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Cathy Kelly's heartwarming new novel, THE YEAR THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING,  follows the lives of three women as they go through the most transformative years of their lives - starting from their birthdays! Now, Cathy shares her three most important birthdays with us.

Three most important birthdays in my life….

Writing about big birthdays makes you think…. In The Year That Changed Everything, Callie, Ginger and Sam hit 50, 30 and 50 and for me, my biggest birthdays were not quite the same!

Becoming thirteen was a big one. I was finally a teenager!  Exciting things would happen to me! Boys might notice me! I was now a member of the adult library!

Yes, this says it all.  Boys in those days tended not to notice quiet girls who walked around with books surgically attached to them. I did not suddenly look like Olivia Newton John – my heroine from Grease. I wanted a pair of those spray-on trousers and to be a wild girl and not always do my homework on time. Thirteen was the year this would happen!! Or…er, not. 

Thirteen turned out to be the same as twelve; boys were not suddenly flooding my home looking longingly at me; and as for being slender and fitting anything skin-tight – no. But I was still in the adult library. Which worked out pretty well in the end, right?

The year I turned thirty-seven was an enormous year for me. I was pregnant with twins for most of the year I was thirty-six and just a few months afterwards, I celebrated my birthday as a mother. Of twin sons. The most beautiful sons in the world. Not that I am biased. Obviously, I was sleep deprived, I knew nothing about motherhood and felt as if I was permanently bewildered. As soon as I learned one thing, my babies moved onto the next phase. Eeek. Colic kicked in.

It took about a week for me to figure out it WAS colic. One baby would wake up as soon as the other was asleep. Tiny baby clothes littered the house and the washing machine groaned with pain as it ran with yet another cycle.

For my birthday, myself and my husband went out to dinner. Dinner! Like grown ups with clothes – which still, weirdly didn’t fit properly even though the babies were out. How had nobody mentioned this? We were home in about an hour and a half. Exhaustion kicked in. I don’t think I even had dessert. Early parent-hood is like doing an Iron Man with no time off for injuries.

For my fortieth, I had a party but really, apart from seeing lots of lovely friends, it didn’t register. My fiftieth, now THAT registered, but in the nicest way. I was middle-aged. I was wise, I could wear purple, put on my mad Betsey Johnson flowery velvet coat (looks a lot like a dressing gown, to be honest) with the fluffy collar. Stomp around in my ancient biker boots. Dye my hair platinum. Say things I would never have said before. Become part of the #MeToo movement. 

Being fifty has negatives because my arthritis hurts and me, bendiest person ever, feels not so bendy, but I know a good blast of yoga will have me back on track. I am still full of enthusiasm. I am more me than ever before. I have wrinkles, need more time with the eyeliner and those Charlotte Tilbury cosmetics really  help. But I am me. Good birthday all round, I’d say.


  • The Year That Changed Evrything - Cathy Kelly

    The brilliantly heartwarming and life-affirming new novel from bestselling author Cathy Kelly. Three women celebrate their birthdays . . . 30. 40. 50. But their milestone birthdays mark the start of a year that will change everything . . . Ginger isn't spending her 30th the way she would have planned. Tonight might be the first night of the rest of her life - or a total disaster. Sam is finally pregnant after years of trying. When her waters break on the morning of her 40th birthday, she panics: forget labour, how is she going to be a mother? Callie is celebrating her 50th at a big party in her Dublin home. Then a knock at the door mid-party turns her perfect life upside down . . . Full of warmth and wisdom, this is a story about finding happiness on your own terms from international bestseller Cathy Kelly.

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