Book Review: A Midlife Holiday

What is it about the midlife crisis? Why do we all seem to have them? If I were a psychologist I could probably answer that question, but since I’m not I’ll simply hazard a guess that there’s something about turning 50 (or 40 in my case, the one instance in my life where I was an early bloomer) that prompts a crap-ton of self-reflection and, more-often-than-not, the unfortunate realization that a) our life has turned out not at all the way we thought it would when we were 10, 20, 30 or even 40 and b) we’re getting to close to the point of not having the time left to fix it. This is where we find the three main characters of Cary Hansson’s hysterical and heartwarming new chick lit series.

The first book in a planned trilogy, A Midlife Holiday finds upper middle class British housewife Helen Winters celebrating her 50th birthday on her own – buying milk at the market – as her husband is off summiting Everest. A boozy lunch with her two best friends from university follows and comes seriously close to disaster, but is saved by an impromptu plan for all three friends to jet off to Cyprus for a much-needed girls’ trip. The ensuing romp through Helen’s midlife crisis is more-or-less predictable, but that doesn’t make the story any less enjoyable.

The characters were well-developed, as was the storyline. The plot was fluffy, but also tender, hopeful, and realistically humorous as it navigated not only Helen’s rediscovery of her joie de virve but also the sometimes turbulent waters of a friendship between three women who’s lives have been entwined (for good or bad) for thirty-some-odd years.

Certain scenes made me laugh out loud, others made me tear up in sympathy. Throughout, I thought “this author really gets it.” Midlife is not easy; friendship is not easy. This book easily explored both with humor, understanding, and compassion. An overall fun read – I’ll be keeping an eye out for the next books in the series!

A shout out and a thank you to author Cary J. Hansson, Hansson Publishing, and NetGalley for early access to a free digital review copy. All opinions my own.

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