Five Years From Now…
About the Book:
Vian and Nell are thrown together at the age of five when Vian’s mother and Nell’s father fall in love. At first wary of each other, they soon become the best of friends. But five years later, they are torn apart and Vian moves to the other side of the world.
Fast-forward five more years to when Vian comes to visit, and Nell discovers that the boy she once knew is now ‘Van’ – a wild and carefree teenager. Chemistry crackles, but once again, they’re separated.
For the next two decades, Nell and Van meet every five years, but life and circumstance always intervene. Will they ever find true happiness? And will it be together?
‘One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened…’
This little quote I’ve picked to open with, which also heads the blurb on the back of the book, underpins everything that happens within this novel. It’s a terrific concept, inspired by words the author’s own father used to say to her. I love how Paige Toon has taken some sage advice and turned it into a bittersweet foundation for a story.
Five Years From Now is told from the perspective of Nell, but such is the talent of Paige Toon that we get plenty of opportunities to get a full view on what’s going on with Vian along the way. The novel is broken up into five year intervals from five to forty, yet again, events from the intervening years are seamlessly woven into the narrative. I’m so impressed with Paige Toon as an author and so very unimpressed with the fact that it’s taken this long for me to discover her! Has the universe conspired in some practical joke against me? She has eleven previous titles for adults – how on earth did I miss her? If you’re a fan of her work, please feel free to recommend some favourites to point me in the right direction on where to start with her backlist.
I loved the Cornwall setting of this novel. Cornwall has long been on my wishlist to visit so I always enjoy discovering novels that are set there. There was a quaint atmosphere to this novel which reinforced the beauty of Cornwall as different characters returned over the years, relocated from other places, and sometimes stayed and never left. The years Nell and Vian spent as children in the Cornish countryside were idyllic, providing a time for them both to look back on as ‘before everything changed.’
Relationships drive this novel, not only the one between Nell and Vian, but with those around them as well. Nell and her father had a wonderful bond that ebbed and flowed over the years: adoring young daughter, rebellious teen, appreciative young adult, mutual dependence and affection as contemporaries, and then sadly, role reversal as Nell had to step into the shoes of the carer. I was particularly fond of Ruth and I think Paige Toon represented the role of a step-parent in such a positive light, not only between Nell and Ruth but later on between other characters too, which was a refreshingly enjoyable change to most novels that delve into that area.
There’s a little bit of serendipity infused into this novel that becomes apparent on more than one occasion. This threads with a truthful portrayal of life, particularly the notion that sometimes there really is no right place at the right time no matter how much we want there to be.
“Sometimes two people are meant to be together. Sometimes they’re not.”
It’s not all about love in Five Years From Now. It’s also about obligation and circumstance and who you need to love more at that point in time. Nell and Vian are a terrific pair of characters and their story was a rollercoaster ride for my emotions but I loved every single second of it. I was more than happy with the ending; the hopeful, bittersweet, tinged with nostalgia outlook appealed to me greatly and I felt this lifting as I finished, a kind of rare feeling I get when I’ve read a novel that I know will stay with me for the long haul. My edition of Five Years From Now is destined to become well thumbed as I return to it over and over.
Thanks is extended to Penguin Random House Australia for providing me with a copy of Five Years From Now for review. A special thanks to Publicity Officer Emily Cook for the beautiful way Five Years From Now was presented to reviewers.
About the Author:
Paige Toon grew up between England, Australia and America and has been writing books set in sun-drenched locations around the world since 2007. She has released eleven fiction novels and a three-part spin off series for young adults.
In 2014, Paige set up a club, The Hidden Paige, in order to share free short stories and extra content with her readers. Sign up at paigetoon.com or visit her website to find out more about the author and her characters.