Page Count 480
Publication date May 2022
Publisher William Morrow
-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 Harriet’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 Harriet will take matters into their own hands…
There’s a lot more focus on strong female characters in recent years but of all the novels I’ve read none nail it as perfectly as Miller does with The Change.
The premise of menopausal women tapping into a dormant power turns the tide of a historically taboo subject, giving a sense of achievement to an event our culture deems negative.
Jo, Nessa and Harriet forge an immediate bond, their friendship is undoubtedly the best part of this story. The unwavering trust and support shared between these three in a sisterhood that stands against the wrongs of men endeared me to each character in equal measure.
Miller writes The Change from the perspectives of women only. Whilst Jo, Nessa and Harriet take the lead for the majority there are additional snippets of other female characters with insights to the personal events that shaped them. Miller explores the reality of womanhood, menstruation and sexuality with a refreshing honesty, including LGBTQ and POC characters.
Whilst The Change focuses strongly on the wrongdoings of men, there are some good ones in the story! This isn’t an ‘all men are evil’ push and I’d encourage male readers to pick this up for insight into many daily challenges faced by women professionally and personally, I felt they were perfectly represented.
The mystery of the serial killer in Mattauk was believable, with all we’ve seen and heard of the wealthy in recent years and the restrictions on law enforcement I found this fictional story (magical power aside!) was plausible.
I highly recommend The Change to all readers and look forward to my next Miller read.