Five Years From Now
Writer: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: May 2018
Five Years From Now is a warmly emotional and twisty novel. Set in Cornwall, this story captures the beauty of nature, innocence of childhood adventures and much more…
The story begins in the present, with a 40 year-old woman comforting her injured and emotionally wrecked 15 year old son in a hospital bed. She tells him “One day, maybe five years from now, you’ll look back and understand why this happened”, something that she once heard when she was young and has stuck with her to this day. The story is wrapped around this phrase and as she reminisces you are absorbed into the world of Nell and Vian.
Each chapter tells a different age of Nell’s life, in five year jumps. With 5 year-old Nell’s parents separated and her Dad living far from her London home, she only stays with him on school holidays; enjoying summers at his tranquil cottage by the river, surrounded by beaches and wheat fields. She longs to stay in Cornwall with him, but one day she finds herself staring at an unfamiliar, curly brown-haired boy sat on her bed. Why is this boy here and is he here to stay?
Paige Toon uses such gorgeously written metaphors that her style often feels slightly poetic; as though she is painting the story rather than simply telling it. Her descriptions are beautiful and I could picture certain scenes and characters so crisply. She creates a day-dreamy feel that has frequent meetings with reality! It’s a story of friendship, love, separation and new beginnings. She not only writes about the difficulty of these things with such poignancy, but creates twists that surprise you (sometimes even shock you) within a world of artistic dreams and a whole lot of sentiment.
The only thing I found difficult about this book at first was the length of the chapters- I like to be able to read in chunks, choosing whether to continue on to the next part or have a quick break and maybe make a coffee, or speak to a friend, and then pick it back up. Understandably, though, most chapters were hefty as each one told of a significant part of her life. I did get used to their length, and if anything, the longer chapters meant I was completely drawn in and dedicated to the story. I particularly love that Toon created characters that the reader is able to follow throughout the years. Life’s experiences become memories, some regretted, some treasured, as the characters learn the complexity that comes with growing up.
A read of surprises, packaging an array of emotions, Five Years From Now is a cosy, heartfelt novel. Paige Toon balances the devastation of distance and loss with wild devotion and honest desires of the heart.