Beyond Any Experience by Anne E TerpstraBeyond Any Experience by Anne E Terpstra is a beautiful, anguish-filled, age-gap romance, about grieving, moving on, and allowing yourself to be happy.

Olivia Northman lost her wife 3 years ago to a drunk driver. Her world was shattered that day and she is still struggling with grief. Her son, Ben has autism, and she is trying to hold life together for them both. After a failed attempt at trying to date again, Olivia has decided to depend on the predictable and simple life she shares with Ben. It’s for the best, she needs to protect their hearts. That is until she meets Ellie.

Ellie Vasquez is definitely not simple and predictable. She loves with her whole heart and doesn’t hold back. She’s been unlucky in love but hasn’t let it put her off. She’s kind and warm and not one to give up when the going gets tough.

When Ellie shows interest in Olivia, she can’t quite believe it. But what surprises her more is that she is also interested in Ellie- A quiet chat over hot toddies turns into more and Olivia finds herself hoping for another chance at love for both her and Ben. But the past is everywhere and Olivia must overcome and come to terms with it in order to have a second chance at love. She needs to be brave, she needs to let her guard down, but with her heart on the line she risks losing everything if she can’t accept that she deserves happiness.


This book is written from both main characters’ points of view and the author has done an amazing job of showing us how both Olivia and Ellie think and deal with the circumstances they find themselves in.

Olivia’s mind is a hard place to be in, the grief she’s living with and how hard she is on herself makes reading her point of view harrowing at times. The author helps you feel it all and shows us what Olivia is going through while trying to keep it together for her son Ben. There were times that I couldn’t see the words on the page because tears blocked my view. She’s a beautifully written character full of anguish but also with some hope that keeps trying to win and shine through. I really appreciate that the author didn’t glaze over her pain, it’s raw and real and Terpstra conveys this perfectly.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

This book is extraordinary from start to finish. The writing is incredible, the characters have depth and the story is captivating. It’s devastating, charming, and sexy, I couldn’t put it down and plowed through 90 percent in a day. I can’t believe it’s a debut!

I adore the characters- Olivia is still deep in her grief, she’s so strong, brave, and an amazing mother, but she doesn’t see it. In fact, she struggles to see herself at all. There’s a beautiful quote about her in the book that says she ‘forgave others so easily but could never forgive herself’ and that sums her up. This woman is whom I hope to be if I ever faced what she has, she’s not perfect by any means but she’s inspirational, and by the end of the book she’s the best version of herself she can be. Her character growth throughout the story is astonishing and I felt so proud of her.

Ellie is younger than Olivia but no less wise. She’s had different life experiences but the empathy and understanding she shows are admirable. She wears her heart on her sleeve and when she loves she falls fast and hard. What I love about her is that unless it’s needed, she never pushes or expects more than she knows can be given. This character won my heart because she fought, she stayed, and she never let the hard times beat her.

Ben is Olivia’s son. He has autism and struggles to make others understand what he is feeling. He’s a wonderous character who regardless of his struggles keeps an open heart and is always trying to understand a world that makes little sense to him.

There are lots of side characters to also love but I think my favourite is Olivia’s best friend Arti. She supportive but takes no nonsense from Olivia and is always there for her.

Yes, this story is anguish filled but it also has a lot of love, sweet family moments-both chosen and blood- and sex scenes to make your toes curl.

Heads Up

There are a few topics that some readers may find triggering-

-Living with grief from a deceased partner that was killed by a drunk driver

-Death of a grandparent

-A child losing his mother at a young age

-Survival of an accident that involved a drunk driver

The Conclusion

As soon as I read the first chapter of this book, I just knew I was going to love it. I wasn’t wrong! I couldn’t put it down. This Debut novel is not only beautifully written but the love the author has for the story jumps off the page. It has characters that you want to understand and the more you read the more you want to know. It’s deep, real, and sometimes hard to read, but it’s counterbalanced with love, laughter, and the sweetest family moments. There are so many subjects tackled in this book, and they all work perfectly together.

Olivia and Ellie didn’t have an easy ride, it’s not smooth sailing for them but what I love about this book is the support that they have not only for each other but from their family and friends. This book is about healing, it’s about forgiving yourself, it’s about loving, and being loved. But most of all it’s about letting go without forgetting and moving on while allowing the past to be part of the future but not letting it control the outcome.

I absolutely adore this book go give it a read, you won’t be sorry. It’s messy and relatable as well as being super steamy. I highly recommend it.

Excerpt from Beyond Any Experience by Anne E Terpstra

ELLIE STEPPED FROM her office and made a quick left toward the noise rolling down the hall. She’d gotten turned around several times during her first week at The Therapy Center, but today, the swell of high voices led her straight to the large but crowded lobby, which sagged under the August humidity. Her new boss leaned on a column near the reception desk, and Ellie threaded her way over.

“We’ll collect our boys in a minute. I’ll introduce you to the parents as we go—a quick meet and greet for the first day.” Rita grinned at the scrum. A harried father rushed through the doors, dragging a reluctant child by the sleeve. “Fall session is always a struggle. The kids aren’t ready to be back. The parents are desperate to have them back. And no one is ready for the school-pickup-to-therapy scramble.”

“Thanks again for putting me on your social group. It’s nice to have the mix with individual sessions.”

Rita waved off her words. “The job’s not new for you, just the place. I would’ve given you your own if we hadn’t already made those assignments.”

The pale-blue shirts of TTC staff bobbed between pockets of families. Rogue toddlers pinballed everywhere. To the side, a lanky white woman, her skin dusted with freckles, listened intently to a boy with chestnut hair, who bounced as he recounted a story. Her eyes never left his, even as his gaze caromed around the room.

“Who’s the brown-haired boy with the tall blonde?”

Rita turned in the direction of Ellie’s nod. “Oh, he’s one of ours, Ben.”

“Isn’t he too young?”

“He’s eleven. Just on the small side. That’s his mom, Olivia. Terrific parent. Very organized.”

Ellie hid the smile creeping onto her face. It had taken less than a day to recognize Rita’s favorite parents had one trait in common—organized.

“Sad story actually. Her wife died three years ago. Terrible car accident. Almost killed all three of them.”


“Yeah. Ben went off the rails for a bit. I’m hoping he’s ready to tackle this group.” Rita clapped her hands, then rubbed them briskly. “Let’s go get our boys.”

The crowd parted for Rita, Ellie trailing in her wake. She snuck glances at Olivia as they approached, Rita stopping every few feet to greet someone. Olivia was beautiful in an austere, angular way, and she held herself erect, not one of those women to stoop in apology for her height. Shaggy golden curls brushed her shoulders. That shimmer of blonde, and the placid face it framed, hovered at the edge of her attention each time Rita introduced her to another parent.

OLIVIA LEANED CLOSE to Ben’s ear. “You got this.”

He flinched, gnawing on a thumbnail. “You said that already. Twice!”

Her hand floated above his shoulder, ready for an encouraging pat. She pulled it back and shoved it in her pocket. This social group was important, and her nerves kept bleeding into her supportive attitude.

Rita plowed toward them, collecting rumpled, distracted boys like mismatched ducklings. Six feet tall and broad-shouldered, the director was unmissable. Although Olivia stood just an inch shorter, the imposing woman seemed to tower over her.

“Ben! I’m so happy to see you!” Rita’s booming words cut through the din. Ben buried his chin in his chest, tapping an alternating rhythm with his feet. She squatted to catch his eye and lowered her voice. “I need help setting up chairs in room B. Will you organize a circle for eight? You remember the way?”

He darted off without a response, his thin scrap of a body disappearing into the crowd.

“He does love a task, our Ben.” Rita sighed as she stood. “Olivia, I want you to meet Ellie Vasquez, our newest occupational therapist. We stole her from a city clinic. She’s helping me in Ben’s group. Ellie, this is Olivia Northman.”

“Nice to meet you.” Olivia extended her hand.

Ellie reached out at the same time, a dazzling smile streaking across her face. She was nearly Olivia’s height, her riot of black curls wrestled into a thick ponytail. “You as well. I can’t wait to work with your son.”

“Have fun with these guys.” She nodded at the mob of skinny arms and legs dragging half-shrugged backpacks behind them.

“I will.” Ellie’s dark eyes sparkled. A dimple appeared, like an apostrophe over the right corner of her mouth. Ellie held the handshake a beat longer before letting go. When she turned to follow the boys, Olivia noticed two pencils stuck at different angles into her ponytail. For some reason, it made her smile.

Get It Online

When you use the links in this review and buy within 24 hours of clicking then we get a small commission that helps us run the site and it costs you nothing extra












Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 1648904874

Publisher: NineStar Press

Anne E Terpstra Online

If you enjoyed Beyond Any Experience by Anne E Terpstra then you should also look at

Purposefully Accidental by G Benson







Note: I received a free review copy of Beyond Any Experience by Anne E Terpstra. No money was exchanged for this review. When you use our links to buy we get a small commission which supports the running of this site