After high school, Eloise left her two best friends to go to culinary school in Europe and spend time working in French restaurants. After years away, she had to move back to Chicago to help care for her terminally ill father, leaving her restaurant job and her boyfriend behind. Eventually, she settled back in to a Midwestern life, taking a job as a personal chef. It's a good life. Eloise makes good money, enjoys spending time with her clients, and gets to test recipes in her spare time. She is still close with her mother, and she has an adorable fur baby to snuggle with.
But with her 40th birthday approaching, Eloise can't help but wonder if there's something missing, if she could be happier, if she should be doing more, if she should give love another try. Then the sudden loss of her high school English teacher, the woman who taught her to embrace all of herself and inspired some of her best friendships from high school, makes Eloise face all the feelings she's been burying since returning to the States. All the fear of rejection, the pain of being betrayed, the worry about not being enough--everything that she's been hiding behind. So when the memorial service brings her two high school friends back to her, the three of them decide it's time to make a change.
The three friends give themselves eight months to change their lives. Businesswoman bad-ass Lynne sets goals to put down some roots and create a home while expanding her business. Stay-at-home mom Teresa wants to get back out of the house and get a part-time job, find some volunteering opportunities, and take classes in money management. Meanwhile, Eloise is finally going to put together a book proposal for all those recipes she's been developing and, more importantly, she has to start dating again.
Changing your life isn't easy, and it doesn't take the three friends long to figure out just how challenging it is to face your fears and make big changes in life. Are their relationships strong enough to endure the tough times? Are the women themselves strong enough to do what it takes to change their lives and find the happiness and love they seek?
Stacy Ballis has taken these fabulous characters, mixed in a strong supporting cast of friends and family, let some powerful emotions simmer for a long time over low heat, and served up an amazing novel that is a feast. How to Change a Life is a journey of the struggle we all face when we ask if we'd rather stay safe where we are content or face our fears and reach for more. Filled with foodie fun, laughter, tears, surprises, and a little edible marijuana, this is a delectable treat for women everywhere.
Galleys for How to Change a Life were provided by Berkley Publishing Group through Net Galley.com, with many thanks.