Reviewed on 2nd October 2019

The Big Five-0 by Jane Wenham-Jones

Genre: Fiction / Women's Fiction
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The Big Five-0 by Jane Wenham-Jones Synopsis

They’re planning a party the seaside town of Broadstairs will never forget, but these four 49 year olds have far more on their minds than canapés and balloons for their half-century…
Empty-nester Charlotte’s in a lather over what her husband might be up to
Single mother Roz lives in fear that her teenage daughter will discover how she pays the bills
Tough Business woman Fay crows about her no-strings toy boy but hides the real story behind her divorce
Singleton Sherie’s cat is the only male in her life who ever stays around. Or is he?

They’re all keeping secrets but as the big birthday looms, the beans are about to spill. As the shocks come out, one of them is going to need her friends more than ever…

The Big Five-0 by Jane Wenham-Jones Review

A Beautiful Book about the True Face of Friendship

They say never judge a book by its cover, but that’s quite a tough task in practise. I have to admit that this book tweaked my interested primarily due to its title and beautifully illustrated cover.

I might be in my mid-twenties (not someone you assume would pick up a book focusing on the Big 5-0 I realise) but I was instantly drawn to the title of this book. I thought it would be interesting, like research, to read a novel from the viewpoint of people twice my age. With a cover as joyous as this – complete with a party scene and playful colours – I expected a fun, lighthearted book, possibly filled to the brim with jokes and romance.

Although I wasn’t wrong about the latter, The Big 5-0 is about so much more than just a birthday bash. This story is quite suspenseful and serious, covering topics such as love, work stress and raising children. I may not have children of my own but the author created the characters so well that I felt the emotions the mothers had toward their kids – the love and the worry, among other things. Jenny Wenham-Jones honestly had me under her spell.

“Charlotte loved any excuse for a bash and she wasn’t going to let this one go.”
This sentence really gives you an idea of what type of character Charlotte is, but later on, we find out that there’s a deeper story, just like with the other characters – Roz, Fay, and Sherie – who all have their own secrets, each has personal issues they are dealing with.

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Roz is a strong and independent mother who struggles behind closed doors to keep her head above water while raising her daughter alone.

Fay is the tough businesswoman, who has no apparent interest in settling down and Sherie, has a very close relationship with … her cat… the only being on the planet that she trusts with her feelings and true thoughts.

Although the four main characters are all reaching their fiftieth birthday, I would recommend this book to women of all ages as the story unravels into so many aspects of life. The issues covered in The Big Five-O could happen to any of us, at any stage of our lives.

I was thrown into the deep end with a few mysterious chapters but the suspense was absolutely worth it! As I reached the end of the book I had all my questions answered, Instead of being irritated by a lack of clarification, I closed the book feeling happy and satisfied.

The Big Five-0 is a beautiful book about a close-knit group of friends and how they help each other out in dire times, even if their relationships are sometimes on rocky ground. It’s a book that gives me hope for future friendships. I may be younger than the intended target audience, but Jane Wenham-Jones has taught me a thing or two about why we should lean on our friends – sometimes we’re just not strong enough to handle something by ourselves.

So, on that note, I am with Charlotte when she says, “A toast to the Big Five-O!”

Published by: One More Chapter
ISBN: 978-000827-869-4

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