Discovering the truth of our hearts

A review of Rebecca Searle’s novel In Five Years

Editor’s note: This article contains many spoilers for the 2020 novel In Five Years. 

In Five Years by Rebecca Searle is a novel about confronting the reality of your life and finding the bravery to change it amidst grief, hope and loss. 

The plot 

In Five Years follows the story of Dannie, a high-achieving lawyer in New York City who has her entire life precisely planned out down to the man she wants to marry. On the night of her engagement, Dannie falls asleep and wakes up five years into the future beside a man she has never met before. The experience she has with him feels like something she has never encountered and causes her to question her bland, pre-determined reality upon waking up. 

Later, when Dannie’s best friend Bella invites her on a double date, she never imagines it would be Aaron, the man from her dream, who shows up as her friend’s date. Dannie is jarred into reality and forced to confront the fact she isn’t truly in love with her fiancé; they don’t share the kind of love she witnesses between Bella and Aaron. Scared of her own desire for something more, Dannie attempts to reignite a flame with her fiancé that they both know has never been there in the first place; Dannie simply settled for the man who best fit with her plan.  

Then, another shock to Dannie’s perfect plan happens: Bella is diagnosed with terminal cancer. Before passing away, Bella urges Dannie to seek genuine love and never settle. The book closes with Dannie’s dream coming to pass. Aaron and Dannie spend a night together, united in their grief and intense love for Bella, not in love with each other as it had appeared in the dream. Bella taught both Dannie and Aaron to open their hearts for more. Dannie finally realizes she is capable of true love because that is how she loved Bella. 

Discovering what matters 

In Five Years is a story about friendship and how the people closest to us can sometimes see us better than we see ourselves. Dannie’s story is an important read for anyone who has an infallible plan, a life with all the details laid out seamlessly. Dannie was content, but not truly happy. Through Bella’s example and advice, she learned there’s nothing wrong with changing what she once thought she wanted, evolving into a more genuine version of herself and following her heart. 

In Five Years demonstrates the importance of following your intuition, of trusting the voice inside of you saying your life needs transformation. Dannie’s experience was radical; not everyone has prophetic dreams. However, the dream only unearthed the truth beneath her stubborn persona, the truth that was already there.  

In Five Years is a must read for all perfectionists and planners. It is a call to re-evaluate what is truly important in life: friends, family and genuine love. The dream Dannie has forces her to confront this truth and acknowledge there is more to life than her faultless plan, and it is through her love with Bella this is fully realized. Dannie’s story urges us to listen to the inner desires urging us in new directions. Sometimes our friends can see these desires before we do. Chances are the intuition you feel will bring authentic meaning and love into your life. 

In Five Years by Rebecca Searle is a great read about friendship, discovering yourself and following your heart. (Art by Jorge Magarido on Blush)

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