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The Big Five O

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The Big FIVE O
Four friends… one VERY big birthday

While four 49 year olds are planning a party their seaside town will never forget, they also have more on their minds than canapés and balloons for their half-century…
Empty-nester Charlotte is worried what her husband might be up to.
Single mother Roz fears that her teenage daughter will discover how she pays the bills.
Businesswoman Fay brags about her no-strings toy boy but hides the truth behind her divorce. 
Singleton Sherie’s cat is the only male in her life who ever stays around. Or is he?
They’re all keeping secrets but as the big birthday looms, the beans are about to be spilt, and one of them is going to need her friends more than ever…

286 pages, Kindle Edition

Published July 5, 2019

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About the author

Jane Wenham-Jones

33 books40 followers
Jane Wenham-Jones is the author of six novels – her latest is The Big Five O – and three non-fiction books. Wannabe a Writer? is a humorous look at the trials and tribulations of becoming a scribe and Wannabe a Writer We've Heard Of? is a how-to on PR and self-promotion. 100 Ways to Fight the Flab (and still have wine and chocolate) is full of useful tips to combat Writer's Bottom - an occupational hazard often encountered after reading the first two! Jane has also contributed to several short story anthologies and two cookery books, the latter being a particular achievement since she barely knows where the kitchen is. As a freelance journalist, she has had numerous short stories and articles published in women’s magazines and the national press and is the agony aunt for Writing Magazine. Jane has appeared on a variety of TV shows – from Ready, Steady, Cook to The Politics Show - and dozens of radio programmes. As an interviewer she has "been in conversation with" hundreds of big-name authors and celebrities, has presented the Romantic Novel of the Year awards for the past nine years and is regularly booked as an after-dinner speaker.

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5 stars
484 (34%)
4 stars
524 (37%)
3 stars
305 (21%)
2 stars
58 (4%)
1 star
29 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 87 reviews
Profile Image for Bookread2day.
2,193 reviews63 followers
April 28, 2021
I really enjoyed The Big Five O .
Charlotte, Fay, Sherie and Roz are going to have a joint 50th birthday party, that was Charlotte's idea, any excuse for a party. Don’t we all just like parties? Although their birthday’s are in different months wide apart, Charlotte, thinks it’s a fabulous idea for all them to have a joint party. It’s Charlotte's birthday in May, Roz was in late June. Fay's birthday wasn't until August and Sherie was late September. I give full credit to author Jane Wenham-Jones as she is always so clever to paint a picture where each character of women are all very different, and such a joy to read about.

I liked reading about these characters as it amazes me how author Jane comes up a bright idea about the background of each. I didn’t have a favourite woman character that I adored, as I loved reading about them all.

Charlotte always seemed to have just landed a lump of money. Sherie is an art consultant. Fay with a removal business and Ros is a single mother.

The story spices up as they are all keeping secrets. Oh I do love when secrets are hidden in the plot.

You know it doesn’t matter what age you are, The Big Five O can be read by any women of any age.
Profile Image for Dawn.
998 reviews17 followers
July 11, 2019
Roz, Charlotte, Fay and Sherie are all turning 50 and plan a massive party. While their friendship holds them together there are just some things they haven’t shared but time will soon reveal those secrets.

This was such a feel good book and I really enjoyed it. Thank you to netgalley and the publishers for this arc in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Shalini.
2,493 reviews198 followers
August 17, 2019
Friendships and secrets always get my attention in a book. 4 best friends approaching their 50th birthday soon decided to have a party. But even life long friendships always have those tiny little secrets that you never wanna tell each other. These women did too. And one of them had a deadly secret. Faye, Charlotte, Sherie, Roz were the best of friends, but each had a life a bit separate from each other. Some were secretive, some open.

My first book by Jane Wenham-Jones, this book captured me by its sweet premise. The women were varied in nature, but warm with each other. Their men may not have been loyal, but they were committed to each other. They were both believable and likable.

I did have problems in keeping them in line in my mind initially, but as the book progressed, their personalities too blossomed.
The book was humorous at some points, and warm at most. The story was both inspiring and uplifting and had me turning its pages till I got to the end.

A sweet read, I must say!!
August 13, 2019
A newbie experience author for me but with a fantastic feel good uplifting vibe, I really enjoyed the story especially the range of the characters personalities.

Roz, Charlotte, Fay and Sherie are four best friends who are all about to share a huge milestone of turning 50 soon. In these years of friendship though some secrets have been kept which are soon to be discovered and revealed.

Will there relationships and friendships be tested when all is revealed or can they work through what has been hidden?

A great summer find and read ahead.

Profile Image for Sue Wallace .
5,738 reviews55 followers
September 11, 2019
The big five-O by Jane Wenham-Jones.
A lovely light hearted read. Loved reading about Charlotte Fay Sherie and Roz. Bought a few tears as well. Recommended. 5*.
Profile Image for Jenny C.
122 reviews4 followers
August 26, 2019
A positive book about friendship and secrets. This follows 4 friends, who are nearing their 50th birthdays, on the run up to a party they are planning to celebrate it. Their stories are intertwined and there are several cliffhangers in the book, one of them is ill, but you don’t find out who til the end. Although I liked the premise, I found some of the characters hard to like, and felt that their friendships were not as real or as close as first expected. Because of this, in some parts I found the book hard going as I could not properly empathise or identify with the characters. A little more depth and kindness may have added more enjoyment for me. I will try more of the author’s books as I did enjoy her style of writing.
I was kindly gifted this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Monica Mac.
1,343 reviews18 followers
August 24, 2019
I enjoyed this book about four ladies nearing the big five-oh and all very different. There was a lot of material to work with here and it took me a little while to get it straight, who was who.

The ladies certainly had a lot going on, in one way or another! Charlotte, struggling as an empty-nester; Fay, the tough businesswoman who didn't know how to relax; Roz, the single mum who was desperate to earn a bit more money but was she doing the right thing? and then there was Sherie, who's closest relationship was with her cat.

I found some of the scenarios a bit stereotypical but all in all, this was a good book, and the various scenarios well handled. I think I would have liked it just a little more if someone in the story had been happy to be single. It was nice that some of the characters found unexpected love, but not everyone is going to be paired up and it would be good to see a character in a book being perfectly ok with that too.

4 stars from me.
Profile Image for Kim.
341 reviews3 followers
October 31, 2019
et in Broadstairs four friends, Fay, Charlotte, Roz and Sherie are fast approaching their 50th birthdays and are arranging a great party. They all come from different walks of life but all seem to be carrying a secret from each other.
I found the characters a little confusing to work out It did, however, have me smiling at some of the situations and scenarios. and weepy at others. It's not a bad book, worth a read if you haven't anything else in the offing but not one I will be looking out to read from this author again.
Profile Image for Sharon.
167 reviews12 followers
September 2, 2019
I was keen to read this book because I was 50 this year too. It was such a great book. I loved reading about Charlotte, Roz, Fay & Sherie & learning about all their secrets. I must admit I did shed a tear or two towards the end as all their secrets came out. Would love to read a sequel about what happens to them all next.
158 reviews
November 24, 2019
Thank you to Netgalley for a pre publication copy. In return for an honest review #thebigfiveo #netgalley

Roz, Sherie, Charlotte and Fay are four best friends who turn The big five O within the same year. Between them they are setting up anjoint birthday party for all of their friends, families and loved ones. However will they all make it to the party? And is everything as it seems on the surface or is their deeply ingrained secrets?

The cover of this book enticed me in with the four illustrated (my favourite type of cover) ladies partying about a table. It made me know that this would be a fun read.

Once opening the book it is a page turner. To the point where instead of reading it quickly i saved the last chapter for the next day because i didnt wanr it to end.

Each character had their own secrets which they were keeping from each other. Therefore it made you feel like you were the only person who knew. Something which i felt made the book very special.

Sheries cancer diagnosis was kept secret until the end. Their were small chapters throughout which went through her appointments and diagnosis. Small hints were made throughout that threw me off the scent and made me think it was Fay. The author even added in Sheries argument with Nate just before she went off somewhere making you think that was rhe reason why she'd left and not that she was having her surgery. Until it all came out right at the end. The author did this fantastically and it added suspense.

Although their are some emotional subjects included in this book such as cancer, affairs and single parenthood. I do not feel this takes away from the fun feel of the book.

I would love a follow on book in this series regarding how the story progresses with their new loves and now all the secrets are out.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
32 reviews2 followers
August 24, 2019

I absolutely devoured this book!

A group of women all approaching their 50th birthdays decide to throw a massive party. Each of the friends are different, with their own secrets and stories going on throughout the book. Being a woman in her mid forties I can really appreciate the feelings and struggles that each of the women go through. Dealing with infidelity, illness, lack of money and loss to name but a few. The characters are written in such a detailed way that you can’t help but find a piece of yourself in each and every one of them. They are well rounded, likeable but still flawed. The lovely way their stories weave round each other had me desperate to get back to my kindle! Jane Wenham-Jones has a fabulous way of making me laugh out loud and it certainly made me think about a possible career change if I was ever brave enough!

I do hope that there will be a sequel as I can’t wait to read about the further exploits of the ladies, thank you for a fabulous book.
174 reviews2 followers
July 10, 2019
This book tells the story of four good friends all approaching 50 and organising a joint birthday party.
We learn the lives of all 4 women, their working background alongside their relationships. The characters are extremely easy to relate to and very likable.
In the background is a running storyline around one of the characters, not identified until the end, who is keeping a secret around her health. This was dealt with sensitively but demonstrated a woman's strength al9ngside the idea that she felt this was something she needed to face alone.
A feel good book, with humour, easily relatable.
I would recommend this read.
617 reviews9 followers
August 12, 2019
I love a book with older characters - I'm getting up there so I love to be able to relate.. I love books with strong friendships - it helps me strengthen my own. For the most part, I loved Fay ad Roz - their spunk and situations were hysterical - completely relatable. Charlotte was a smidge annoying with the drinking and accusing her husband of the affair, but I get it.. Sharie, on the other hand, was the most frustrating - too stereotypical with the devotion to her cat, too obsessed with getting older, and not happy enough with who she was as a person but this is a great summer beach read - light, fluffy and touching.
Profile Image for Rachel.
579 reviews20 followers
September 16, 2019
The Big Five-O follows 4 friends, all coming up to their 50th birthday and a big birthday bash is being planned. The friends are; Charlotte, a devoted mother and wife but struggling with the fact her daughter has left home for Uni. Fay, a successful businesswoman, no children and has a toyboy, Sherie is single but loves her cat and Roz is a single mum struggling to make ends meet. All of these ladies have secrets.
Throughout the book we find out more and more about each character, the secrets they are keeping although one secret is not revealed until near the end of the book, you will understand why as you read it.
This book had me laughing in places, anxious in others and sad in places too. I really liked the writing style and Jane Wenham-Jones wrote a fantastic book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and will definitely lookout for more from her in the future.
145 reviews5 followers
September 19, 2019
Four friends are going to be 50 and are planning a big party in Jane Wenham-Jones The Big Five-O. They live in the seaside town of Broadstairs - Charlotte, Roz, Fay and Sherrie.

Charlotte thinks her husband may be having an affair, Roz is a single parent who is struggling financially, Fay is loving life as a divorced woman having a fling with a much younger man and finally Sherie is single and lives alone with her cat.

This light-hearted book took a while to get into but as the characters developed and the relationships between them unfolded it grew on me and I found it an enjoyable read. There is a serious note to the story and it unfolds cleverly to keep the reader guessing. 4 stars from me - funny in parts and serious in others - a nice light read.
Profile Image for Amanda.
25 reviews5 followers
January 20, 2020
Not a book of my usual reading genre but I was pleasantly surprised as the pace and characters kept me turning the pages.
Each character had their own story to tell and develop without getting too intense. This kept the momentum light and not too serious for what I would call a "coffee and an free hour" book. A pick up and read but quite easy to put down and return to if needed.
Following four friends planning a joint 50th Birthday celebration whilst juggling their everyday lives at the same time.
The author keeps it fairly balanced and gives each character chance to develop and reveals their links to everyone else without rushing.
Profile Image for Sharon Lance.
87 reviews3 followers
November 13, 2020
Truly inspirational!

I loved this story from start to finish! I ended it with a lot of tears in my eyes for mixed reasons lol. All of the characters were brought to life in a well defined way and I loved them all! The mystery that ran through the most of the book was very cleverly executed in my personal opinion.. I kept thinking that I knew who it was but then I read something that made me wonder if it was somebody else! Wonderful storytelling - this author comes highly recommended from me. Thank you Jane, you have made me feel a little bit better about becoming the Big 5 0 in just over a year to come. 5*
9,461 reviews83 followers
July 1, 2019
A fun read about four women staring down the barrel of one of THOSE birthdays! All four- Charlotte, Roz, Fay, and Sherie- have an issue they don't necessarily want to deal with but which is hanging over their head. Yes they each have a secret but they also have each other. That's what made this a good read- it's a novel of how we can help our friends and make everyone's lives easier. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's light, it's funny, it's got a bit of a serious cant in spots, and all in all, you will root for these women.
Profile Image for Rachel Chambers.
186 reviews5 followers
July 2, 2019
What a wonderfully uplifting book!

Four friends, Charlotte, Roz Fay and Sherie are about to turn 50 and to mark the occasion are organizing a fabulous party. The book focuses on each of their personal lives and despite giving each other the impression they are all fine they are all struggling in some way. One of the ladies also discovers a lump in her breast but we do not know who until the end of the book.

This book was funny, sad and inspiring and proves that it is never too late to live your best life. Ideal beach reading. Book in one hand and cocktail in the other!
241 reviews6 followers
August 24, 2019
I am the big 51! Could I relate? With some of it, yes. It romped along with more lows than highs, I have to say, but it got there in the end.
The lows - insecurities, low self esteem, health issues, relationships, those with children and those without. It was all there.
The highs - realisation!
You can accept it and enter the next chapter anew or let it defeat you. Personally 40 was harder for me. Another decade older and making memories all the same. There is life after 30, 40, 50 and beyond! You better believe it as no one else can do it for you!
An easy read. I enjoyed it.
Profile Image for Mary   Beth.
206 reviews36 followers
December 10, 2019
A wonderful light hearted story about four friends turning 50. Though there were some serious parts most of this story is light, fun and fast paced. As the characters developed throughout the book it became harder to put down and the characters are relatable which makes this book even more enjoyable. After reading this book I will be looking for more books by Jane Wenham-Jones. I am grateful to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read an ARC of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for Di McLean.
285 reviews4 followers
September 7, 2021
First time I’ve read anything from this author.
This is an easygoing read about four friends all close to hitting fifty, it’s not deep and meaningful but it is a fun read and a thoughtful study of friendship. This group of friends have known each other for some time now however it appears they don’t know each other as well as they think, many of them assuming the others have a far more ideal life than their own.
As much as I enjoyed the book. I’ve given it 3 stars as I thought it was a slow starter then felt rushed at the end.
530 reviews18 followers
June 27, 2019
A lovely, lively humerous look at life of the 50 year old woman!
Four friends aged 49 are planning a big five o party, this book shows the trials and tribulations they encounter along the way and the secrets that they have each been hiding from each other! Very funny and easy to relate to particularly as I am very nearly 59 myself! Good insight into how women’s minds work and quite thought provoking!
Thank you net galley for this early read which has had me laughing out loud at times!
Profile Image for Annarella.
10.4k reviews101 followers
July 7, 2019
I'm happy I found this book that talks about women in my age bracket, real women with problems you can relate.
It's engrossing, fun to read, moving and heartwarming.
The cast of characters is relatable and fleshed out, the setting interesting and the plot keeps you hooked till the last page.
It's the first book I read by this author and it won't surely be the last.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Profile Image for Laura.
185 reviews
August 18, 2019
Four best friends are approaching their 50th birthdays and each one has been keeping a secret. The cats are are about to be let out of the bags..... What will happen when they spill the beans and will their friendships be tested?

This is the first book I've read by Jane Wenham-Jones but it certainly won't be the last. I liked her style of writing and enjoyed this book immensely. It is a real feel good book with a plot that kept me entertained throughout. 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for chels marieantoinette.
500 reviews4 followers
August 18, 2019
This book was REALLY cute. Fast-paced with a lot going on, which made for a great, quick read. There was a bit of mystery and romance and quite a lot of depth, actually, with illnesses, addictions, financial issues, etc... which was a pleasant surprise. Great, really fun dialogue amongst this group of empowered female friends. Anyone can find a character to relate to- if not more than one. I’d recommend this to any of my girlfriends (and their mothers). An adorable book.
Profile Image for Dawn Brookes.
Author 55 books283 followers
September 18, 2019
An enjoyable holiday read for me. This book was about friendships with a bit of romance mixed in. The four friends are planning a party to celebrate their big birthdays as they will all be 50 in the same year. Despite knowing each other well, they each have their secrets which come out as the book progresses. I liked the character development as the story went along and even with the challenges it was a feel-good book.
Profile Image for Chris Tunnicliffe.
189 reviews4 followers
September 23, 2019
four friends approaching their fiftieth birthdays decide to celebrate together. As the date approaches we find they all have problems that make celebrating hard. One thinks her husband is having an affair,another cant afford the costs, one is facing a big health issue. At times this book is funny at times heartbreaking but in the end friendship,love and loyalty overcomes all at the end of the day. A very good read.
Profile Image for Vivien Brown.
Author 4 books67 followers
July 19, 2019
I love books with a cast of female friends! And these four work so well together, each with their own problems, relationship woes and secrets. The author cleverly has us wondering which of the four is hiding her breast cancer fears from her friends, and I wrongly guessed more than once! A good solid feel-good read with the right ending for every character. I enjoyed it.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 87 reviews

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