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In this debut novel, Virginia Goodall sets a new course in life and love as she faces divorce, an empty nest and being laid off.

Virginia is with a friend in a Melbourne cafe, discussing how her life has changed. Her 20-year marriage is over, and she had to scale down to part-time work at a law firm to deal with the self-harming behavior of her high school–aged
daughter, Abbey. She recently had a positive encounter with Ariel, an Australia-based spiritual healer, while attending an international legal conference with Abbey and her son, Ben, in tow. Ariel soothes Abbey’s spirit and hints that Virginia needs healing, too. Virginia learns that Abbey wants to repeat her senior year as a boarder, which will make Virginia an empty nester and require additional funds. Worse still, she gets laid off. Virginia soon realizes that she’ll have to sell her beautiful bushland home and downsize to an apartment. Ariel suggests Virginia attend a spiritual retreat, and in the following months, Virginia learns to embrace a simpler, happier life with fewer possessions. She starts a new romance with Jeremy (met through Ariel) and a new career in international legal aid work, which includes a trip to Bhutan with Abbey. First-time novelist Edwards, an Australian with a legal background, brings some distinctive elements to the now very familiar narrative of New-Age journeying. She describes the natural beauty of Australia and Bhutan and also offers some welcome, rueful humor (Virginia calls her kids “free radicals,” a nickname “in honor of their highly reactive natures”). Edwards’ detailing of Virginia’s relationships with Abbey and her female friends is also strong. Oddly, the men in Virginia’s life remain a bit shadowy, with the ex barely mentioned and the romance with Jeremy surprisingly muted. Overall, however, Edwards has crafted a quite pleasant female-empowerment fantasy. New-Age–focused tale of a woman’s midlife transformation featuring peeks of humor and stunning locales.

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