2 Sentence Summary
In Five Years by Rebecca Serle is a heartwarming and bittersweet tale of friendship and love. The story explores the deep connection between two contrasting friends and takes readers on an emotional journey filled with love, friendship, and unexpected twists.
Summary Read Time: Less than 6 minutes
Actual Book Length: 272
First Published in: 2020
Below is the detailed yet quick In Five Years summary:
On a fine day in December 2020, we meet our protagonist, Danielle “Dannie” Kohan, an ambitious corporate lawyer, who’s all geared up for an interview with the eminent law firm, Wachtell. She is licing the high life in Murray Hill with her investment banker boyfriend David. The day brims with anticipation as she suspects a proposal later in the evening. Following an inspiring chat with her lifelong confidant Bella, and a successful interview, Dannie excitedly receives David’s awaited proposal, and ecstatically nods ‘yes’ before drifting off to sleep.
In a startling twist, Dannie awakens in a foreign apartment in Brooklyn, next to an unfamiliar man, Aaron Gregory. To her bafflement, the date flashing on the news reads December 15, 2025. A stranger in her own life, she discovers her engagement to this man in a loft they seemingly share. Alarmed and confused about her past with David, she considers finding him, but an inexplicable connection with Aaron persuades her to stay.
Returning to reality in 2020, the bizarre episode appears to be a dream, a view shared by her therapist, Dr. Christine. Life continues as Dannie hands in her resignation to join Wachtell. She moves to Gramercy with David and delays wedding plans as she broods over the dream. As time fast forwards to 2025, Dannie catches up with Bella. Bella now runs a Chelsea-based gallery and introduces her new boyfriend, an architect named Greg.
The plot thickens when Greg is revealed to be none other than Aaron, the man from Dannie’s dream. Stunned, she feigns sickness to escape the situation. A haunting dream and an unproductive visit to Dr. Christine later, Dannie locates the Brooklyn apartment from her dream while meeting Aaron, who’s house hunting with Bella. Driven to prevent her dream from becoming reality, Dannie convinces David to expedite their wedding. Meanwhile, Bella senses Dannie’s unease but remains oblivious to her surreal dream and upcoming nuptials.
On a group getaway to Amagansett, Dannie perceives Bella’s happiness with Aaron and learns about her suspected pregnancy. During a personal moment with Aaron, he professes his fondness for Dannie, adding more complexity to her situation. The intertwining lives of Dannie, Bella, Aaron and David create a captivating narrative of unexpected twists and emotional struggles.
Bella’s life takes an unexpected turn as she excitedly reveals her pregnancy to Dannie. Their joyous baby-shopping spree is cut short when Aaron informs Dannie about Bella’s incorrect diagnosis. Instead of impending motherhood, Bella faces the grim reality of ovarian cancer, a situation that brings her estranged parents into the picture. As they grapple with the shocking news, Bella’s doctor confirms stage 3 ovarian cancer, necessitating immediate surgery but diminishing her dreams of motherhood.
Despite their past apathy, Bella’s parents, Jill and Frederick, attend the surgery, irking Dannie who’s been a consistent pillar of support for Bella. To lighten the tense atmosphere, Aaron, demonstrating his unwavering commitment to Bella, takes Dannie to a rooftop and shares his heartfelt reasons for loving Bella. Following a successful surgery, Bella is discharged with a chemotherapy plan starting in three weeks.
During Bella’s arduous journey through chemotherapy, she gifts Dannie an art print eerily reminiscent of her mysterious dream. At the same time, she reveals purchasing the loft from Dannie’s vision. In a desperate attempt to alter her predicted future, Dannie convinces Bella to treat the loft as an investment. Amidst Bella’s health crisis, Dannie’s career reaches a pivotal moment as her mentor Aldridge assigns her to a high-stakes IPO, requiring her to be in California. Simultaneously, she continues with her wedding plans, setting December as the D-day.
Bella’s decision to indulge in alcohol leads to a heated argument with Dannie, resulting in a temporary estrangement. Dannie confides in Aaron and spends time at the hospital, ensuring she’s there for Bella. Guilt creeps in as Dannie embarks on her exciting work journey in Los Angeles while Bella fights her battle against cancer. When Bella’s post-chemo results worsen, she invites Dannie to reconcile. She stuns her with two revelations – her engagement with Aaron and her disbelief in David’s compatibility with Dannie.
Despite the looming IPO getting postponed, Dannie receives an offer to lead the in-house legal team at Yahtzee, further solidifying her path to partnership. Yet, the parallel journey she embarks upon with David feels increasingly disjointed, leading to a strained dinner conversation. In a moment of honesty, Dannie suggests delaying their wedding, inciting David’s displeasure, and eventually resulting in their separation. Dannie, heartbroken, finds solace in Bella’s comforting presence.
As Bella’s second round of chemotherapy ravages her, Dannie moves in with her. Aaron’s surprise revelation that he and Bella had been refurbishing the Dumbo loft for Dannie only intensifies her sense of impending doom. In a twist of fate, she finds herself alone with Aaron in her dreamt apartment, culminating in a shared kiss, abruptly halted by Bella’s call.
With Bella’s health rapidly declining, Dannie has a heartfelt meeting with Jill, Bella’s mother. Admitting her parenting shortcomings, Jill credits Dannie for being one of the best influences in Bella’s life. Recognizing the urgency, Dannie implores Jill to be present for Bella. Their poignant conversation ends with Bella debunking Dannie’s claim of never experiencing love or heartbreak.
The inevitable sorrow unfolds as Bella succumbs to her illness on a quiet Thursday. Dannie navigates her grief, wearing Bella’s engagement ring, symbolizing her close bond with her departed friend. The eerie echo of her dream resonates as the scene with Aaron unfolds in her apartment. The overwhelming emotion she had misidentified as love is revealed as profound grief for Bella. After returning Aaron’s ring, Dannie stumbles upon Dr. Mark Shaw, Bella’s doctor. Their unexpected encounter hints at a potential relationship, offering Dannie a prospect of a new beginning, perhaps.