#aww2021 · 2021 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · romance

New Release Book Review: The Five Year Plan by Jodi Gibson

Title: The Five Year Plan

Author: Jodi Gibson

Published: September 7th 2021

Publisher: Brio Books

Pages: 296

Genres:  Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction

RRP: $29.99

Rating: 3.5 stars

At 33, DEMI Moretti’s five-year plan is on track. She’s moved in with her boyfriend Wil, and is waiting patiently for her father to retire so she can take over the running of the family café.

But when her father blindsides her by handing the café to her older brother Nick, and she suspects Wil might be cheating on her, Demi’s five-year plan crumbles like crostoli.

Determined to get things back on track, Demi travels to Italy to learn more about her Italian heritage, and to give her and Wil some much-needed space. And also in the hope that while she’s away, her father will come to his senses.

But her travels don’t go to plan either. Long-held family feuds, a love triangle from the past, and an unexpected new friend in Leo, all come together to make Demi question everything – especially her five-year plan.

Will Demi get her plan back on track?

Or will she realise that sometimes fate has other ideas?

The Five Year Plan is contemporary women’s fiction novel with a touch of humour and a lot of heart. It will appeal to readers who want to be whisked away from their day to day life and immersed in a feel-good story of food, travel, and romance.

Review:

‘It’s cool to have someone to share this with. You know, it’s like all my dreams are coming true in one big hit. It hasn’t turned out as we’d envisaged in our five-year plan, but I think it’s turning out even better.’

The Five Year Plan is the second contemporary fiction title from Australian author Jodi Gibson. A story of life, plans, fate, choices, family, travel, food and love, The Five Year Plan is a feel-good novel that general fiction readers will lap up.

For thirty something Demi, life is all about making plans and looking to the future. Demi has her life set up exactly how she planned. With a boyfriend, a home and a secure job at her family’s café, the only thing left for Demi to achieve is running her family’s business. But Demi’s plans go by the wayside when she is issued with a huge shock. Demi has naturally assumed she will run her family’s café when the time is right, but when her father hands the café over to her big brother Nick, Demi is devastated. Things take a further tumble for Demi when she uncovers a secret involving her boyfriend Wil. These two unexpected situations force Demi to reassess her life. Despite these setbacks, Demi decides to seize the day and travel to a place she has longed to visit – Italy. Hoping to repair her broken heart and learn more about Italian cooking, Demi decides to put her personal life issues aside in this wonderful part of the world. After the initial excitement of being in a different country wears off Demi is confronted with further problems. Demi becomes embroiled in a family fight and she experiences issues in the love department. But Demi’s saving grace comes in the form of Leo, a new friend who proves to her that she can change her set plans for the future. Will Demi embrace all that life throws at her?

Contemporary women’s fiction novelist Jodi Gibson makes a return to the publishing scene after her 2019 release The Memories We Hide with a fresh new title. The Five Year Plan is a family drama with a whole lot of romance and some Italian cooking adventures thrown in for good measure. Jodi Gibson’s latest is a light, zesty and heartwarming read.

In these uncertain times, any chance to partake in a spot of creative page-based travel is a welcome activity. The Five Year Plan thanks to author Jodi Gibson allowed me to indulge in a spot of armchair travel to Melbourne and Italy. Both these locations are appealing destinations and Gibson presents each location stage extremely well. The generous food, cooking and cultural sequences featured in The Five Year Plan provides plenty of interest to this appealing tale. I’m sure food lovers and those who have a weakness for anything Italian will adore The Five Year Plan.

Gibson’s characterisation is solid and I enjoyed observing the lead protagonist’s growth process. Demi is issued with more than a few curveballs as the story unfolds, but she takes it in her stride and she gracefully resets her life with a changed mindset. In terms of side cast members, Gibson illuminates her new novel with a number of colourful supporting protagonists. I enjoyed the interactions and dialogue exchanges between the cast of The Five Year Plan. I did find some choices, decisions and movements the characters of this story made didn’t always align with my own thoughts. This conflict area did put me at odds, but I was still invested in this story until the end.

In terms of romance, if you enjoy a whirlwind style love adventure, The Five Year Plan will definitely appeal. Leo was a great male love interest and he is matched well to Demi. I would have liked slightly more development and expansion of this love story but The Five Year Plan represents a sweet tale of embracing unexpected life plans. There are some predictable elements present in The Five Year Plan and Gibson wraps this one up nicely, ensuring that the parting message of going with what life throws at you is a concept we can all relate to.

A romantic journey with plenty of family turmoil and personal choices, The Five Year Plan is a pleasant read for fans of contemporary fiction.

The Five Year Plan by Jodi Gibson was published on 7th September 2021. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

To learn more about the author of The Five Year Plan, Jodi Gibson, visit here.

*I wish to thank the author, Jodi Gibson, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Five Year Plan is book #86 of the 2021 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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