Readers’ Reviews

Read what others are saying about Risking Everything: Coming Out in Coffee Land:

[quote style=”boxed”]A true coming out story. The pursuit of happiness can take us on the strangest journeys… follow this one into the jungles of Panama.
~ Nancy Young, Boquete, Panama[/quote]

stars 5 0. V192240867  Readers Reviews A Courageous Story May 19, 2012

“When Dona Maria, considered the patron saint of Cuzco in Ecuador, was asked, “What would your message to the world be?” she responded. ‘Disclose yourselves and expand the collective Mesa.

Elizabeth Worley’s book is many things: a tale of personal transition, a tale of life in Panama, a tale of coffee, of painful relationship, of family, a tale of love and an honest look at her own sexual discovery (all well told). But the book’s most salient quality, and the one that makes the it ring with truth, is Worley’s vulnerability. She fully “discloses” herself. In a courageous manner, she speaks to any of us, straight or gay, determined to make significant change in our lives, to those who want to follow the heart, but are afraid. And, despite betrayal and hardship she shows no bitterness, and has clearly kept her sense of humor, joy and deep appreciation of life alive. In this way, we know her journey was not just one of personal growth and change but was spiritual as well. Despite the many personal challenges she encountered, she kept her heart opened and went for kindness and understanding.

Elizabeth Worley is a heroine, the person who goes into the unknown and comes back with a gift for the rest us. By disclosing herself, she has expanded the collective mesa. She has broken through barriers of separation and difference so often erected around sexual preference, and she has illuminated a path into a more accepting, compassionate and kinder world.” John Earle, author of, “Waking Up: Learning What Your Life is Trying to Teach You”

This is a wonderful book! January 12, 2012

Not just for women. Better than “Eat, Pray, Love. It deals with some of the same issues, but more happens. It would make a fabulous movie! The settings are beautiful, sometimes exotic, the characters are vivid and memorable, and the plot takes unexpected and interesting twists and turns.

Ms. Worley at 50 decides to change her life. It isn’t easy.  This is an understatement!  But she ends up in the most marvelous place, Boquete, Panama!  Boquete is the “coffee land” to which the title refers.  It is also the land of flowers and rainbows and year round perfect temperatures.

The book starts with a girlhood in the mountains of North Carolina in the 1950s. The description of the limited expectations for girls will ring true to women like me who grew up in this era.  “I understood that although I was really smart, I couldn’t become a lawyer.” “I understood that getting married was my destiny.” “I totally absorbed, unquestioningly, that boys had more freedom…and fun.”

Ms. Worley gives one of the best descriptions I have read of what it feels like to be in a bad marriage. “I was, as the years went by, increasingly desperate and aching for a relationship in which my partner was truly present to and with me, so that I could also be present.”  “I am talking about seeing and being seen.”

Later sections of the book describe Boquete and give a feel for what it is like to live here. There are fun trips with family and friends and struggles to reclaim a coffee farm, Finca Luz, from the jungle.

Ms. Worley builds a new life and a new love. Yes, the “coming out” in the title does refer to coming out as a lesbian. I hope no one will be put off by that. Love is love, adventure is adventure. Everyone will be able to relate to the emotions and experiences described in this book.

The book is inspiring. The message is “Be bigger, braver, bolder.” Follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid. Take charge.

I read this on my Kindle. Buy it in any form. You won’t be disappointed. — Margaret Kleinfeld, Nevada,

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed your book, Risking Everything: Coming Out in Coffee Land. January 3, 2012

I must admit when a friend loaned it to me, I was not interested. Why would a straight, married, female retired expat be intrigued by your life? But, the first few pages got me hooked, and like many who have read your story, I couldn’t put it down.

For me it was a story of self-discovery, adventure and relationships – everything I am interested in.  Yes, I loved your story of the finca and of finding Diane, but the Wow! part of your story was the devastating betrayal.  Once I recovered from reading these pages, I knew I should not have been surprised.  And, once you recovered, you were not either – the past came full circle.  Your determination and the strength of your partner and your family was the glue that held. Thank you for your story of not giving up, of holding your vision and living a life of loving survival. Lin Simpson, Panama

Risking Everything is an apt title. September 3, 2011

Elizabeth Worley proves that when something is taken from your hand, it just means the hand is left open to receive something better. Coupling a inbred sense of courage from her gentile but steely Southern matriarchs, with risk born of discontent with upper middle class complacency, Elizabeth begins a journey of discovery that takes her from the US, to Europe, and finally, to the Rebuplic of Panama where she finally finds herself and her organic coffee farm.

Along the way she struggles with balancing care taking a dependent and neurotic husband…and letting her own spirit fly. Risk may be the stuff of adventurers, but strength and courage–all necessary ingredients for a fully realized life–are learned step by step over a lifetime. Elizabeth didn’t begin most of these steps until age 50, proving it is never too late to have a happy life, even when the changes are more radical than she could have ever imagined.

I was mesmerized from the first sentence. I neglected my chores during the day and stayed up nights, not wanting to put down the book.  I found myself and my own struggles in her words. She gives us all the courage to become the best that we can be. It may not be an easy trip, but more than worth the journey. It should be required reading for all women. ~~Rebecca Hinton

Different in a very good way  — August 30, 2011

What other reviewers have said is true: Ms. Worley’s memoir is rich in description and in passion for life. Among its many admirable qualities, the book details in a way few have how many people are impacted by a radical change in one’s life. Most notable is Ms. Worley’s concern for her children and family, whether or not they will be able to accept and continue to love her if she is different from what they have come to expect. Her lack of narcissism is remarkable, demonstrated by her patience and determination to include those she loves in her decision rather than rushing headlong into her own happiness. For me, this distinguishes Risking Everything from so many of the self-absorbed memoirs flooding the market today. We learn not only about Elizabeth, but about the people in her life whom she refused to turn aside in finding her own way.~~ B. Williams, FL

A very compelling book —   August 27, 2011

I loved this book. It had a bit of everything.  I found the information about Panama that Elizabeth wove throughout her book very informative. She certainly does get things done and is fearless in her efforts to move forward with her life choices. I bought the book (Kindle edition) on the recommendation of a fellow subscriber of the panamaforum group on It was a very good choice. Elizabeth, you are an inspiration and a very brave person to open up your life for all the world to behold. Well done!~~K. Alan Perz, BC, Canada and Panama

I, too, am an expat living in Panama,

and I’m just a few years older than the author. I knew I’d find it interesting, but it was more than that…it was fantastic! I have never met Elizabeth Worley, but I feel as though I know her very well, and hope to eventually meet her in person. Her words are so real, they bound off the page into your heart and soul. Bravo!~~ Susan Garcia, Boca del Toro.  August 12, 2012

This is an amazing adventure, by an incredible woman. July 28, 2011

An adventure filled with joy, pain, laughter and courage. Ms. Worley weaves her story, expressing the same emotions that she experienced.
A travelogue? A mystery? A love story? A story of betrayal? A story of determination? Most assuredly, it’s a story of great courage.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, who is seeking to find out who they really are. It’s all part of the dance of life,and guess what Ms. Worley? The dance isn’t over. Rock On! ~~J. Hubschmitt, Asheville, NC

Ms. Worley writes in a flowing, conversational style that is easy to read.– July 2011

She takes us through life experiences that we can understand and relate to: family, relationships, responsibilities, education, marriage, parenthood, vocations, choices made, successes and failures. Even though the material is autobiographical, she accomplishes the difficult task of showing her vulnerability while maintaining dignity and personal privacy. Along with her individual story, she gives us heady, sensory descriptions of the environment in which she lives and provides interesting information about coffee culture and travel experiences. She allows us to follow her journey of self-discovery, self-sufficiency and independence, and accompany her on the path to a more joyous and fulfilling life. We find ourselves cheering for her and ourselves. Men as well as women will enjoy reading Worley’s story. ~ Ellie Simon, Panama

You are one amazing — and beautiful — woman!– June 21, 2011

Your therapist training really showed through with the fairness with which you described what went down — you really owned your own perspective and expressed your range of feelings and emotions, owning them as your own. I don’t think you could have presented a story with more integrity. I was left feeling “whoosh!” Clean and clear. Not like I was swimming in either a blame-game or a righteous or victim-laden morass… (rather) open, vulnerable, strong. My glass is raised to you!
~~ Katherine Macomber Millman, Port Townsend, WA

Yes, there’s life after 50, and Elizabeth Worley is here to prove it! From Western North Carolina, to Italy, to Panama, and many stops in between, Elizabeth weaves a wonderful story of falling in love, falling out of love, heartache, personal growth, and best of all, the ending is happy! If you want to read a book that gives you hope, gives you joy, and tells you all you ever wanted to know about making major mid-life changes, “Risking Everything: Coming Out In Coffeeland” is the real deal! Enjoy! ~~ Nancie W. Sylva, NC

Elizabeth Worley’s new book, “Risking Everything: Coming Out in Coffee Land” is an unflinching and honest recollection of a life lived authentically. At times humorous, angry, touching and provocative, it provides the reader with an intimate look into the life of a typically conventional, over-achieving professional American woman of the Boomer Generation. The writer bravely discovers her real self and future direction in her new life as an expat in Panama, owner of an organic coffee farm, and loving partner in an unconventional but fulfilling relationship. The writing is skillful and beautifully descriptive, particularly of recalled family times, memorable meals, travels, and impressions of Panama. This book is ultimately a celebration of life, and the courage required to live it! ~~ Louise Orr, Boquete, Panama

Elizabeth Worley’s memoir, Risking Everything: Coming out in Coffee Land, is a beautifully written, funny, poignant and gripping yarn. On the eve of her fiftieth birthday, Elizabeth, a North Carolina journalist, psychotherapist, and married mother of three, sets out on a journey of self-discovery which takes her first to Italy, through Wales and England, and finally, to Boquete in Panama. Traveling through exotic locations, she learns a lot about forgiveness, truth, and falling in and out of love. Elizabeth’s heartwarming story is about hope, redemption and most importantly, about being true to yourself. And let’s not forget the coffee! An uplifting and inspiring tome! ~~ Mia H., Australia


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