Shortly after I released my first novel, I received an email from a fellow blogger and author Cara Sue Achterberg asking if I would be interested in reviewing her newest novel, “Girls’ Weekend”.
Of course, I was immediately intrigued and couldn’t wait to dig into it. As soon as the file was sent to me and I figured out how to load it onto my Kindle, I sat down to read…and was interrupted by my three year old daughter within seconds.
I set it aside with a sigh. Like many moms, it often feels like there is no time for me amid all the chaos. I expend all my energy on my family. Each day is exactly like the one before it, and endless march to do what needs to be done. I find myself daydreaming about all the things I could have done, all the people I could have been, and wonder where my life would be if I had followed another path. There are days when it all seems to be too much and I can’t help but fantasize about running away. Of course, these aren’t feelings we normally talk about, and there can be quite a bit of guilt and shame served alongside those fleeting visions of freedom.
How could I feel this way when we have so many things in our lives that are going right? Do all mothers feel this way from time to time, or is something wrong with me? Why do I feel so empty?
These questions must have run through my mind billions of times by now. The doubt, the guilt, the longing, all these negative feelings can be extremely isolating.
When I finally picked up Cara’s book again, I was met with immediate relief. I most certainly was not alone in this line of thinking. The three women in this story all felt the same way. They all dreamed of something more. They were all searching for something. Just like me.
I was hooked from page one. I felt like I knew these women already. Although I could relate to them all to some degree, it was really Dani that hit home for me. Here was a woman with a wonderfully normal life, with a loving husband and two children, who had nothing “wrong” with her life that still felt this stirring of discontent. Here was a woman who had once dreamed of being an artist and put her identity on the backburner for the sake of her family. Here is a woman who is bored by the monotony of life. It was a story I knew well.
When Dani’s friend Charlotte, who is facing a similar crisis, suggests a girls’ weekend, she is hesitant at first, but knows that she needs a break. Neither of the women are certain that their friend Meg will come along. Meg’s life is outwardly perfect. She’s the type of mother who goes above and beyond, giving her all to her family, even to her own detriment. She’s in the midst of an all-consuming grief, and I feel like she’s the one who needed the break the most.
The three women travel to a beach cottage and discover that they are all in need of change. They decide that they simply cannot go back to their lives and extend their stay indefinitely. From there we watch this women tackle their own issues and find their own answers. To say that I found this book inspiring is an understatement. Watching the transformation of each of these characters stirred something within me and helped me discover not only some answers of my own, but the types of questions I should be asking myself. This book definitely takes you on a rich journey.
“Girls’ Weekend” is beautifully written. It feels as though you are right there with Dani, Charlotte, and Meg. It’s a wonderful read and I highly recommend it to any woman who has ever been struck with a case of the “what ifs”.
“Girls’ Weekend” by Cara Sue Achterberg is available now in ebook and paperback formats. The Amazon link above is an affiliate link, which means I receive a small profit at no cost to you. I was in no way paid for my opinions. You can also purchase this book through Barnes and Noble and iBooks.
If you would like to hear more from Cara, you can follow her on her blog, Cara Writes.