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Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word
     

Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word

4.4 5
by Linda Kelsey
 

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As Hope Lyndhurst-Steele approaches her 50th birthday, although she "has it all"--top magazine job, wonderful husband, loving son, many friends--fifty still feels like a four-letter word.

But she doesn't know just how low she can go.

When she returns to the office after her holiday break, she's informed by senior management that the "having it

Overview

As Hope Lyndhurst-Steele approaches her 50th birthday, although she "has it all"--top magazine job, wonderful husband, loving son, many friends--fifty still feels like a four-letter word.

But she doesn't know just how low she can go.

When she returns to the office after her holiday break, she's informed by senior management that the "having it all" woman is OUT--and Hope's out along with her. As she starts spending her days at home, her relationship with her usually patient husband Jack starts to become strained, and her teenage son is more interested in chasing after the local trashy single mom than spending his last year at home with his own mother. And Hope's own mother, who she never got along with, has cheerily announced that she's got six months left to live. Hope is relieved when a solo trip to Paris wakes up her long-dormant libido, but when she returns, she finds that her husband is giving her more space than she'd like--he's moved out.

As Hope wonders if she'll be able to make it to fifty-one with her sanity and her family intact, she discovers some interesting truths about herself and her age--and even if 50 is not the new 30, it could be that the best is yet to come.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Kelsey's middling midlife crisis tale follows the travails of British magazine editor Hope Lyndhurst-Steele, whose 50th birthday ends up being far more traumatic than she could have imagined. Her teenage son is chasing a trampy single mom, her husband wants to move out, her estranged mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer and she's ousted from her job. Hope already feels sorry for herself, so all of this seems likely to crush her until she uses the knocks to gain a new perspective on her life and discover inner strengths. Kelsey unfortunately allows her heroine to be annoyingly self-involved for most of the book, and while her turnaround is refreshing, it comes too late to hook the reader. Save the grating narrator, this menopausal empowerment tale is safely by-the-numbers. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A first novel that offers a uniquely British twist on the erosion of a middle-aged woman's confidence. Hope Lyndhurst-Steele, high-powered editor of the Cosmopolitan-like London glossy Jasmine, experiences the usual midlife malaise as she approaches her 50th birthday. Her sex life with husband Jack, a laid-back physiotherapist, is ho-hum. Her 18-year-old son Olly, about to take a gap year before starting university, is frustratingly uncommunicative. But things really go sour after a New Year's party (her birthday falls on Jan. 1) at which, fueled by too many mojitos, Hope topples to the floor in mid-salsa. Deposed in a Machiavellian office coup that rebrands Jasmine as a neo-'50s Good Housekeeping, she heads for Paris to stock up on marriage-salvaging lingerie. In a brasserie, she meets hunky American professor Dan and falls in lust. On her return to London after a one-night stand, Jack, surprising Hope in midflirt with a bitter diatribe about how self-absorbed and insufferable she's been, moves out. Her mother, with whom Hope has always had an uneasy detente (Mum blamed early marriage and kids for stunting her emotional and artistic growth), announces that she's dying of cancer. Best friend Maddy, pregnant by her late sister's husband Ed (they got together while sis was in hospice), feels such remorse that she refuses to tell Ed he's the father; when Hope does, it's goodbye BFF. Hope's new friends Sally and Nick, bereaved parents struggling to found a haven for critically ill children, are not as saintly as they appear. Is Sally having an affair with Jack or is he just working out the knots in her back? Is Nick coming on to Hope during a benefit trek across Morocco? The trek helps putHope's problems in perspective, and she moves toward reconciliation with the people she's alienated, whether intentionally or not. Episodic and preachy in spots, but Hope's candid, sardonic voice and the author's biting wit elevate the book above the formulaic. Agent: Jonny Geller/Curtis Brown UK
Patty Engelmann
Kelsey, a magazine editor herself, creates a witty foray into one woman's psyche as she accepts her age and proves that there is, indeed, life and adventure after the 50-year milestone.
Booklist
Patty Engelmann - Booklist
"Kelsey, a magazine editor herself, creates a witty foray into one woman's psyche as she accepts her age and proves that there is, indeed, life and adventure after the 50-year milestone."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446545129
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
03/10/2009
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
363 KB

Meet the Author

Linda Kelsey is a freelance journalist and editor. A former editor of UK Cosmopolitan and She magazine, she has twice been awarded Editor of the year. She has also been involved in the UK launches of several other successful glossy women's magazines including In Style, Company, and Wedding Day. Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word is her first novel. She lives in London with her husband, son and Cuba the Labrador. In her next life she would like to be a professional singer.

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Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2003 Hope Lyndhurst-Steele believes strongly her upcoming fiftieth birthday is no milestone as nothing will change in her near perfect life. However, just after her birthday, her world collapses. Her mom announces she is dying with just a few months to live. Hope's husband Jack says he cannot cope with her cynicism and upside down values accentuated when she is more upset that he told their son Olly before her that he is leaving her and moves out. She is also upset to see Olly hanging around with the neighborhood tramp, the older single mom Vanessa; Hope tells her to leave her son alone only to upset her son. Hope feels no hope as she flees for Paris to reassess her relationships. This is an interesting character study of a fifty year old woman whose world implodes and has to look closely at her set ways and decide whether changing is worth the cost. Hope is a fascinating protagonist but the use of her viewpoint abates the impact of how the others feel as we only know them through a Hope filter. Still this is a difficult read as the heroine learns fifty is a four-letter word and changing one's spots is extremely difficult; that is if a person truly wants to change. Harriet Klausner
BevE More than 1 year ago
Hope Lyndhurst-Steele has come to a tipping point in her life, the dreaded 5-0. Though there's a few more wrinkles, her life is in full bloom with a fabulous career as star editor of a glossy woman's magazine, Jasmine. Husband Jack is a successful physiotherapist. And then there's her son Olly, typical teenager, if that also means falling for Vanessa who's almost twice his age. Hope seems to have it all but then the bottom falls out. Her mother announces that she's very sick. Her boss Simon gives her the boot and then if that's not enough Jack leaves. The book opens around Hope's birthday party, which happens to be New Year's Day. The story is written in the first person, involving the reader immediately. By the end of the book you've traveled with Hope for a full year, realizing that Fifty Is Not a Four-Letter Word when you open yourself to change.
Slessman More than 1 year ago
FIFTY IS NOT A FOUR-LETTER WORD Linda Kelsey 5 Spot Hachette Book Group ISBN: 978-0-446-19590-4 $13.99 - Paperback 354 pages Reviewer: Annie Slessman Hope Lyndhurst turns fifty on New Year's Day and she isn't happy about it. She finds herself at fifty, separated from her husband, Jack, and Olly, her only child, is graduating high school and taking a year to travel before starting college. To top it all off, Hope's mother is dying of cancer. As if Hope doesn't have enough on her plate to deal with, she loses her job as the editor of Jasmine, an upscale magazine for women. Alone, for the first time in many years, Hope finds herself listless and wandering aimlessly through life. Except for a brief trip to Paris where she meets a young professor and spends a night of bliss in his arms, she has no goals except to exist from day to day. Hope and her dying mother try to "fix" the problems between them but find the task almost impossible. Hope has felt her mother never loved her and even resented the fact that she exists. Her father on the other hand, provides the love any daughter could want. Completing the cast of characters in the book is Maddy, a young doctor and Hope's best friend, her sister, Sarah and a young gay cousin, Mike and his partner, Stanko. There is also an older woman, Vanessa, who is having an affair with Olly, Hope's young son and a young couple, Nick and Sally who are working to build a foundation to help critically ill children. The story vacillates between "what was" and "what is." The background provided by the "what was" makes the "what is " more understandable to the reader. This is a simple story about a very complicated woman and provides some good reading. It will maintain a reader's interest and will become a book you pass onto your friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago