Sloan
In this complex, empathetic novel, author Lisa Gott weaves a compelling story about a young woman washed up on the shores of despair on her thirtieth birthday. She then goes on to portray the power of friendship and the intrinsic, yet hard-won, value of self-empowerment in rising from the depths.
Hope is surrounded by three of her best friends when the emotional floodgates burst wide open. Impending divorce, unemployment, foreclosure — all these things and more have happened to Hope in the past few months, and she hasn’t told a soul. Her friends jump in to support her.
But they’ve all got troubles of their own — as Hope knows all too well..
Emma wants to get married and start a family. But her boyfriend just “isn’t ready.” Clara and her husband have tried for five years to have a baby — and are anxiously awaiting the due date. Grace’s brother was driven by mental illness to kill himself several years ago, his wife died of cancer, and Grace and her husband have adopted the two boys from the marriage. Emma, a practicing psychiatrist whose job it is to help people feel better, feels lonely all the time.
Nevertheless, they all rally around Hope in her time of need. Then, the unexpected happens. She meets Sam.
He’s not like anyone she’s ever met before. He’s handsome, funny, sensitive — and, to some degree, broken, like her. Sam’s wife committed suicide and he blames himself — or, at least did for a long while. For Hope’s part she’s, well, hopelessly attracted to him. But, after a couple of demure dates that seem to turn torrid in spite of their best intentions, they agree to take it slowly for awhile.
Then, Hope finds a job; Sam finds one as well. Only problem is, his is two states away.
Can their fragile new love survive separation? Will her friends still be there to support Hope through this newest crisis? And what precious secret do Hope and Clara share? You’ll be well-rewarded by reading all the way to the end.
This excellent piece of fiction is so much more than your average chick-lit. Male readers will find plenty to which they can resonate as well. And the writing is so good. At a critical juncture, for example, Hope examines herself in a mirror:
“My eyes don’t scan my body, picking out each and every problem. Instead, I take a step back and admire the beautiful woman I see; a woman who, against her own odds, made it. A woman who, although frightened, still has the undeniable urge to keep going. A woman with an insatiable desire to live.”
And my favorite line, when she and Sam have tried unsuccessfully to make love for the first time:
“I wasn’t mentally ready for it. . .I really wish they sold memory bleach.”
There’s a lot to like in this romantic, articulate book. Five stars to A Thirty-Something Girl, and thanks to the author for presenting us with such a lovely literary gift.
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