Finding a book that takes you after the happily ever after is not so hard anymore thanks to all the series casting the same couple. But there’s very, very little out there about what happens after for a middle aged couple. I’m very happy to have this book not only because I just turned 40, but also because it’s proof that passion and emotional struggle don’t stop when the candles on the cake are, well, a lot.
Menopause to Matrimony (Fortytude Series, Book 2) by Shelly Hickman, narrated by Jazmine Ramay, released in June in the Romantic Comedy genre.
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The sequel to Vegas to Varanasi catches up with Anna and Kiran a couple of years after the event that brought the once “ugly duckling” high school acquaintances together. But will their romance continue to flourish in the face of a whole new set of insecurities brought on by middle age?
First, there’s Kiran, who has an unexpected health scare. While his doctors assure no permanent damage has been done, there seems to have been some damage to his personality, as the normally respectful and reserved Kiran begins behaving erratically and overtly. Anna wants to hope that this is temporary, sparked by the visit of Kiran’s womanizing, free-spirited cousin, Seth. But is this just the midlife Kiran surfacing?
Anna has midlife issues of her own. Now forty-eight, she’s navigating the onset of perimenopause and all the delights that come with it, from facial hair to mood swings to body temperature issues. On top of that, her two-year-old granddaughter is starting to show signs of a behavior disorder, bringing with it a whole other level of stress and worry. Will Anna and Kiran finally find their happily-ever-after? Or end up stuck in a midlife mess in this romantic comedy of accepting change, and “the change”.
Although this is a sequel, it may be heard as a stand-alone novel.
About the Author: Shelly Hickman
I’m a Las Vegas native who received both my Bachelor’s degree in Art and Masters degree in Elementary Education from UNLV. Pre-pandemic, I spent my days teaching computer science to middle schoolers. When we shifted to remote instruction, it was an adventure I don’t care to revisit. My hope is that it won’t still be necessary when school starts in the Fall. I celebrated my 30-year anniversary with my husband in June and we have two grown children. Though I’ve written five novels, my reading preference is usually nonfiction. Watching anything comedic is one of my favorite pastimes. (Netflix’s new series Space Force is my latest love. Check it out.) Oh, and I love musicals! Early this year, I started a YouTube channel that focuses on life topics for women over forty, but I haven’t decided if I’m any good at it.
Since the paperback version of Menopause to Matrimony was published nearly six years ago, Shelly though she would share the blog post she wrote when the book released, explaining why she wanted to write the story.
November 1, 2014
When I finished Vegas to Varanasi, I had no plans to write a sequel. However, I did miss the characters quite a bit. Not long after publishing V to V, I started feeling kinda crappy—physically. I had already acknowledged other signs of getting older, such as my son finishing high school and no more trick or treating or Easter egg hunts with the kids.
But now the body begins to complain in small ways. As someone who used to relish in sleeping
in, good sleep is frequently elusive or often interrupted with trips to the bathroom to pee. Okay, so I’ve always had to get up in the middle of the night to pee—but usually once—not two or three times. And when I did get up, I could easily fall back to sleep. These days it’s a crap shoot, due to being too hot, too cold, etc.
Then there’s the fatigue. I’ve upped my coffee in the mornings from one cup to two, and that seems to have helped, but by 1:30 in the afternoon, I could easily be cast on The Walking Dead, which is not good when your days are spent in the company of middle schoolers. I’ve heard it more than once: “Mrs. Hickman, you look tired.”
I’m sorry. That’s one thing a woman does not want to hear on a regular basis. You look tired. About every other time I see my mom, she gets this look of pity on her face. “You doin’ okay? You look so tired!” Ughhhh! I’ve been seriously considering going back to bangs just to camouflage the tired eyes.
So anyway, I won’t go on about all the other physical and emotional changes I’ve experienced as of late, but since my main character Anna is my age, this became the focus of Menopause to Matrimony. We have to find humor in all of these changes. We must. And it needs to be talked about so women don’t feel so alone and crazy. The poor fellas? They go through it, too—just in different ways. No one will convince me otherwise.
Sometimes I feel like I complain too much, especially since I do believe our thought patterns affect our bodies. But honestly, it’s fun to joke about getting older because there’s a camaraderie about it. My husband had a heart attack almost three years ago. I had a hip replacement four years ago, and we give each other shit about it all the time.
“At least I haven’t had a heart attack.” “Yeah, well at least I still have both my hips!” See? Isn’t that fun?
My hope is that readers will find Menopause to Matrimony fun, especially middle-aged readers. There’s no doubt that one of today’s popular genres is New Adult—which is cool—but let’s not forget about us not-so-new-adults.
About the Narrator: Jazmine Ramay
Jazmine Ramay is a working actor based out of Los Angeles. She currently spends most of her career in the Voice over world but also loves to sing-starting her own Jazz band and exploring opera and musical theatre. A graduate of PCPA (Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts) and the Cabaret Conference at YALE, her credits include Cory (Barefoot in the Park), Penelope (Penelopiad), Jenny (Distracted), and the 2nd Wyrd Sister (Macbeth). Jazmine has worked in Theatre, Film and Television and has had appearances in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Adam Sandler’s Jack and Jill . She was in the original cast of B Street Theatre’s hit production of Bars and Measures. Her all time favourite role was Gwendolyn in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. As a voiceover actor she works full-time and commits to making more great projects in the years to come.