Spinstered (Sharyn Kopf) – Review

5 stars

~ About the Book ~

Three friends. Three stories. Three women trying to figure out how they ended up over 40 and still single.

Committed to her job and pushing fifty, Catie Delaney has almost given up on her dream of love and marriage. Maybe, she tells herself, she’d be happier just embracing her singleness. Maybe that’s been God’s will all along.

Catie’s friends, Jolene and Uli, have their own struggles with men, careers, and family.

Then into this mix of feminine angst walks Brian Kemper—the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) to join their church’s singles group. But just as something seems about to happen between him and Catie, her world falls apart.

With their hearts on the line, these three friends search for hope … and find it in unexpected places.

~ Excerpt ~

During the forty-five minutes allotted to our Sunday school class, I watch Uli and Jolene scuffle over Brian with all the finesse of a slickly choreographed dance. Or the tangled mess of a car accident. Call it what you will, you can’t look away. If I suspected he had a clue, I might be embarrassed, but he doesn’t, so I enjoy the show. Besides, he’s too busy discussing sanctification with Scott. Brian has some interesting thoughts on the subject and expresses them without reservation. You don’t often meet a man who can jump right in so comfortably. It’s an attractive quality.
My friends, apparently, feel the same way.
I suppose I should throw my own log on the fire if I want a shot. Not that I have a log. Or even a stick. What do I have to offer, other than the wrinkles, sags, and salty attitude of a forty-eight-year-old spinster? Do I even want a shot? Is Brian someone I could be interest in or just the only new thing on the horizon? Sure, he seems like a nice enough guy. Not bad looking. Maybe a little opinionated.
Perhaps I’m done with the whole idea of marriage. What a relief that would be! No more stressing about how I look or freaking out about the latest GWP (Guy With Potential) who happens to show up at work or church or across the tomato bin at King Sooper’s. I could just be me. Lonely, grumpy, cynical me.
With class officially ended, we get into a fifteen-minute discussion on where we want to go to lunch—a weekly ritual. It always takes us forever to decide whether we prefer burritos at Margaritas or burgers at Wendy’s. I am usually out-voted, and we end up at some fast-food place, which is fine. I make more money than a lot of people in the group. It’s not something we talk about, but it creates a bit of a wall.
So, after a great debate over what everyone’s in the mood for—interrupted by Jolene telling us about the time a meatball sub and a skateboard ruined her favorite pale-pink blouse, a story that makes Brian laugh so hard he chokes—we finally decide everyone will get whatever they want and bring it to Palmer Park in one hour. We’ll picnic then head out for a long afternoon hike. Perfect.
Uli and Jolene each ask Brian at least once if he’ll be there, and Jolene stomps all over Uli’s artistic toes when she draws him a map of directions. It’s never good when Uli’s insecurity slams up against Jolene’s clueless enthusiasm. All of which means Uli will push harder while Jolene will be more teeth and temptation than any one man can handle.
Poor Brian doesn’t stand a chance.
And neither do I.

~ Review ~

This was a surprisingly engaging read—and I say that not so much because I was expecting not to enjoy the book, as because I wondered how much I would identify with three women searching for hope (and maybe love) amidst their singleness. As it turned out, I was engaged from the first sentence. First person present tense narrative has never been my favourite, but these characters had such ‘real’ voices that I fell naturally into the story and, despite its sometimes melancholy and troubled characters, thoroughly enjoyed the read.

Catie, Jolene, and Uli share the narrative role fairly evenly throughout the novel (in alternating chapters) but in terms of character growth, Catie is the primary focus in this first novel in the Spinstered series. She’s not literature’s most upbeat character, but there was an honesty and vulnerability to her character that drew me in just the same. And although her situation was different to mine, her struggles were easy to relate to: Where do we look for hope when the rug gets pulled out from under us? Who do we look to for happiness, fulfilment, and a sense of worth?

Jolene’s and Uli’s struggles with singleness both look different to Catie’s, and there is much yet to come in their journeys, but I found that as each new chapter came and moved between the narrators, I was eager to pick up where they had last left off. Not only that, but the story maintained a sense of continuity even while it switched between the women’s points-of-view.

While it is obvious that there is more to come in these women’s stories, I didn’t feel as though I had been left hanging at the end of the novel. This was a great read, and I look forward to continuing with these women in the rest of the series.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. This has not influenced the content of my review.

Release date:  5 October 2014
Pages:  270
Publisher:  LoJo Publishing

Amazon US  //  Amazon AU  //  Goodreads

~ Other Books in the Series ~

I recently reviewed Inconceived on the blog Diversity Between the Pages.

~ About the Author ~

sharynSharyn Kopf didn’t discover her voice until she found a way to turn grief into hope. For her, that meant realizing it was okay to be sad about her singleness. In doing so, she was finally able to move past her grief and find hope in God.

It also meant writing about the heartaches and hopes of being an older single woman. She published her first novel, Spinstered, in 2014, and a companion nonfiction version titled Spinstered: Surviving Singleness After 40 in 2015. Her work has also appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Splickety Love magazine.

Besides writing and speaking, Sharyn is an editor and marketing professional. She loves to connect with readers and singles on Facebook or email and has plans to start a monthly newsletter soon. In her spare time, she enjoys goofing off with her nieces and nephews, making—and eating!—the best fudge ever, long hikes through the woods, and playing the piano.

Connect with Sharyn:  Website  //  Facebook  //  Girls Night In (blog for single, over 40 women)


About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
Image | This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Christian Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Spinstered (Sharyn Kopf) – Review

  1. Pingback: Weekend Book Buzz! | Fiction Aficionado

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