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The Five-Year Plan by Carla Burgess

The Five Year Plan


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.


As I’ve said before I love British rom-coms and this one was no exception. 

She can’t see Aiden again. It was so painful and devastating when he left five years ago. And now he is famous and in London and he’s sent her a personal invitation to his photo exhibition.

Orla had her life planned out for the next five years when she would be living in London as a reporter for a big newspaper.  This didn’t leave time for dating and boyfriends. But then she was sent to interview Aiden, a weird long-haired photographer of otters with unconventional living arrangements in a tent. After being in his company for some time, they become great friends and she realizes what a kind and generous man he is and her feelings start to change. Knowing he will be leaving soon for his next assignment she is afraid of losing him, but when he asks her to “live in the moment” and leave with him, she convinces herself to stay and continue with her five-year plan while he travels around and pursues his career as a wildlife photographer, environmentalist, and conservationist.  Now he’s in London and he is stirring up all of her feelings again. When he leaves again, can she let him go?

Orla and Aiden’s chemistry is so natural and what everyone longs for.  Their fun repartee is so refreshing and believable as good friends and lovers. Orla is a strong and independent young woman and knows what she wants in life.  I think her plan to not go with Aiden at first was probably a smart decision because she needed to mature and be true to herself before she could commit to a life she wasn’t ready for.  I believe her decision was right for Aiden as well since he seems more confident and mature when she meets him later.  Did I mention that I love Aiden? He is so kind and considerate to Orla especially when she sprains her ankle at their first meeting. And who wouldn’t love a guy who loves animals?

This heartwarming and sweet second-chance romance captivated me from the beginning and I finished it in a day.  It had a unique premise with Aiden’s wildlife photography contribution to environmental sustainability and I learned a lot about river otters. Also, the author’s clear and wonderful descriptions of Aiden’s photos really came to life.  As stated in the acknowledgments pages, for further information about the conservation of otters in the UK, visit

Thank you to Ms. Burgess for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectations of a positive review.


The Five-Year Plan

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Carla BurgessCarla Burgess writes romantic comedies for HQ digital. She lives in the North West of England with her husband, three children and their many pets.

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