A Personal Note on The Year We Turned Forty + Review

April 25, 2016 | Posted by Genesis in Book Reviews | 7 Comments

A Personal Note on The Year We Turned Forty + ReviewThe Year We Turned Forty
by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
Genres: Contemporary, Women's Fiction
Publication Date: April 26th 2016 by Washington Square Press
Format: eARC
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4.5 Stars
Source: Publisher via Netgalley

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…

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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The Year We Turned Forty is an alluring and heart-warming tale on friendship and it highlights how the choices we make, whether bad ones or good ones, can help us grow and ultimately accept ourselves.


We have three best friends that haven’t had it easy with their lives. Jessie has her husband and two daughters. In her marriage, she started to feel neglected and she sought attention elsewhere which resulted in her getting pregnant. She tells her husband and this ends in a divorce. Ten years later, Jessie is still suffering and even more so when her ex tells her he’s getting married. When she gets the opportunity to go back in time and relive her forties, she decides not to tell her husband about the affair.

I was so scared for Jessie when she want back in time. I felt like at any moment her life was going to crumble again and she wouldn’t be able to get back up from it for a second time. I have to give it to her, though. She tried so hard to give her husband all the love she had for him. She was very sorry for what she did and I’m not saying it was okay but the reader can tell she was beyond sorry and she would prove to herself and to her husband how much she wanted things to work and how much she really loved him. I felt bad for her husband because I felt like it wasn’t fair to him but I liked the outcome to the story for them.


Claire had it so tough. The first time being forty, she didn’t have much time with her mother once they realized she was sick, and her relationship with her daughter was very rocky. Given the opportunity to go back in time, she sets out to save her mom and fix her relationship with her daughter early on, along with saving a relationship with a guy she truly liked. I admire Claire because she’s a single mother raising a daughter who’s very disrespectful but slowly seeing how much Claire was maturing as well as her daughter Emily.

I loved how much focus Claire got being the daughter as well as being the mother. We get to see two sides of her and how that plays into her character growth this second time around. I really admired Claire and her will of wanting to fix her relationship with her daughter. My eyes would tear up at times because I could definitely see myself as Emily at times and I could see my mom as Claire. These two ladies matured so much and were able to bond and I was so happy for them! Of course, things turned rocky but you have to read the book to find out just how rocky and why it happened 😉


Gabriela didn’t want to have children until her friend Jessie gave birth and she rushed home to tell her husband Collin about finally wanting a baby. Her husband declines, telling her he has already accepted his fate of no kids and he doesn’t want to go through it anymore. This leaves Gabriela heartbroken but she moves on. Knowing she can fix this and convince her husband, she goes back in time to do just that. But things don’t always work for the best and Gabriela took it really hard when life messes her plans.

Reading about Gabriela’s story was hard for me. I would tear up all the time because she was going through so much pain throughout the entire story! I wanted her to get a break and breathe so she could be happy again. Her story brought so many emotions and I think she got the toughest luck out of all of the friends. In the end, her conclusion was bitter-sweet to me but I think the authors did a great job!


Despite having some magic involved, I could feel the realism to the story. These are stories that can happen in real life and they felt so real to me, as if they were a family member or a very close friend of mine. I got attached to all three women and my heart reserves a space for each single one of them. They all had their struggles with themselves and they also kept secrets from one another, which ended up exploding unraveling towards the climax of the story. Their stories were so different and they all handled things very different but they were still very close friends. There was a lot of character growth in the ladies. I really enjoyed reading about their journey and slowly see them grow into more mature and experienced women. I ended up seeing myself in each women. Near the end of the story, it’s explained what each one overcame and I realized I have either gone through the general aspect of what they overcame or I’m going through it and it made the story all the more meaningful to me.

I wish I could share with you the ending to each story. I just loved how everything came to be in the end and I just want to push this book on you so you can read it and experience how amazing each story-line is, especially their ending.

Personal Note:

I related a lot to Gabriela. Not in the wanting kids since I’m still very young but mostly in her relationship with Collin. I noticed how she was changing and Collin started growing tired but at the same time he loved her and wanted to stay. You guys know how I’ve been dealing with some issues the past couple of months and I’m finally ready to mention why (not the full story but at least a snippet). I thought everything was very good in my relationship but I started noticing changes. It turned my boyfriend wasn’t so happy with me and that broke me. I know it was my fault and I recognize it. I made some mistakes at the beginning of our relationship that affected him a lot. When I learned about how he was feeling, I felt…. Hell, I felt broken. My heart shattered because I was the cause of how sad he was feeling. I set out to show him why he fell in love with me in the first place and let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. But he did notice how I was changing for the better for him, for myself, and for our relationship. Despite how bad I acted, he stayed being the amazing, sweet, selfless and kind man he is. I honestly am lucky to have him because he ended up understanding a whole lot more than I thought. We are definitely at a better place now and I’m so thankful for that. We are both very much in love still and learning to grow together and individually. This is one obstacle we had to face now because I know if it continued later on, I wouldn’t be able to save my relationship. I truly believe everything happens for a reason. And I’m glad it happened now because I had to change so many things of myself I didn’t even know were wrong. I was being toxic and that affected me and him but no more. I’ve stopped fighting for every single thing, among other things, and I’ve seen how my relationship has changed so much and for the better! I want to thank you guys for always showing your support even when I wasn’t prepared to talk about what had happened.

What prompted this was a quote Collin said to Gabriela in the book which brought me to tears… Okay, I was bawling and sobbing but it hit home and I’m so thankful to Liz and Lisa for writing such a magnificent novel.

“But how do we get back on track? Back to who we were?”

Collin studied her face. “Maybe we aren’t supposed to be those people anymore.”

The reason this hit me hard was because I was trying hard to go back to how we were. This made me realize that this obstacle that came at us, changed us and we can’t go back to how we were. But we have learned, I have learned, and we are pushing through it and getting better each day.


In answer to my own question, I would and I wouldn’t. I would because I could have saved myself from so much and I would have been happy (referring to my previous relationship which was horrible). And I wouldn’t because these experiences have taught me so much about myself and I’ve been able to grow as a person. Noted, some experiences changed me for the worst but sometimes we have to fall to learn to get back up 🙂

About Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke

Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke have been best friends for 25 years and survived high school and college together. Liz lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two children. Lisa, a former talk show producer, now lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, daughter and two bonus children.

Their next novel, THE YEAR WE TURNED FORTY, is out on April 26th, 2016.

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7 responses to “A Personal Note on The Year We Turned Forty + Review

  1. I really enjoyed this one too. I loved how they thought they could just fix everything if they went back but didn’t realize it would cause other issues and what not. I loved the ending too. Thank you for sharing your personal note Gen and glad you are all in a better place now 🙂

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Review ~ Some Women
    • Exactly. Nothing was perfect. In fact, everything got worse, in my opinion but they were so mature!
      The ending!! I loved it so much!!!
      Thank you Grace 🙂 I’ll be honest and say I considered deleting that part of this review but decided to be completely honest with you guys since you’ve always offered to be there for me 🙂

  2. I’m a fan of books that feature magical realism and this one is new to me. I love the sound of it – thanks for the discovery.
    Wonderful personal note – always great when a book hits a moment in time that just calls out to you 🙂

  3. First, FABULOUS review. This would have never, ever been on my radar, and now I need it in my life! Second, thank you so much for sharing your story! I am glad that you were able to work through that, and come out knowing more about both yourself and your relationship. I hope things are nothing but wonderful going forward. You deserve to be happy ♥

    To answer your question. YES. SO much yes. I think about it every day. Like, every chance I had along the way to make a different choice, and it makes me so angry at myself. Because sometimes, you dig yourself in a hole so deep there seems to be no actual way out, except the aforementioned magic!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: The 100 Episode 3×12: Demons

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