Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

A Girl’s Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber
Series: New Beginnings (# 2)
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 354
Source: Book provided by author for review

 

 

In this powerful and uplifting novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.

When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.

An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.

 

Review:  Cracking open a Debbie Macomber book is like coming home again. For me, there are certain author names that practically guarantee a top-notch reading experience. Macomber has been on that list since I was introduced to her writing more than 20 years ago. When A Girl’s Guide to Moving On arrived in oversize paperback form in the mail, I knew this would be a read to remember.

What sets Macomber apart from other writers is her keen sense of character development. The men and women who grace her pages are not only completely realistic (warts and all), but they are brought to life in a vivid manner. In this particular book, I could hear Nikolai’s accented English as he conversed with Leanne. I could picture Nichole putting together various outfits for women in need like Shawntelle.

The focus of the story is unique in that it takes a mother and her daughter-in-law, both of whom share a history of unfaithful husbands. The bond they share is fully explored as they unite and try to rebuild their lives. The list they develop, which is where the title originates, is a common sense approach to dealing with life challenges.

I was quite impressed with the depiction of the female characters. Rather than Nichole and Leanne dwelling on the negativity, they embraced a positive outlook and moved forward. That’s not to say they didn’t face challenges, though. While the author did a phenomenal job setting the stage for Jake and Sean as the culprits, she also wove in some redeeming characteristics. As she clearly demonstrates, there are shades of gray when dealing with relationships.

Another key trademark of Macomber’s writing is the comfortable way the storyline progresses. While each chapter alternates between the voices of Leanne and Nichole, there is a clear flow of action. It was incredibly easy to get caught up in the story, especially since there was no real way to predict the ending (even though I tried).

In the end, the reader not only gets a satisfying respite with a fantastic book, but there is an important lesson underscoring the ability for women to start over. No matter what season in life, love is always within reach. The interaction between the characters emphasizes this point, even though infidelity was the root cause of the turmoil.

I laughed, shed a few tears and when the last page was read, I reaffirmed my certainty that Debbie Macomber is a true genius in telling stories that empower women.

 

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