Amelia might have met The One. But is she twenty years too late?
After her husband left her out of the blue, the only relationship 48-year-old Amelia Simpson has enjoyed recently is with Nutella and Pinot Grigio. While her 8-year-old twin boys, Jasper and Rupert, keep her busy, Amelia dreams of a life more than washing muddy rugby kits and weekly chats with best friends Sian and Jamie.
Amelia needs some magic back in her life – but magic seems in short supply in her small Welsh town. So when she finds the phone number that was given to her twenty years ago by a handsome stranger in New York, Amelia wonders whether he might be The One That Got Away. But when Sian takes matters into her own hands, launching a worldwide hunt to find the handsome stranger Amelia met outside Tiffany’s two decades ago, Amelia finds herself on a flight to the Big Apple to reconnect with her ‘Perfect Patrick’. But as the two explore the sights of NYC, has Amelia reconnected with The One? Or will she discover that the sparkle she was missing is actually closer to home?
A gorgeously funny and heart-warming debut romcom for fans of Sophie Ranald, Jo Watson and Beth O’Leary.
Helga Jensen is a freelance journalist, of mixed Danish and Welsh parentage. Twice in a Lifetime is her debut novel, and the first chapter was a winning entry at the Emirates Literature Festival in Dubai in 2017.
In Twice in a Lifetime, Amelia’s life is turned upside down when she discovers that her husband, Richard (“Dick”) has been cheating on her with an old friend from his university days, Tanja. At 45-years-old with her twin 8-year-old boys, Jasper and Rupert, Amelia did not expect that she would be starting over. Now that she is a single mother, she has to adjust to her new life. She is very relatable when it comes to her boys spending time with her and their father, such as comparing money. Richard makes more money and can buy more for the boys, so Amelia has moments of doubt about her own finances, as she cannot spend the same amount on them. She is not always put together, so she cannot help but compare herself to Tanja, who is her opposite. It is very relatable and realistic.
After cleaning out a box, she discovers a forgotten piece of paper from her trip to New York 20 years ago. It has the name, Patrick and a phone number from their meet cute in front of Tiffany’s. When she discusses it with her best friends, Sian and Jaime, Sian takes it upon herself to post an ad all over social media to create a viral campaign to find Patrick and reunite him with Amelia. A person claiming to be Patrick reaches out to her and seems to remember their meeting and the two of them start talking. Eventually, Amelia agrees to go to New York with Jaime in tow, who is along for his own trip for a work conference. Now Amelia finally gets to find out what could have been if she took the chance on Patrick all those years ago.
I love the concept of this story as I always find it fun to find out what people from the past have been up to since they last saw them. The part that I did not like was Sian, who has some serious boundary issues. Some people might not take issue with her, but I just did not connect and immensely disliked her. As for Jaime, I loved him as he may not have agreed with some of the choices Amelia made, but he was there as a support. He gave his opinion on different matters, but he never forced them on Amelia. Now Amelia is a mixed bag of a character. She is incredibly naïve, however, I debated if it comes as a result of the separation or if this is trait prior to the event. If the former, I could understand as she was incredibly desperate to find a chance at being desirable again and to feel like she was enough, considering that she was very broken hearted knowing her husband left her for someone else. There were numerous decisions that she made that are red flags to someone who is not blinded by a situation, but the one that was hardest to get over is her introducing her children to Patrick very early on. Although it made sense for the sake of the story, it was a disagreeable moment for me.
Overall, this was a very light-hearted romcom story. Amelia was relatable and a character that you wanted to root for, even if she made questionable choices. I loved her undying love for her sons. Towards the end of the story that seems to come out of nowhere and I wish that it was at least brought up or hinted at earlier on in the story. This story was an interesting thought experiment as I started to wonder how I would approach Amelia’s journey if I was her age and situation. Considering I have a terrible memory and do not remember people I met a week ago, I’m not quite sure I would ever be in a place where I could reconnect with someone 20 years ago, but it was an interesting thought experiment nonetheless.
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to participate with this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**