Journalism and the environment are two of my favourite things – and I was lucky to be able to combine them as a career.
It is for that reason I have a rule about steering away from fiction featuring them. You know what it’s like when your job is on a tv show or in a book and you spend the whole time getting angry and picking holes in the narrative.
However, Carla Burgess wrote one of my favourite heroes (Sam in Marry Me Tomorrow) and because of that I was willing to give The Five Year Plan a go, despite its subject matter.
I’m so pleased I did because almost from the first paragraph, the warmth in this book seeps off the page. It’s like she injects a little bit of sunshine into every word – even ‘the’ and ‘it’.
And, I’m happy to report, the portrayal of being a journalist was pretty spot on – at least from my experience.
Here’s the blurb:
Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway.
Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up!
So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways…
Five years later, they meet again…
This book was just what I needed after reading a pretty heavy novel before it. It was like turning on a lamp in a dark room and making it all cosy.
It kicks off with an almost cinematic opening chapter, which was beautifully, breathtakingly done. Next comes the flashback and Carla put the “meat on the bone”, as we used to say in the news room (although as a vegetarian, I always found it a bit gross). I felt like I was falling in love with Aiden during a lovely summer by the river.
I don’t want to give anything away but my only quibble was with the ending. It felt like career girl Orla completely caved. There was no compromise, as I might have expected. Although maybe it’s because it’s too close to home – as a journalist passionate about journalism – and I’m transferring my feelings on to her? If you read it, journalist or not, I’d love to hear what you think.
That being said, Carla Burgess is still an author I’d break my own rules for and if you’re looking for a book to bring some light into your life, this is definitely one for you.
My rating: Four stars.
With thanks to HQ Digital (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.