by Debra Landwehr Engle


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“A book to hold against your heart long after the last page is turned.”
—New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
“Along with naming me Marguerite after her favorite daisy, Mama gave me three things: Red hair that hasn’t faded. A love of nature. And a belief that somewhere between heaven and earth there is magic.”
At age fifty-five, Meg’s life is too filled with loss for her to remember what magic feels like. All she has left is a yard brimming with plants that are wilting in the scorching Iowa summer—and a bone-deep feeling that she’s through with living.
Meg has something else too: a bottle of mysterious pills, given to her years ago by an empathetic doctor. He promised that they would offer her dying mother a quick, painless end in exactly twenty days. Though her mother never needed them, Meg does. But a strange thing happens after Meg swallows the little green pearls . . .
Now that she’s decided to leave this world, Meg is rediscovering the joy in it. She sheds everything she no longer needs—possessions, regrets, guilt—and reconnects with those she cares for. Finally confronting the depth of her grief, she’s learning that love runs deeper still. But is it too late to choose to stay?
“A book to hold against your heart long after the last page is turned.”
—New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs
Twenty reminds us to live with our hearts wide open even when they’ve been broken, and how to love even when it hurts.”
—Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials
 “Written with such strong and heartfelt faith in the magic and power of never-ending love, it will renew your own.”
—Judy Reene Singer, author of In the Shadow of Alabama

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496723574
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 01/28/2020
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 83,038
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Debra Landwehr Engle is the bestselling author of The Only Little Prayer You Need and Let Your Spirit Guides Speak. She is the co-founder of a women’s program of personal and spiritual growth, teaching classes in A Course in Miracles, and offering courses and workshops worldwide. Debra lives with her husband, Bob, in Madison County, Iowa, home of the famed covered bridges. Twenty is her first novel.

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Twenty 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
SimplySusan 21 days ago
Marguerite is simply done. Her mother is dead. Her daughter is dead. Even her plants are dead. And in twenty days, she will be dead too. The story of the last 20 days of Marguerite's life is presented in a very plain straight forward manner. It is obvious that she is severely depressed and at first is very comfortable with her choice. But during the time that she has left, she is faced with the question of whether this was the right choice. Heavy in nostalgia, as most of the book was full of memories as she cleans out her house, and a bit heavy on spiritualism near the end, the book is a quick but not light read. Unlike how I have felt about most books recently, I wish this book had been a bit longer, a bit more in depth. I wanted to get to know Marguerite a bit more! 20 days wasn't enough time. Thanks to Cozy Mystery Review Crew for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.
18236797 21 days ago
"Twenty" is the story of the heart-wrenching grief of fifty-five-year-old Marguerite "Meg," a strong, vibrant woman whose five-year-old daughter died in a tragic accident twenty years earlier. Her grief compounds with the care of her mother who died from dementia five years ago, divorce after her husband can no longer cope with her emotional shutdown, and her mother’s beloved flower garden succumbs to summer heat and drought despite her desperate efforts to save it. Debra Landwehr Engle deftly weaves Meg’s journey through complicated grief to the point she resolves to end her life with a medication intended for her mother who did not need it. The little green “pearls” she give her twenty days to live. As each day dawns, she marks the countdown on a calendar and faces guilt, regret, confusion, and discovery. While the significance of the number twenty is not clear to the reader, it becomes meaningful to Meg. She evolves and rediscovers beauty and joy in her life, including reuniting with her husband. Emotional revival results from experiencing great pain and doing the work to heal. Then surrender and transformation can be experienced. Engle masterfully unfolds the excruciating grief process. The bittersweet ending leaves many questions unanswered. Emotional revival results from experiencing great pain and doing the work to heal. "Twenty" invites the reader to live with Meg and, perhaps, examine her or his own grief, and discover the power of the human spirit to heal. It was refreshing to read about an older woman; so few books address mature-age characters. The book parallels my life experiences and mirrors my crushing grief. "Twenty" is an outstanding book for book clubs, support group, reflection and introspection, and discussing with a therapist or other trusted person.
Pensguys . 21 days ago
I wanted to review this book because the main character, Meg, aged 55, is close to my age and a majority of the books I read are younger main characters. I wanted to really connect with a character who felt she was tired of living, done with life, living in grief and depression, after having so many losses of loved ones throughout her life and just didn't see the point of going on day to day any more. When you take a hard look at your life like Meg did, you see the wonderful thing that it is. If you feel this way, no matter your age, this book shines a light on a change of perspective and how "life is precious, beautiful and mysterious even in its pain."(quote) Meg makes you think about what would you miss about your life if you were dead? What do you enjoy about your life? What if you only had Twenty days left to live? This book gets very deep into these thoughts and wakes Meg up to how she has been drowning in her own life and grief. Meg takes some mysterious green pearls provided by her deceased mom's doctor 5 years prior. They were supposed to help her mom pass painlessly in her sleep after 20 days, but Meg ended up not needing to give them to her mom as she finally passed from her illnesses. Once Meg takes the pills and starts cleaning out the house of all the stuff that's accumulated over the years so her sister isn't bombarded with the task, she starts to feel lighter and starts to let go of all the regrets and anger and grief that was swallowing her. She begins to question maybe she could have lived this way without taking those pearls. A couple of my favorite quotes from the book: "Why does life inspire us to be dishonest as though pretending or lying will make anything better? When you have nothing to lose, you realize how much easier everything is when you just tell the truth." "Death is not an end, it is a beginning. When you live without fear of it, there is no shortage of moments." My only negatives with this book were some slow chapters in the middle where Meg is revisiting many areas and experiences of her life.
diannew90 21 days ago
Imagine if you take a substance that will end your life in twenty days. Twenty is a fictional story of Marguerite, a.k.a. Meg, who makes that decision and the subsequent physical and psychological ramifications of that choice. The story takes place in Iowa during the summer, and it is told from the first-person point of view over a period of twenty days. Debra Landwehr Engle makes excellent use of scene transitions when she switches between present experiences and background events that lead to Meg choosing to end her earthly life. As the days go by, Meg oscillates between feelings of regret and looking forward to seeing family members who have passed away. Readers get an in-depth look into Meg’s emotional reactions to circumstances in both the past and present times. A thought-provoking book that raises philosophical questions about ending life on one’s own terms and the push-pull dynamic of anxiety and relief that goes along with it. Will the pills work as expected? What needs to be done to prepare for the last days on earth? What should one do to make it easier for the family members who are left behind? Does one tell family members and friends about taking the pills? Is there an antidote? Will day twenty bring life or death? Engle provides twelve discussion questions at the end of the book that will stimulate readers’ own ideas not only with regard to the ethical dilemma of the right to die but also in regard to the emotional fluctuations experienced by someone who has twenty days left to live with their decision. An interesting book to talk about in a book club and/or with friends and family members.
ThriftyLoCo 21 days ago
I really loved this book. The story of Meg's life was interesting, and easy to read. But what I liked even more was the way the book made me think about what is really important in life. Meg is facing a crisis, and as she works through it, she thinks a lot about her life and makes some changes that make her happier. I enjoyed following her thought process, and seeing her take action gave me some good ideas about things to try in my own life. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story, and anyone who is looking for some new ideas and things to think about to improve your life.
ChewietheMouse 21 days ago
Normally, I like to write my review of a book almost immediately after finishing it. That wasn't the case for "Twenty" by Debra Landwehr Engle. I felt like I needed to take some time to process what I'd read, and give it some serious thought in order to insure my review did the book justice. That alone is high praise for the book....and even now, I'm not sure I can adequately express what I feel about it. On a basic level, "Twenty" is the story of a woman who is tired, depressed, and basically done with life. She makes a major decision, and the reader follows her journey as she experiences the consequences of that decision. Through a combination of Meg's present-day story and her reminiscences of the past, we learn a lot about her, her life, and everything that led her to this present state of affairs. If you're looking for a good story about a woman's life, this book fits the bill. is SO MUCH MORE! At it's heart, "Twenty" addresses the age-old question of "How would you live if you knew you were dying?". The answers Meg finds to this question make logical sense for her, and also give the reader an amazing, intimate perspective into who Meg truly is as a person. The book also gives the reader plenty to think about. If you're open to it, Meg's journey can be as life-changing for you as it is for her. This is what makes "Twenty" so special. After reading it, I honestly felt differently about life and priorities. I hope it does the same for you. Thank you, Debra Engle, for writing such a wonderful, thought-provoking book. Five out of five absolutely perfect wedges of Stilton Gold!
Mandums 21 days ago
This was an unusual and remarkable book-- easy-to-read but full of depth, simple but lyrical, profoundly sad but also joyous. I could have easily read it in one sitting, but didn't want to know how it ended, so I put off reading the last few pages as long as I could. I loved the first person narrative-- it was more like reading a memoir than a piece of fiction. I felt every emotion that Meg experienced, from the emptiness and defeat to the sheer joy at the beauty surrounding her. Her recollections and observations gave me a clear picture of the kind of woman she was and the kind of life she had lived, and I felt as though I could relate to her despite having very little in common. Especially towards the end of the book, I found myself highlighting quotes to remember later. When Meg mused that "Maybe the worst thing that can happen is to not live the life you're given, to let guilt and anger steal your life from you," I had to stop reading and write those words on my heart. How often do we let our pain and our past steal moments from our lives? How often do we spend time mourning what could have been, or should have been, and miss what's right in front of us? This was a beautiful, thought-provoking piece of fiction that is much more than the quick read it appears to be. It will stay with you long after you finish reading it, and you'll find yourself looking at a brighter, more colorful world when you're done.