The Five-Year Plan

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HarperCollins UK, Mar 20, 2020 - Fiction - 384 pages
1 Review
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Two people. One epic love story. What if?

The perfect fun and heartwarming romance to escape with from the bestselling author of Marry Me Tomorrow

‘OMG! The chemistry between Orla and Aiden is electric!’ Netgalley reviewer

‘Sometimes you just need a good story with heart, and this is one of those books’ Goodreads reviewer

Orla is a trainee reporter with a five-year plan: work her way up the career ladder, move to London and secure a job on a big national newspaper. She doesn’t want a boyfriend, he’s only going to hold her back anyway.

Aiden spends his life travelling the world and living in a tent. He knows his goal: to photograph animals and raise awareness of global warming and wildlife conservation. He’s definitely not looking for a relationship past the odd casual hook-up!

So when Orla and Aiden’s lives collide, they do everything to not fall for each other – with the opposite effect. But they stick to their plans, and go their separate ways...

Five years later, they meet again...

If you love Mhairi McFarlane, Jo Watson and Paige Toon, you’ll LOVE Carla Burgess. The Five-Year Plan is the perfect fun and feel-good escapist read.

Readers LOVE The Five-Year Plan!

‘This is such a sweet read! I got so invested! It made me smile, chuckle and even shed a tear’ Netgalley reviewer

‘Absolutely loved this book from the moment I started reading it. I was hooked and thoroughly enjoyed reading it!’ Netgalley reviewer

‘A great love story and relaxing read for anyone wanting to escape for an afternoon’ Goodreads reviewer

‘I instantly fell in love with Orla, Aiden and their relationship. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year’ Netgalley reviewer

‘I just love Carla Burgess! I love how she writes every emotion into her stories, how I feel like I know the characters and am invested in their happy ending. Another perfect book by one of my favourite contemporary authors’ Goodreads reviewer

‘I absolutely adored The Five-Year Plan. From the moment we meet Aiden and Orla, I was invested. A gorgeous, romantic read and the ending left me beaming’ Netgalley reviewer

‘I LOVED this! A very lovely, heart-warming book’ Netgalley reviewer

‘If you’re looking for a book to bring some light into your life, this is definitely one for you’ Goodreads reviewer

‘A cute feel-good second-chance romance’ Goodreads reviewer


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I received an ARC of The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess, via #NetGalley, in order to provide an honest review. I was drawn to this book because the cover is catchy, and not cheesy, which I find most romances are. The description sucked in my in, and I am so happy I was able to read it.
The Five Year Plan begins in present time, with Orla, and reporter for a big London newspaper, brings her trainee reporter with her to Aiden Byrnes exhibit. We find out that Orla and Aiden hadn't seen each other in five years, after a wonderful summer together, Aiden leaves, breaking her heart. While they have a small interaction at the exhibit, Orla, trying to protect herself, runs off to catch the train home, not knowing that Aiden chases after her. Normally I would be annoyed of the cliff hanger, but we are transported five years in the past, to when they meet. I LOVED IT! When I read a romance, I want to know why two characters click so well, and Carla Burgess does a wonderful job with Orla and Aiden. Their chemistry is amazing, and I found myself not wanting to put down the book. The conversations between them are the highlight of the story, and had be laughing out loud too many times to count. When we get transferred back to the past, I constantly went back and forth between happiness and sadness ... much like Orla and Aiden. They are very easy to empathize. The epilogue, which I won't spoil, is beautiful.
The romance in this book is wonderfully written. There is no love at first sight scenario, which makes it all the better. They simply form a very close friendship (in part because Aiden is a very thoughtful, friendly man, who I suspect was attracted to Orla right away), that eventually turns to love. It was easy to see why they fell in love, which is so rare for romances these days.
My only complaint with this book, is that Orla's thought processes are hard to read through, sometimes. Perhaps it's intentional, because we know she is conflicted, but I found her inner dialogue was tedious at times, and borderline repetitive. If you are someone who likes some steamy scenes in your romances, like me, you might be just a little disappointed. The sex is there. It just could be written a bit better. That being said, the love and tenderness they feel for one another is there, and it makes up for the lack of steaminess.
In conclusion, I am so happy I got the opportunity to read this book. This is my first book I have read from Carla Burgess, and I am convinced to read her others now. The story is beautiful, yet simple. The characters are easy to like, and easy to empathize with. I liked them both for different reasons, and I liked them together because they balance each other out, and importantly, don't try to change each other. It flows beautifully between each time jump, so you are never confused. It's just an all around wonderful book, and I give it my full recommendation.


Chapter 2
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21

Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24

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About the author (2020)

Carla Burgess was born in Solihull and now lives in Chester with her husband, three children, dog and bearded dragon. Her love of books was sparked when she borrowed Ghost Ship to Ganymede by Robert Swindells from her primary school library and devoured it in one night. It was just after this that she started writing her own stories and inflicting them on family and friends. She began her working life as an editor on a trade magazine where she dreamed of writing about romance instead of tubing, but still felt privileged to be working with words. She has a degree in English literature and psychology, and loves animals, the countryside and the sea. Carla’s debut novel Marry Me Tomorrow, released in 2016, became a bestseller. For more information about Carla, you can follow her on Twitter @MrsBear123, on Facebook at or on her website

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