In Twenty Years, by Allison Winn Scotch, is a reunion book. Bea was, and always will be, the matriarch of the group. Her death comes at time when the others have already drifted apart. Bringing them back together is her dying wish and it’s the only reason they come together after all those years. Bea asks, Bea gets. So much has happened to all of them in eighteen years. None of them are happy. A weekend spent together, Fourth of July weekend, what would have been Bea’s 40th birthday, involves a lot of soul-searching.
This author has done an amazing job with character building and that is one of the most important elements of a good book. Each person has something to face. We, as readers, are presented with all the facts- past, present, and maybe a hint at what the future holds. This is a feel good story that makes one want to turn back time with a group of friends. What doesn’t gel in this self-discovery journey is the outcome. It’s great to resolve past issues, but then what? Nothing irritates me more than reading a long novel, and then being left with lingering questions at the end. Readers read to become friends with the characters. To write a long diatribe about said characters and then not finish, or wrap up the end, is so not good. While I enjoyed the journey, and it was well written, I believe a little more time, and more pages, on the content would have been warranted.
Even the characters wondered why they were brought together after eighteen years when Bea told them it would be twenty, but alas that question was never adequately answered. The title is “In Twenty Years”.
Twenty years ago, six Penn students shared a house, naively certain that their friendships would endure—until the death of their ringleader and dear friend Bea splintered the group for good. Now, mostly estranged from one another, the remaining five reluctantly gather at that same house on the eve of what would have been Bea’s fortieth birthday.
But along with the return of the friends come old grudges, unrequited feelings, and buried secrets. Catherine, the CEO of a domestic empire, and Owen, a stay-at-home dad, were picture-perfect college sweethearts—but now teeter on the brink of disaster. Lindy, a well-known musician, is pushing middle age in an industry that’s all about youth and slowly self-destructing as she grapples with her own identity. Behind his smile, handsome plastic surgeon Colin harbors the heartbreaking truth about his own history with Bea. And Annie carefully curates her life on Instagram and Facebook, keeping up appearances so she doesn’t have to face the truth about her own empty reality.
Reunited in the place where so many dreams began, and bolstered by the hope of healing, each of them is forced to confront the past.