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Reviewed by Stephanie Dagg for Readers' Favorite
This is a clever, lively story. Amanda Wilson, on the more interesting side of 49, is setting off for a year of travelling around Europe with grumpy husband Phil. Son Tom is left at home where he slowly but steadily works his way through the household appliances as only a clumsy, undomesticated 20-year-old can do. Meanwhile Bibi Chevalier in France has decided that she needs to take a lover to get back at her womanizing husband. Add a camper van breakdown which strands Amanda in France and an ex-lover from Australia and paths begin to cross in interesting and unpredictable ways. Finally a space hopper and a dog make the cast complete. Amanda soon faces a very big decision.
Amanda is an exuberant character, determined to keep life interesting. The Europe trip is one of her means to do this and in preparation she starts a blog, 'Fortifying Your Fifties'. Blog entries are interwoven with the story and this works extremely well both as a literary device and in terms of entertainment value. A few by-the-by subplots even begin to appear in the comments, where TheMerryDivorcee and SexyFitChick in particular have a lot to say without taking the story off course. Bibi is complex and almost a tragic figure but her subtle scheming and stoic spirit make her likeable. Tom is like everyone’s eldest son and Phil slowly and steadily emerges as someone worth knowing. They are all very human and excellently portrayed. Add atmospheric settings and plenty of humor and this book becomes something you can’t put down. More to come in this wonderful series, I hope.