FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTURE

Dear Suse and Ella,
I have an amazing family and have always considered myself an optimist, a hard worker, a lover of learning, of philosophical thinking and of asking questions. I have recently come out of a difficult period in my life that lasted the better part of a decade. During those years I navigated feelings of guilt, failure, and the frustration of so many wasted years, that accompanied the ugly end of an unhappy marriage. Following this, I battled with the feelings of anger, grief, frustration, and fear that I was not making good use of my time on earth, that followed the untimely loss of a young and important family member.  Both of these events have changed me and my life.
Together these experiences have helped push me to be more open, to “put  myself out there”, to remember who I am and what I love, and to trust in life and love. As a result, I am newly married to a sweet and amazing man and we are hoping to start a family (something I have always wanted but had come to terms with the possibility I may not have). I am the happiest I have ever been in my adult life.
This year I am turning 40, and have just quit a job I’ve had for 10 years…which means I’ll have time to read! I am incredibly excited but, also somewhat nervous and wonder if you might prescribe something hopeful, inspiring and life affirming to help set my internal compass in the rightdirection for this new and exciting phase in my life.

With appreciation,
Forging A Bright New Future
Dear Forging and Bright,
We are filled with much heartwarming hope in hearing your story, and appreciate you posting it here on our site. It's really great that you are now experiencing a new beginning, with your sweet and amazing man, and thinking about starting a family. We have three books of new beginnings, which will speak to you from the experience of what you have been through, but nurture the new shoots of happiness that you are planting. Our first is the ever-optimistic and extremely heartening "The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim. One of our favourite prescriptions, this takes two women in their thirties who are bored of their husbands, to an enchanted seeming castle Italy, one spring..and a strange alchemy is worked there. This book can't fail but bring hope and affirmation of the rightness of romance to your heart. Then, we also feel  you simply must read To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee - which you will no doubt have already read, but revisit it now! As this is one of those books which sets your internal compass forever in the right direction, and as an example of parenting, it is unparallelled. Finally, Thomas Hardy could be the companion you need to show you the way forward for a woman who still has the courage to set sail into a new phase of her life, after overcoming vicissitudes. Bathsheba Everdene in Far From the Madding Crowd is your alter ego, we suggest; she has some tricky moments in her romantic journey, but she forges on and Gabriel Oak is a great male archetype in this gently dramatic novel. Read it, and take heart!
Yours,
Ella and Suse
We prescribe - The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

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A SLUG WITH VISIONS OF HUMANITYABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP ENDED, LEAVING SCARSADULT ACNEAFRAID OF FAILUREALCOHOLIC DAUGHTERALONE ON A WIDE, WIDE SEAAlways wanted to be a writerANOREXICANXIOUS ABOUT SINGLE FRIENDAT A FORK IN THE ROADAVID READER, LACKING BOOKBEREFT OF A CATBORED IN ALABAMABOTHERED AND BEWILDEREDBRAIN SHRINKING MOMMABROKENBROKEN HEARTBROKEN HEARTED - TORN BETWEEN MALE AND FEMALE BEST FRIENDSBROKEN UP WITH GIRLFRIEND; FEELING BURNT OUTCAN’T MOVE ONCANDIDA REVOLTAIRECan’t afford to go on holidayCAST ASIDECHEATEDCHRONIC PAINCOLD HANDS AND FEETCONCERNED ABOUT DAUGHTERCONFLICTED PARTNERSCRAVING FOOD CULTURECYNICAL STEPSONDAILY ABUSEDARK NIGHT OF THE SOULDEPRESSED AND UNABLE TO READDEPRESSED DURING CHRISTMAS, AND LONELY NOWDESPERATELY WANTON GIRLDIRECTIONLESSEASILY BORED WITH NOVELSEMOTIONALLY SABOTAGED BY MY MOTHEREMOTIONS IN EXTREMEEVER THE FRIEND AND NOT THE PARTNEREXTREME ANGER AND FRUSTRATIONFADING AWAYFALLEN OUT WITH MY FRIENDSFALLING IN LOVE WAY TOO FASTFAZED AND CONFLICTEDFEAR OF CONFRONTATIONFEAR OF GETTING OLDFERTILITY PROBLEMSFOMO (FEAR OF MISSING OUT)FORGING A BRIGHT NEW FUTUREFRIEND WHO HAS LOST A CHILD LATE IN PREGNANCYFRIENDS DAUGHTER LOST TO SUICIDEFrightened of lifeGAPING HOLEGetting over a break-upGIRL OF UNCERTAINTY, BOUND BY RULESGIRL WHO DOESN’T FIT INGRIPPED BY LOSSGUILTY FRIENDHOPELESSNESSHOUSE AND LIBRARY DESTROYED BY FIREI love music more than booksI no longer commute – and therefore I no longer readI PEEK AT THE END OF NOVELS BECAUSE I WORRY THE CHARACTER MIGHT NOT MAKE ITI wish I were famousIN MOURNING OVER LITERARY DEATHSINABILITY TO SIT STILL AND ANXIETYINCONSISTENT AND NON-STUDIOUS- BUT AMBITIOUS NONETHELESSINDECISIVEINSECUREINTERESTED IN EVERYTHING BUT ACHIEVING NOTHINGINVISIBLE WOMANITALIAN NOVEL CURESJILTED AND UNSUREJOB IN LIBRARY UNDER THREATKICKED IN THE HEADLEADENLIVING ON THE MARGINSLONE RANGERLONELY AND DEJECTEDLONELY IN LOVELONELY IN MONOTONOUS JOB, LOSING SANITYLOOKING FOR A SENSE OF PURPOSELOOKING FORWARDSLOSS OF A SISTERLOSTLOW WATTAGELOW-ENERGY PESSIMISMMAD SCIENTISTMARRIED TO A MAN, ATTRACTED TO WOMENMISSED THE BOATMISSING MY MOTHER-IN-LAWMUM GOING BACK TO WORKNEED TO LET GONEW CITY, NEW LIFE -BOOKS FOR 12 YEAR OLD BOY?NEW FRIENDSHIP WITH HOLOCAUST SURVIVORNIGHTMARISH COLLEAGUENOMADIC FLANEURPOST NATAL DEPRESSIONPREGNANT AND ALONE