Twenty years ago Carly Cooper went on an epic rollercoaster ride of a journey to find every single boyfriend she’d ever had, in order to discover if he was possibly ‘Mr Right’ that she had inadvertently overlooked. The result was the hilarious ‘What If ?‘ But now, Carly is separated from hubby Mark (previously mentioned, but possibly not so ‘Mr Right’) and she’s a single mom to their 2 teenage sons. You could say quite a lot has changed in the past twenty years!
What hasn’t changed is the solid group of friends that Carly has (one of them right next door), and the wonderful, comfortable extended family they’ve all created, now with husbands and children thrown into the mix. But Carly isn’t the same happy-go-lucky spontaneous 30-year-old she was twenty years ago. Understandably she’s been through some stuff and now that she’s almost 50 and feels slightly larger than the slim self she once was, she doesn’t have the self confidence she used to have. Quite honestly, she’s lost some (ok, most) of the sparkle and sheen from her younger days, and she’s feeling quite down in the dumps.
When Mark tells her that he intends taking the boys on a month-long US trip in an RV, Carly is devastated. Didn’t they once talk about taking trips together as a family? And what happened to all of those hopes and dreams – Mark was always too busy working and those family trips and holidays never happened. But suddenly, now that they’re no longer together, he’s taking time off to spend with his sons … without her! What on earth is Carly going to do for an entire month, on her own?! She can’t even begin to imagine. Thankfully her lovely Aunt Val and friends come to the rescue and remind her that she still has lots of living still left to do!
With each chapter headed by a song-title, the index makes for a fabulous soundtrack to accompany Carly through this stage of her life. This is a lovely, thoroughly enjoyable read and a reminder of the importance of the bonds and strengths of female friendships. Kate, Jess and Carol each fulfil their unique roles in their tight-knit group and we’re reminded of how different friends each bring their own gifts and insights into the relationships that we share. This isn’t quite the rollicking ride that What If? was, but it’s just as much fun, in a more mature and insightful way, and still with some cringeworthy moments thrown in for good measure! I can really relate to Carly still trying to find her ‘happily ever after’, and to all her self-doubt – it’s so authentically real. Where is it written that just because you found your Mr Right, and settled down and had your kids, that now you need to be happy with your life, yourself, and everything else? Very seldom do things work out that perfectly, and I love that Shari Low acknowledges this by continuing the story with What Now?
This is a light, easy read that despite coming across as a bit ‘frothy’ does cover issues that go a lot deeper than what they appear to be on the surface: growing older (and larger), losing those close to us, coming to terms to mistakes we’ve made in the past, and taking a serious look at ourselves and deciding that if we want to like who we are now, we might need to make some changes!
A 4 star read that I’d highly recommend. You could read this as a standalone, as enough background info is given, but I’d suggest reading What If? first (and also, because it’s a great, fun book anyway, so why miss it?) You can read my review of What If? here.
Many thanks to Ra Ra Resources and Boldwood Books for inviting me on the blog tour. Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about What Now?
Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 25 novels, including One Day In Summer and My One Month Marriage and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.
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