Sylvia’s Second Act by Hillary Yablon

Sylvia's Second Act
by Hillary YablonAbout this book (blurb from Goodreads): 

“Her husband’s cheating on her. She hates Boca. Sylvia is mad and she isn’t going to take it anymore. She’s moving back north, to the city of her dreams—with her best friend, Evie, in tow. Think a screwball comedy featuring a sophisticated Thelma and Louise with martinis in hand . . .

When sixty-three-year-old Sylvia finds her husband in bed with the floozy of their Boca retirement community, she’s shocked and furious . . . at first. By the time her head stops spinning, Sylvia realizes that actually, this isn’t what she wants anymore anyway.

So she enlists her best friend, the glamorous older widow Evie, to join her in setting up a new life in Manhattan. Sylvia’s ex-husband may have lost her life savings, but Sylvia and Evie are scrappy and determined, unopposed to pawning jewelry and roughing it in tiny apartments. And before long, Sylvia signs on to revive her decades-old wedding planning business with a former professional rival. Sylvia has a lot to prove, and beneath it all, she can’t help but Will she ever be able to get back into the dating game?

Sylvia's Second Act
by Hillary YablonSylvia doesn’t want to be twenty-five or thirty again. Her age gives her wisdom, experience, and perspective. A career, sex, fun, and a new romance—her entire second act is stretched out in front of her, beckoning to her. It’s her time, and watch out, world, Sylvia is coming!”

My thoughts:

Sylvia and Evie are not just characters; they are a force of nature. Their friendship is the cornerstone of the novel, offering a refreshing perspective on life after sixty. As they navigate the complexities of starting over in New York City, their bond provides a solid foundation for the new experiences and challenges they face. Their adventures are a testament to the fact that age is just a number, and it’s never too late to reinvent oneself.

The humour is intelligent and insightful, often serving as a vehicle for deeper life lessons. The absurdity of certain situations is balanced with moments of profound clarity, that made me pause and reflect on the underlying messages about life, love, and the pursuit of personal fulfilment.

The novel is as much about the city as it is about Sylvia and Evie.  Yablon captures the essence of New York City with vivid descriptions that transport readers right into the heart of Manhattan.

Yablon’s prose is unapologetically bold and brimming with wit. The novel doesn’t shy away from the realities of life but instead embraces them with open arms. The characters’ experiences are portrayed with an honesty that’s both raw and endearing.

While the novel is an easy read, it doesn’t compromise on substance. The plot is engaging and well-paced, making it a perfect companion for those moments when you want to escape into a book without the burden of complications. It’s the kind of story that stays with you, not just for the humour but for the emotional resonance it leaves behind.

The wedding planning backdrop adds a unique twist to the narrative, intertwining the themes of romance and chaos. Sylvia’s profession as a wedding planner introduces readers to a variety of characters and situations that are both entertaining and touching. The weddings serve as a metaphor for new beginnings, not just for the brides and grooms but also for Sylvia and Evie as they embark on this new chapter of their lives.

“Sylvia’s Second Act” is a celebration of life’s unpredictability and the beauty of embracing change. It’s a novel that encourages readers to laugh, love, and live fully, regardless of the date on their birth certificate. For fans of heartfelt stories with a dash of humour and the enchanting backdrop of New York City, this book is a must read.

This book is the Hillary Yablon’s debut novel, I’m already eager to see what she writes next!

Thanks to Jonathan Ball Publishers for this gifted copy.