Girls' Weekend by Cara Sue Achterberg
Dani, Meg, and Charlotte have bonded over babies, barbecues, and backyards, but when they escape for a girls weekend away, they can t bring themselves to return to lives that don't seem to fit anymore.
Harried Dani can't explain why she feels so discontented until she meets a young gallery owner who inspires her to rediscover the art that once made her happy. Dependable Meg faces up to a grief that threatens to swallow her whole and confronts a marriage built on expectations. Flamboyant Charlotte, frustrated with her stagnated life and marriage, pursues a playboy Irish singer and beachside business opportunities.
.All three of these women thought they would be different. None of them thought they'd be facing down forty and still wondering when life starts. What they do when they realize where they're headed is both inspiring and wildly entertaining.
This novel isn't as light-hearted as the blurb would suggest. It's more of an exploration into the dissatisfaction with modern society and how those who appear to have it all aren't in fact happy with their lot.
All three women are clearly differentiated - different outlooks, different reasons for their unhappiness. Meg, I feel, is the only woman who has a genuine reason to be unhappy and her grief understandably permeates her whole life. But all three reflect a discontent with their lives and the way things have turned out; all three feel they have lost themselves to their marriages and their children, and nothing is left of the hopeful young women they once were, or the hopes and dreams they once had.
This novel is about self-discovery and realisation, and the attempt to find who they really are underneath the monotony of everyday living.
I did feel that Charlotte had unfinished business, but the book spans the time the women spent at the beach, and ends at a logical place. The reader is left with the knowledge that all three have made discoveries about themselves, and that happiness is to be found within oneself and doesn't necessarily rely on external factors.
Well written with complex, distinct characters, this novel is a compelling and very enjoyable read.