A Midlife Holiday

The Midlife Trilogy Book 1

Fiction - Womens
320 Pages
Reviewed on 08/18/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

Author Biography

Cary J. Hansson is the author of six books and several short stories. Her work has been shortlisted in national and international competitions. She lives in Stockholm where she enjoys a glass of wine and a swim daily, but not in that order.

I wrote A Midlife Holiday because I wanted to put middle-aged women front and centre stage. They're funny and strong, liberated from the constraints of childcare and ready to grab the reins of their lives and become the heroes of their own stories.
We don't see that often enough.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Delene Vrey for Readers' Favorite

We all joke about midlife crises; however, they are anything but funny. In A Midlife Holiday by Cary J Hansson, we meet three college friends, Caro, Helen, and Kay. All three are in different places when their fiftieth birthdays come along. Helen feels trapped in an unfulfilling marriage, unheard and unseen other than being the cook and cleaner. Kay has lost herself in the process of taking care of everyone else except herself. Caro is a professional career woman who did not have time to give to a husband or children. We meet them on Helen’s birthday and Caro invites Kay and Helen on a holiday to Cyprus. This holiday becomes cathartic in the lives of the three women. They realize the wealth of true, honest friendship as well as take a hard look at themselves and their respective lives and the decisions they have made and will make in the future.

A Midlife Holiday by Cary C Hansson is a fictional account of three women reaching their fifties. Many issues that women have to face in the modern world – from choosing between a family and a career to taking a stand against husbands and family members taking them for granted - are touched on with a hint of humor that makes the reader smile and say, ‘Yes, that is how it really is.' This is done with a humorous take on the situations and problems they deal with. It is a true midlife book that anyone around fifty will appreciate. The book is well written and easy to read and portrays what friendship and support mean. As the author says, 'Show me two women who haven’t come to blows over half a lifetime and I’ll show you two acquaintances, not friends.'

Jennifer Ibiam

Three women in their early fifties were friends for thirty years. Helen got married to a selfish man who did not care for her wellbeing. She changed from being a fun-loving woman to simply existing. Caro was shy in college but became a stunning, high-flying, and accomplished career woman. But she approached life by planning everything and believed nothing could go wrong. Was she wrong? Kay, the brightest one among them, became relegated to a life of caring for her severely autistic son and sick parents after her divorce. Helen’s fiftieth birthday brought the three women together, and Caro invited them to holiday with her in Cyprus. There, they discovered the cracks in their relationship, leading to an emotional explosion in A Midlife Holiday by Cary J Hansson.

A Midlife Holiday by Cary J Hansson is a fantastic page-turner filled with humor, life lessons, and enlightenment. The book has a beautiful storyline interpreted by well-developed characters. It was also realistic and unpredictable. I am nowhere near fifty, but the midlife crisis is real. The author was also spot-on with friendships. Sustaining friendships isn’t easy, let alone managing them for three decades. A Midlife Holiday was thought-provoking because the three women lived in their self-imposed prisons. And it was ironic that while Caro chose herself to the point of selfishness, Kay and Helen were so selfless that they lost themselves. Where is the balance? Where do we draw the line between caring for others and prioritizing ourselves? I enjoyed reading this novel and seeing life from the women’s points of view, and I'll look out for other installments.

Jill Clough

"I loved this novel. It’s beautifully written and deeply truthful." Jill Clough Author of Morph: Lakeland Book of the Year Award 2019;

Heather Peck

"A well written, page-turning tale of loss and awakening with engaging characters and hilarious moments. I can’t wait to read the next."
Heather Peck Author of Glass Arrows Shortlisted 2021 East Anglian Book Awards ;

Kerena Swan

"Definitely my favourite book this year. Funny, touching, richly described and so captivating. It deserves to be a best-seller."
Kerena Swan Award winning author of Scared to Breathe


Helen has reached 50 years of age – a milestone birthday! Yet her husband is away on an expensive break, selfishly pursuing his hobby. Lacking in confidence, Helen feels unloved and unwanted, and following an evening out with friends decides to go away with them for a holiday to Cyprus.
The book has a light, humorous tone but explores serious issues, showing how relationships can change both in friendships and marriage, and wondering whether the man you married is still the same years later. The three women, Helen, Caro, and Kay have been friends since college, though all three have pursued different careers and lifestyles. All have challenges which need to be addressed.
Holidaying in beautiful Cyprus, the friends are at a turning point in their lives. The passions of youth have changed having been drawn into all consuming lifestyles never intended. Helen feels her marriage is over, Kay is worn down caring for family, and Cara – a top professional feels she has missed out. Many women will relate to this as demands of family and work take over.
The plot is well described, and makes entertaining reading; the women are relatable with their arguments and differences always made up. Even lesser characters are brought to life on the page, adding humour and interest.
This is the first book I’ve read by this author, and I would love a second book in the series to read the next chapter in these womens’ lives.


I cannot remember the last time I laughed out loud when reading a book - I could not suppress the humour. This book is heart-warming, heart-breaking and hilarious.

Essentially it is about 3 lifelong friends, whose lives have taken them down completely different paths. There was so much in this story that I could relate to, and if it hadn't happened to me personally, I knew someone else who it had! This is a story about rediscovering who we are. Life has a way of shaping and eroding away at us until we wake up one day truly mystified at the person we have become: this book recognises that and these three friends have to re-balance who they are individually and what they mean to each other. It felt gritty and real!

Helen's adventure is a little unbelievable but thoroughly entertaining and I was behind her all the way. Her phone call with her son and its consequences were brilliant - I could just picture it. My heart broke a little for Kay's holiday packing shopping trip and dilemmas. Caro's life choices have backed her into a corner and who she projects publicly is very different to the person inside - but Helen has a plan and knows just how to put Caro's boss right.

That ending. That ending! Unexpected and totally shocked, yet in awe of how masterfully this is brought to a close. I cannot wait for Cary Hansson's next novel - it has a lot to live up to! Do not miss this !!


Ahhh, I loved this one, the story of that time of life, when you have to really define what your ‘purpose’ is. Time to think about ‘me’ instead of everyone else. It’s a great read.


The first in a new Midlife trilogy, A Midlife Holiday is a fantastic Summer beach read. Three women who have been best friends forever face up to their various demands in life as they turn 50 and decide to take the holiday they all deserve to Cyprus.

Helen, a Mum juggling life around everyone else instead of herself, Caro, an independent workaholic and Kay, a teacher Mum also looking after her ill parents. These women are 3 totally believable characters, each with their own emotional storyline and are completely relatable to midlife real life. I could easily associate each character to someone I know.

Their holiday takes a turn as one of the characters has an ulterior motive for suggesting the holiday. There are arguments, affairs, tears and laughter once in Cyprus, but all three women take the time to clear their heads, take stock and put their lives back into perspective. Their close friendship holds them together in the end although their lives will never be the same as it was before Cyprus.

This story is funny, emotional and addictive! I could totally picture myself on a moped riding through the streets of Cyprus under the blue sky and looking out to the sea. It was definitely a book I couldn’t put down as soon as I started reading and I would highly recommend putting this in your suitcase!
I can’t wait to read the rest of the trilogy :)


I rather enjoyed this. It's about three middle-aged friends, each having reached a crossroads in their lives. Not knowing which way to turn, a holiday in Cyprus...a destination deliberately engineered by one of the three with an ulterior motive...albeit ever-so-slightly bumpy, provides the answers for all three.

A sun-drenched island can't fail to provide the perfect backdrop, of course. Hansson portrays the sunny isle just like a postcard. Her skill, for me, was in the characterisation of the three fifty-something women, firm friends since university days. You could feel their pain, disappointment, desperation even, which all turn to optimism with hopes and plans for a different future.

Despite the fact it's a teensy bit stereotyped and clichéd (midlife crisis is an overworked plot line), flavoured with Shirley Valentine, it's beautifully and emotionally written. Late at night in bed, I was desperately urging myself with, 'come on, just one more page'.

Definitely a read-more-of author for me.

Sally Tyrer

A midlife holiday is a funny totally relatable read that I loved from start to finish!
Three middle aged women who are juggling careers,relationships, children, elderly parents and all whilst being of a certain age!
Caro invites good friends Helen and Kay away on holiday with her as she needs female friendship and company for what she is about to endure! Helen and Kay also have there own reasons for needing a complete break from the life they have at home, over the course of the holiday we see kay catching up on well earned sleep,Caro proceeding with her controversial plans and Helen finding a love of sailing and rediscovering the joy of lust and intimacy !
A great read that I didn’t want to end !

Sarah Faichney

I knew I would love 'A Midlife Holiday' from the opening line! I haven't devoured a book in one sitting for a long time but I literally could not put this down. This is the first in a trilogy and I cannot WAIT to read the next instalment. It shouldn't be so rare (or refreshing) to read about the lives of middle-aged women, but it is. Cary J Hansson handles her subject matter with authenticity. She illustrates perfectly why menopause is often referred to as "the change" as, over the years, everything alters - our opinions, our bodies, our friendships, our willingness to make ourselves smaller/quieter/compliant. The book is funny, brutally honest and so, so relatable. I loved it. Highly recommend!

N. B.
A more comprehensive review has been published in the July edition of South Asia magazine. Print copies are available and here is the web link:


I’m not quite done with this book but was thrilled to see that there are 2 more in the series. As a woman in her 50’s, I feel so seen by this author and I can relate to these characters so much. It’s funny and poignant and honest and real. Highly recommend!


On vacation together in midlife, three friends come to terms with the roles they have played in each other's lives and the roles they will play from this point forward. Their friendship has endured the test of time. Because of the choices they make, their relationship with each other changes in ways they never imagined. On to the next book in the trilogy!


This is chick lit grown-up and midlife, redefining what it means to be in our prime. Part beach read, part introspective journey, 100% relatable and completely enjoyable. A midlife holiday is a must pack this summer.


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!