Sunday, May 29, 2022

Summer Reading 2022: The Change by Kirsten Miller


This novel is definitely going in my top ten for 2022. I picked it as one of my Book of the Month selections for May and I'll just keep patting myself on the back the rest of the year. I was up reading this book at 3 AM last week because I couldn't stop thinking about it. 

Three women live in the Long Island town of Mattuck, New York. Harriett is an executive in advertising; Jo owns Furious Fitness, and Nessa is a widow who's two daughters have just left for college. Three women who don't seem to have anything in common on the surface. 

They all have something in common: the change. We know it as menopause, and those of us who have experienced it know it brings all sorts of interesting physical changes. Pretty much anything that goes haywire with your body once you hit 40 can be attributed to pre-menopause or full blown menopause. It does a number on your body. 

Harriett, Jo, and Nessa are at the age where change is happening, but not in the way you may think. For Harriett, it's finding her calling with gardening, growing herbs, plants, and all sorts of interesting things in her garden. Using those plants to help or punish others. She's so in tune with nature she just stops wearing clothes around her yard--which is safely hidden by  rose bushes that have grown big and thorny and impenetrable. 

Nessa hears the voices again, after decades of not tuning in. Her gift has been handed down in her family: she can hear and see the dead. One voice is very, very loud. 

Jo, after years of battling with her period, her body, and the patriarchy bullshit she dealt with at work, turns that rage into immense strength. She can feel it bubbling up under her skin, and the sweat pours off of her. Running miles each day just to work off the energy. 

All three women come together in Mattuck to stop a serial killer. Young women are disappearing, and the three women follow Nessa's pull towards a local beach. In the brush along the road by the beach, they find a bag, and inside, a dead girl. That's the tip of it all, and wow the book takes off after that.

This is an all-out war between corrupt men and the women who aren't going to take it anymore. The exclusive gated community near Mattuck that houses billionaires during the summer is the bullseye for corruption and may very well be where the serial killer lurks. There's danger everywhere for the women, and their very lives may be in danger as they begin poking around. 

What I loved about this novel was the "F**k around and find out" attitude the trio give-especially Harriett and Jo. Nessa is a little more timid, but is compelled to keep moving forward. Harriett is my favorite of the three--she's just magnificent. Jo's hot flashes are so intense she can literally start fires with a touch of her hand. Her simmering rage is certainly understandable. After decades of having to put up with men who treat them as less than, the women have come into their own with a roar!

Oh, I hope someone buys the rights to this novel and turns it into a movie. I'd see it in a second. I absolutely love Kirsten Miller's take on menopause and aging women who certainly are not done with achieving their potential--heck, even finding new potential. Menopause isn't the end, but the glorious beginning. 

Put this on your summer read list. I raced through it, and carried it with me to work to read at lunch, and even was up late the other night at my partner's house, reading while he peacefully slept in the other room. I couldn't wait to finish it. And oh, it's got a heck of an ending. 

Rating: 6/6--yes! A book that grabbed me from the beginning and kept me smirking, giggling, and heck yes, a bit pissed off until the end. But oh, do the punishments fit the crimes. Hell hath no fury...

Available in hardcover, ebook, and audio. 


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