Forty Things to do Before You're Forty - Alice Ross (2014)

Annie is in training for a marathon, after being urged by best friend Portia to devise a list of things to do before she turns 40. Portia believes her friend, who lives in the gatehouse to Portia's family manor in Yorkshire, is in a serious rut. With no time for a relationship, Annie runs a cake business and looks after her five-year-old daughter Sophie after partner Lance disappeared to Japan. Meanwhile, author Jake is headed to Buttersley Manor to write a murder-mystery. He's so good looking all the women in town are in a tither. But he certainly doesn't want anyone to find out he's actually a billionaire former fund manager who writes under a pen name. The story is less about a woman approaching her forties - as the title suggests - and more a romance. It's a light, easy read - and the story behind Jake's reclusiveness was interesting. There is a rather tenuous link to the 40 things list but it does come into play right at the end. Personally I think it would benefit from a title rename.

Forty Things To Do Before You Are Forty, by Alice Ross, is about a single mother about to reach the big 4-0. The summary says: "The truth is that Annie Richards is just too busy to fall in love! Running a successful cake-making business, acting as caretaker to grand country house, Buttersley, and not to mention single-handedly raising her five-year-old daughter is more than enough to keep Annie's (flour-dusted) hands full! So can someone please remind her why she agreed to train for a marathon as a '40 things to do before you're 40' pact with her same so-called best friend?! With every hour of day already taken up, the arrival of crime writer Jake O'Donnell at Buttersley shouldn't really have any impact on Annie's day-to-day life at all. There's definitely no time in her carefully scheduled day for daydreaming about drop-dead gorgeous authors. Is there? But between whipping up batches of her signature limoncello cupcakes, Annie realises that Jake, and his twinkling dark eyes, can't just be ticked off her mental to-do list as easily as she though. Especially when it seems that no. 40 on her list could be creating a truly decadent wedding cake - for her very own wedding..."

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