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The Change by Kirsten Miller

Magical realism

The Change

by Kirsten Miller

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Quick Take

When three women suddenly get spooky powers, they do what must be done—solve crime and exact revenge on the patriarchy.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, 400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Female_Friendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Movieish

    Movieish

Synopsis

In the Long Island oceanfront community of Mattauk, three different women discover that midlife changes bring a whole new type of empowerment…

After Nessa James’s husband dies and her twin daughters leave for college, she’s left all alone in a trim white house not far from the ocean. In the quiet of her late forties, the former nurse begins to hear voices. It doesn’t take long for Nessa to realize that the voices calling out to her belong to the dead—a gift she’s inherited from her grandmother, which comes with special responsibilities.

On the cusp of 50, suave advertising director Harriett Osborne has just witnessed the implosion of her lucrative career and her marriage. She hasn’t left her house in months, and from the outside, it appears as if she and her garden have both gone to seed. But Harriett’s life is far from over—in fact, she’s undergone a stunning and very welcome metamorphosis.

Ambitious former executive Jo Levison has spent thirty long years at war with her body. The free-floating rage and hot flashes that arrive with the beginning of menopause feel like the very last straw—until she realizes she has the ability to channel them, and finally comes into her power.

Guided by voices only Nessa can hear, the trio of women discover a teenage girl whose body was abandoned beside a remote beach. The police have written the victim off as a drug-addicted sex worker, but the women refuse to buy into the official narrative. Their investigation into the girl’s murder leads to more bodies, and to the town’s most exclusive and isolated enclave, a world of stupendous wealth where the rules don’t apply. With their newfound powers, Jo, Nessa, and Harriett will take matters into their own hands…

Why I love it

Set in Mattauk, a Long Island oceanfront village, Kirsten Miller’s The Change features an eccentric cast of characters. Three women—Harriett, Jo, and Nessa—are each embroiled in their own midlife crisis. But pity them not: these women might have a slew of problems, but they’ve also stumbled on a few unexpected…powers.

It’s impossible not to find this book relatable. Who among us doesn’t have experience with stalled careers, rocky marriages, hot flashes, and wrinkly skin? The Change is a (sometimes comical) reminder that as the years go by, many of us deal with the same chaos. But we have each other, do we not?

This brings me to my next point: The Change is empowering and deliciously feminist. At every turn, we see women banding together in hilarious yet poignant ways. Whether challenging their husbands or the patriarchal systems at large, Harriett, Jo, and Nessa are a refreshing trio. These women aren’t the complacent sort; they’ve got scores to settle, after all.

Miller’s prose is confident and unapologetic, not unlike the three women in this story. The Change is a domestic, witchy drama that will have you entranced from page one. Refreshingly unique in its premise, it’s also a playful read, perfect for a beachy summer vacation with your best girlfriends—and a few herbal cocktails, too. Mint mojito, anyone?

Magical realism
The Book of Doors
A Short Walk Through a Wide World
The Astonishing Color of After
The Dinner List
Nothing to See Here
Magical realism
View all
The Book of Doors
A Short Walk Through a Wide World
The Astonishing Color of After
The Dinner List
Nothing to See Here