Where do you see yourself in five years?
Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan has been in possession of her meticulously crafted answer since she understood the question. On the day that she nails the most important job interview of her career and gets engaged to the perfect man, she’s well on her way to fulfilling her life goals.
That night Dannie falls asleep only to wake up in a different apartment with a different ring on her finger, and in the company of a very different man. The TV is on in the background, and she can just make out the date. It’s the same night – December 15th – but 2025, five years in the future.
It was just a dream, she tells herself when she wakes, but it felt so real… Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.
That is, until four and a half years later, when Dannie turns down a street and there, standing on the corner, is the man from her dream…
Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years is an uplifting novel about life, love, heartbreak and the uncertainty of life.
In Five Years explores the concept of face and destiny, and understanding the difference between what you can control in your life and what you can’t control.
Dannie is blissfully happy with her fiancé, until she has a dream set five years in the future, and suddenly she’s unsure. It isn’t until four and a half years later, when Dannie meets the mysterious man from her dream, where she starts to think about what she wants in life and if maybe it’s different to what she’d always planned.
“Four and a half years pass. Winters and falls and summers. Everything goes according to plan. Everything. Except that David and I don’t get married. We never set a date. We say we’re busy, which we are. We say we don’t need to until we want kids. We say we want to travel.”
In Five Years is a diamond among the rough — a glorious, surprising novel that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It took unexpected turns, and explored emotions and circumstances that many readers will be able to relate to.
There’s a lot of heartache in this book, but it’s part of the charm of the story. You don’t quite expect it, and you find yourself caught unawares by the direction of the story. The characters are raw, honest and the story is compelling.
At times, Dannie can be naive and oblivious to her own situation, but she’s also caring and considerate and present when she needs to be. Her best friend, Bella, is carefree and energetic and spontaneous, until something happens that forces her to confront her life and its current situation.
“I help David unload the trunk, handing Morgan her roller as Bella comes out of the house. She has on a pale linen dress, the bottom of which has paint splotches on it. This fills me with a very particular kind of joy. To my knowledge she hasn’t painted all year, the sight of her — hair wild in the wind, the atmosphere of creation hanging around her like mist — is wonderful to witness.”
In Five Years explores love, loss, grief and the power of friendship. At its core, this book is a rom-com. Dannie is a little too comfortable in her engagement and her best friend introduces a new boyfriend who has completely captivated her. However, the book is also about female friendship and loyalty — Rebecca Serle captures a really strong bond between Dannie and Bella, and many readers will be able to recognise that kind of friendship.
Dannie goes through more than one heartache across the course of the novel; we witness her confront her hopes and fears, her failed ‘plan’ and her desires for the future.
“Bella opens her mouth to say something, but closes it again. She likes David. Or at least, I think she does. I suspect she’d like me to be with someone more adventurous, someone who maybe pushed me outside my comfort zone a little bit more. But what she doesn’t realize, or what she conveniently forgets, is that she and I are not the same person.”
I will admit the synopsis is a little misleading — it implies the book features time travel, and that when Dannie goes to sleep she actually does wake up five years in the future and has to navigate her new life. I spent the first few chapters quite confused with the direction of the plot, but soon I just let that go and enjoyed the story for what it was.
Heartbreaking at times, but also really joyous and full of life. Recommended for female readers, 20+
Thank you to the publisher for mailing me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
In Five Years
Hachette Book Publishers