Fiction as Self-Help – In Five Years

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle is a book that will break your heart and put it back together again.


First things first: I only read it because we’re on lock-down. No, wait, that’s not exactly right. What I mean to say is that my company began a Women’s Book Club while we’re Working from Home (WFH) and the book was chosen for us. It was also bought and delivered. Nice gig, eh?

I am not a fiction lover, as you know, but I’ve been trying to branch out. Read outside the box. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised, for the most part, although I full-on hated a few books that other people seemed to adore (ahem… Gone Girl).

The only thing this book and Gone Girl have in common is this: I disliked both endings. A LOT.

Ta da!

(Serle‘s book is completely different otherwise, to be clear. Just sayin’.)

This is a book filled with characters to love and hate and in-between. Relationships are surface or profoundly deep, messy or all of the above. Just like life.

The “five years” reference is about a dream. Well, now, I thought, this is something I can sink my teeth into! And dig, I did!

Did Serle get the memo? At times, I wasn’t sure.

The story, in a nutshell, is about a woman (Dannie) whose life is planned to the finest detail and so far, everything is progressing as expected.

Until she has a dream.

In the dream, it is five years later – the date is on the television, so she knows for sure – and everything is decidedly NOT as planned. Different place, different man, different everything.

When she wakes, she is back to present day, with everything intact.

Will the dream change her life? That is the premise of the story.

I expected magic. I was disappointed.

I was not disappointed by one of her relationships digging deep into what it means to be a sisterhood, best friends and soul mates. This is where my heart broke… and where it was put back together.

I am not a fan of romance novels and in this, I was pleasantly surprised. I thought for sure it would go there. It didn’t. There were a couple of somewhat explicit sex scenes but they fit perfectly. No pun intended.

Last night, we had our book meeting – online, which was interesting. 30+ women all talking at the same time was something else! But it was good! Most of the women LOVED the book from beginning to end. There was at least one other woman who agreed with me… and she went further. She didn’t like any of it. So, there ya go.

Some final notes:

It’s written from first person, present tense, which was a bit difficult for me in the beginning.

I was super interested in the story-line because I love teasing apart dreams and what they mean, so I expected something more… psychological, I guess.

Some of the relationships were not fully developed and I thought they landed with a bit of a thud.

It’s smartly written and easy to read.

Tiny spoiler: Keep an eye on Bella. She’s spectacular!

In case this wasn’t obvious, the self-help connection is in the relationships. Go in and expect to be moved to tears.

Please let me know if you read it!


  1. I’ve found insight and enlightenment in almost all genres but fiction remains my favorite 🙂

    I think you might enjoy Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. They are vignettes on life and its deep connections and emotions wrapped in mysteries. And, in case you are wondering, yes – I picked up the first one because of the author’s name. I kept coming back because of the intense depth of human character she manages to craft with her words.

    Liked by 1 person

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