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TLC Review: Long Enough to Love You by Kirsten Pursell

Title: Long Enough to Love You

Author: Kirsten Pursell
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction (romance)
Pages: 252 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (CT, TN, FL)

SummaryA coming-of-middle-age novel that challenges the assumption that the status quo is as good as it gets.

A love story of self, of past, of present, of future. One woman’s journey to put the pieces of her life together in the most meaningful way — at times chaotic, at times cathartic, but ultimately beautiful in all its imperfect pieces.

Jenn, fifty-something and empty-nesting, feels like a donut: whole on the outside but missing the middle. The deafening sound of silence in the picture-perfect, oversized home she shares with a husband who does not see her makes the voices arguing in her head hard to ignore. One voice tells her to stay because safe and simple is good; another says leave so you can be the version of yourself not defined by others. The thought of ever after without happily feels like purgatory.

The chance discovery of her long-forgotten diaries unearths memories of a first love long buried, reminders that the most beautiful love is sometimes wasted on the young. Her words become a very real reminder of everything first love had been when she reconnects with Tripp in unexpected ways.

Long Enough to Love You by Kirsten Pursell follows Jenn – a courageous yet vulnerable protagonist – as she dissects and unpacks her marriage in an emotional journey to stay true to herself despite societal norms and middle-age stereotypes that would suggest otherwise.

Review: For anyone who has struggled in their marriage and/or who has reconnected with an old flame, this story will feel familiar. Pursell writes about things that are taboo:
  • What do women really want from a long-term marriage? 
  • What do we do once our kids leave home and how does that affect the relationship between spouses?
  • What's it like to be in your 50s and to start re-evaluating your life goals?
  • What happens when our physical and emotional needs aren't met by our partner?
  • And what happens when we reconnect with a past love?
If you are squeamish about sex scenes don't read this book. The scenes are done well and give power to women making sure that they are fulfilled both physically and emotionally. This book feels very real and isn't a flowery romance. And maybe that's why it's slightly bland for me. It's a good book, but not one that I couldn't put down. Hope that makes sense.

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Bookish--diaries and the written word feature large in Jenn's life and actions

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