ARC Review, Book Review

The Change by Kirsten Miller


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… 

I may be one of the few who did not care for this book. The story felt repetitious and too long. I do not mind long stories as long as the story keeps my interest and is going somewhere. For the pacing, it was sometimes too slow, but mostly, it was decent. I liked the way the author blended the paranormal with the real world, and there was enough to get a taste and make sense.

There are three major characters in this story: Nessa James, Jo Levison, and Harriett Osborne. Each one brings something different to the table. They were all written well for the story and their character arcs were great. Each one did change from the beginning to the end of the story in multiple ways, big and small.

My favorite is Nessa. Her determinedness kept my interest in wanting to find the killers. Her struggle with seeing the dead and feeling as if she was not worthy of her gift felt close to home (no, I cannot see dead people lol). In this story, I felt like Nessa was the most grounded out of the three. She may have been the quiet one, but she had a better head on her shoulders than the other two. Nessa could probably be the voice of reason out of the three.

Jo was someone who is strong and felt like the hot head. She opened a gym strictly for women and held different classes. I think this was the thing I liked most about Jo. She helped women by letting them come to a safe place and let off some stem. Everyone needs somewhere to go. The one thing I did not understand was what the point of her power. If the author explained it, I missed it. Out of the three, Jo was the muscle and what felt like the recruiter.

Harriett, I am not sure how I feel about this character. She felt like the leader with a hidden agenda. She became obsessed with plants in more ways than one. Which is cool because plenty of people, me included, are into herbology. This was a big part of her character I liked. What I did not like was her personality. I understand the reasonings behind Harriett’s change and the author did a great job capturing this.

What I did not care about was all the man bashing. I have never cared for bashing of all kinds. Having it a little here and there does not bother me. But in this story, it felt like it was constantly in every chapter. For myself, it gets tiresome and overly abundant. Now, I did like the whole women helping each other out, no matter their background. I think that should happen all the time in real life and not tearing each other down, especially when we get older.

Overall, it was difficult for me to rate this. There was still some curiousness how everything was going to come together, but that was the only reason that I held on. I was in a debate about finishing. I do not want this to scare people from reading this story. There are plenty who do, and my taste may not be the same as yours. If you are interested in women’s fiction, mystery, magic realism, paranormal, and contemporary fiction, this story can be for you.

*I received an ARC from NetGalley, and this is my honest opinion.

I give this book a 2/5

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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