“Maybe hidden under the dark & heavy layers of despair and doubt lies a shred of Hope.”  L.M. Stull’s debut novel “A Thirty-Something Girl” is a story of self-discovery, life & death and true friendship.  The protagonist Hope, a newly turned 30 year old, has had a string of bad luck that would cripple the best of people.  With the aid and support of her close friends, Hope begins on a journey and stumbles across someone who will end up helping her along the way.  Old wounds will be healed, new ones will be inflicted, but the true gem is the mantra “pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep on going”.

The friendship between Hope, Clara, Grace & Emma has a “Sex & The City” feel to it.  All 30 something’s, Hope’s love of shoes, the beach house, and high profile jobs such as University Professors, Editors and Litigators makes this 30-chic chick lit relevant, up-to-date and fresh.  The female comradery is a refreshing break from the warring cattiness that occurs sometimes in female centric novels.  “A Thirty-Something Girl” is a fast, easy read with great flow.  Stull succeeds in creating the rawness of human emotion, especially when at the end, Hope hears devastating news, and she succumbs with genuine grief and shock.

The downside to this novel however was there was not enough build up. Many of the situations were under-developed and easily solved.  I had hoped that Hope would tackle hands on the issues that she herself had caused, yet aside from finding a new beau, her friends took care of these issues for her.  For a story about self-discovery, the protagonist did very little.  There were also some storylines that I wish had been delved into much more, like  her past, her tense relationship with her parents, and more information on her relationship with Jeff.

In a world where everyone is out for #1, LM Stull writes a novel that renews the faith that there are true friends, such as Clara, Grace & Emma, out there that would really give you the shirt off their backs.  The themes of life and death, birth and renewal are carried throughout fluidly and this makes this female centric chick lit  a fresh, fast and easy read and I give it a 3 out of 5.

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