Review: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City.

Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and—with a little encouragement from her friends—a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind.

But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.


What is The Overdue Life of Amy Byler about?

Amy Byler is a single mother of two whose husband abandoned the family three years prior. She went from single mother to school librarian and somehow managed to take the reins of her life back and keep her children afloat. When her husband returns, he asks to spend a week with the children and the family agrees to the reunion. But that leaves Amy out of her full time mothering job for the week–and then for the whole summer. With a break practically forced upon her, Amy finds herself spending the summer in New York City and doing all the things she’d forgotten she wanted to do.

Genre: Contemporary Coming of Age

Though Amy is in her early forties and has already lived a full life, I would say this is absolutely a coming of age story. Amy comes to several excellent realizations regarding her work-life balance, and learns a few tricks to blending the things she has to do with the things she wants to do. She comes into her own in a way she clearly hasn’t in the past fifteen years, and it’s really gratifying to read.

Tropes: Ambush Makeover

Part of Amy’s story does involve the meddling of a couple of well meaning friends. One of whom is the editor of a fashion magazine. So yes, there’s an ambush makeover and restyling of Amy’s mom wardrobe.

The Good

This book is truly wonderful. The writing is polished and compelling, and Amy’s voice is so realistic it’s like thinking to yourself. Her feelings and the way she works through them is at the same time heart wrenching and emotionally mature. She’s able to put aside her feelings often, and even though other characters accuse her of martyrdom, Amy does have a grasp of what she really wants. She doesn’t have regrets from being a mother, she just learns that she needs to also be Amy. And I love that realization, that she does sometimes need to do things for herself and decompress. The romance in the book was sweet and genuine, and I enjoyed several of the side characters. I also adored the parts that go in depth into Amy’s idea for school libraries.

The Okay

While I see where parts of the drama fit well into the story, there were definitely some twists and turns that felt unfinished or rushed through. Not all conflict needs to be soap opera worthy, and I think with the slow and steady pace this book took for the first eighty percent or so it really didn’t need a last minute spike in the conflict as a climax.

The Bad

I don’t really have a concrete “bad” criticism of this book! It was a four star read for me, but that was more about the ending than anything else.

Final Thoughts

I thought this book was a wonderful read. It’s writing is polished and I really fell headfirst into Amy’s head. Kelly Harms just added herself to my always buy list. I love that Amy is so young at heart and thoughtful and caring. I love that despite the hurt her ex caused in her life, she is still civil enough to allow her children to know him. The loving relationship she has with her children is beautiful to read about, and reaffirming that she does want to be a mother just as much as she wants to be Amy. This book is an excellent way to remember that it’s never too late in life to find your passion and follow it. It’s never too late to find love, to make a change, and to be truly happy.

By Catherine

I'm a lover of books, coffee, wine, and bees. Happy to join the ranks of book bloggers everywhere!

One reply on “Review: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s