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on July 6, 2006
Jackie Laurens is newly divorced mother of two who is rapidly approaching forty. She's torn between the heartache of the way things used to be, the way life is now, and coming to terms that it'll never be the same again. Which completely stinks!

That is until Jackie's good friend Anne arranges a girls' trip to Hawaii to celebrate the big four-o. But fate steps in and Anne cancels at the last minute, leaving Jackie to decide if she'll take the leap of faith and travel alone or head back to her "safe" but slightly unhappy life.

Enter Kai--the oh-so-hot surfing instructor who is almost half of Jackie's age. Sure, protocol dictates and common rationale insist that Jackie stay away from this new man who makes her feel bold and beautiful. But Kai does what none of Jackie's friends could do: he challenges her to look at herself and life with a new set of eyes. As their relationship develops, Jackie's torn between wanting the newer, sexier, I-can-do-anything life that she develops with Kai in Hawaii against the traditional single mom life she leads in Seattle.

What makes this book truly enjoyable isn't just the setting (who doesn't love Hawaii?), and characters (good friends with well-meaning intentions, and a hunky surfer dude to boot!), it is the way Porter allowed her protagonist, Jackie Laurens, to suffer with the challenges of her life.

Sure this could've been a glossy, mid-life crisis book, but instead the author allows her protagonist to shine by way of heartache and change. Life isn't always easy, sometimes it's like a bag of garbage, filled with day-old decisions, moldy leftovers from days gone by and smelly indescribable emotions that leave us wanting newer, fresher, recognizable produce for our lives.

If you're hungry for a great read, where the heroine isn't Miss-I-can-do-it-all-with-a-smile-on-my-face-just-to-spite-my-ex sort of book, then I suggest diving into Flirting with Forty. You'll be glad you did.
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on July 1, 2006
Jackie Laurens's life is as dreary as the rain that gives her beloved Seattle its soggy reputation. In the past year, her divorce and the required shuffling of two young children is painful all around. As her fortieth birthday approaches, she is constantly reminded of the social chasm between single parents and married families. When a close friend invites her to go to Hawaii, Jackie hesitantly agrees. She wonders if she'll find peace in the mini-vacation and decides to go, even though her friend backs out.

Alone in the Aloha State, Jackie finds much more than peace when she meets Kai, the gorgeous surfing instructor ten years her junior. A fiery affair opens Jackie's eyes to the meaning of happiness. Although the romance was meant to be short-lived, she can't forget the sun-kissed hunk who made her feel alive. She juggles her responsibilities as a mother and self-made businesswoman, all the while pining for her distant surfer.

Jackie is forced to weigh her happiness against the necessity for mature, adult life choices. None of her friends approve of her obsession with Kai. Her ex-husband refuses to take her feelings seriously. Her two children grow resentful of the changes they see in their mother. Eventually, Jackie must decide if her romance with Kai is worth the steep price.

With hip, intuitive grace, author Jane Porter shines. She goes beyond showing and makes the reader understand Jackie's story. Although Jackie seems to whine about being "too old" or "too afraid" more than is necessary, the language used is eloquent, insightful, and often witty. In one case, Jackie's narration reads: "I do remember what it was like in those early years when Daniel and I struggled... Then baby Jessica came, and it was William and Jessie and me killing time every day until Daddy came home from work."

It would have been nice to see more development of Kai's character, since he is so vital to this story. Although he is meant to be a bit mysterious, the reader doesn't get to see much deeper than the happy-go-lucky beach-boy lover. It is, perhaps, disturbing--even dangerous--that Jackie doesn't learn more about him before making certain decisions concerning their relationship.

Most women will find something to identify with in Flirting with Forty. Those who don't will, through Jackie, find their eyes opened to the feelings and issues faced by women they know and love.

Reviewed by Christina Wantz Fixemer


4 1/2-Books (5-Stars for Amazon)
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on July 25, 2006
I've been waiting for this book for a long time. I read an excerpt back in May and felt a strong affinity with Jackie Lauren's character. Mid-July seemed like a very long time to wait for the book to come out... But it was worth it. This book is fabulous.

FLIRTING WITH FORTY is a story about Jackie Laurens, a recently divorced, mother of two who is struggling with all the changes in her life. With her 40th birthday looming, Jackie's feeling sad and one of her best friends, Anne, convinces her the best way to celebrate is by taking a trip to Hawaii together. Unfortunately, at the last minute, Anne can't make it so Jackie decides to go on by herself. It's not long before she sets eyes on Kai, a gorgeous and much younger surf instructor and it's instant attraction for both of them. What woman could possibly resist a hard muscular body bronzed by the sun? Yum. Kai and Jackie have a wild, passionate fling but she can't forget this is just a holiday and she'll have to go home eventually. Will she be able to forget him? And even if she was daring enough to want more and pursue a relationship with him, what would people think and how could their feelings survive the distance? After all, he's younger than her and there are thousands of miles separating them.

I think every woman could find something to relate to in this story - whether it's relationships, friendship, being a mother, falling in love, or battling her conscience and the unwritten laws of society. As women we give up so much in the course of our lives, as we grow from being little girls to young women falling in love, getting married, becoming a mother and nurturing the ones we love. Somewhere along the way we lose a part of ourselves that wanted more than to be just a mother and wife.

Jane Porter's FLIRTING WITH FORTY is a book that shows us "wanting more" for ourselves isn't necessarily selfish or wrong.

If you pick up this book to read, I can promise you, the journey with Jackie will make you laugh and cry and appreciate your friends and relationships all the more. A wonderful book that's just perfect for the beach this summer!
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on July 27, 2006
A very moving and compelling story, FLIRTING WITH FORTY is a book that belongs on every woman's keeper shelf. I found so much to relate to in this book. It was almost as if the author had reached into my heart and read all my doubts, fears and thoughts. I love how the book focuses on friendships and how much we, as women, are influenced by society. I think friendship is a very important factor in life and this book portrays relationships between women beautifully. And a sexy hunk just adds to the fun too!
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on July 30, 2006
I first read excerpts of "Flirting with Forty" in the June-August Redbook magazine. I was hooked I had to find out what happened to Jackie. I am a Christian woman in a very happy marriage, but I know that there are far too many woman out there who are not. I found myself relating to Jackie's unconscious "need to please everyone" attitude. Today I start standing up for what I want in life. I say way to go Jackie and Jane Porter for a great novel on life and love in today's world!
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on August 5, 2006
As others have done, I started this story in Redbook magazine. Fortunately, I had all 3 issues sitting here and was able to read them all at once. But it definitely captured my interest and I went out and bought the book to read the entire story. And I'm sure glad I did.

Having been divorced at 39 and alone on my 40th birthday, I could identify with Jack and her issues of that age, aloneness and being a single mom with little self-esteem. Looking back, I should have gone to Hawaii. I was cheering her on through her "affair" with beach bum/surfer Kai.I loved it----she needed that fun in her life but it did cause the guilt to surface big time. Very typical of a single mom who was "beaten" down by her ex. And he continued to anger her and surface the guilt--as many ex-husbands are known to do.

I love the ending of the book-------a big surprise to me, however. Now I wonder-----if there were to be a sequel, how would that go??

This was a fun,delightful read----perfect for a summer's day of pure enjoyment. Most women can identify with her and wish they had had that special moment in the islands with their fantasy hard body "boy toy"---especially if he turned out to be the love of her life.

Enjoy the chick lit and just dream away.
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on July 1, 2006
Flirting with Forty is a must read for all women whether single or in a relationship as one learns though the main character's journey to "be all that you can be". It's a story so profound it will have you laughing and crying at the same time. It's a story of dreams, hope and learning to be comfortable with one's self.

Once I began the journey with Jackie the main character, I honestly couldn't put this book down. I saw so much of myself in this woman; as a mother, as a wife and as a person. Just reading the story made me want to want more for me!

As the character Jackie points out sometimes we loose ourselves along the way. We get so caught up in life that we loose ourselves and we blindly accept fate. So, what's wrong with taking a chance, having an adventure, discovering your self, receiving pleasure? Absolutely nothing!

This book is not just about falling in love; it's about relationships, friendships and finding the courage to grow. As Jane points out, "growing up doesn't have to mean growing old". Amen

I loved Jane's The Frog Prince her first endeavor in women's fiction and anxiously waited for Flirting with Forty. Again, Jane Porter has outdone herself with this incredible heartwarming story. Reading it has personally given me the courage to begin anew, to explore options and yes, to encourage me "to be all that I can be"!

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VINE VOICEon August 16, 2006
This is Jane Porter's fresh follow-up to The Frog Prince - her second foray into chick lit. I enjoyed this book almost as much as The Frog Prince. It's the story of an older divorcee, Jackie, who finds herself reluctantly in the dating pool, saddled with stretch marks, two children (whom she loves, but they also stress her out), and a bunch of married friends who can't quite relate to her anymore.

One of them arranges to go to Hawaii with Jackie, but then backs out when her husband is sick, and Jackie goes to Hawaii alone. She's fending off bald, middle-aged men when a sexy surf instructor catches her eye. She ends up taking a lesson with him, and then they are navigating the difficult waters of dating long-distance...from Seattle to Hawaii.

I liked Jackie as a character..she had a fresh outlook and a lot of determination, even when her life was weighing her down. Parts of the book were depressing, but it was mostly enjoyable. If you enjoyed The Frog Prince, or romantic chick lit in general, you should pick this up.
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on August 3, 2006
Porter will win many hearts with this story. FLIRTING WITH FORTY is a richly compelling and moving novel that reaches into the core of the reader's heart and leaves it's mark. With an insightful plot that's well-crafted and characters who come across like very real people, you just can't lose with this novel. It is THE book for this summer.
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on December 27, 2012
This was a great book that makes me look forward to turning 40! Every woman knows how it feels to have her heart broken. I found myself rooting Jackie on as she set out alone on her vacation to Hawaii. When she unexpectedly met Kai and started her whirlwind romance I felt like I was a character in the book. This is a great novel that makes you believe that you can find love when you least expect it. Flirting with Forty is a feel good book that makes you wish there was a second book. I highly recommend this book!
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