Turn in the Road by Debbie Macomber

Addition: E-book, review copy from NetGalley

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4 out of 5

Synopsis:

In the middle of the year, in the middle of her life, Bethanne Hamlin takes a road trip with her daughter, Annie, and her former mother-in-law, Ruth. They’re driving to Florida for Ruth’s 50th high-school reunion. A longtime widow, Ruth would like to reconnect with Royce, the love of her teenage life. She’s heard he’s alone, too…and, well, she’s curious. Maybe even hopeful. Bethanne herself needs time to reflect, to ponder a decision she has to make. Her ex-husband, Grant — her children’s father — wants to reconcile now that his second marriage has failed. Bethanne’s considering it…. Meanwhile, Annie’s out to prove to her onetime boyfriend that she can live a brilliant life without him! So there they are, three women driving across America. They have their maps and their directions — but even the best-planned journey can take you to a turn in the road. Or lead you to an unexpected encounter — like the day Bethanne meets a man named Max who really is a hero on a Harley. That’s when Bethanne’s decision becomes a lot harder. Because Grant wants her back, but now there’s Max…. From Seattle’s Blossom Street to the other end of the country, this is a trip that could change three women’s lives.

Review:

This is number 8 in the Blossom Street series. The story follows a Grandmother, ex-daughter-in-law and granddaughter as they travel across America, from Seattle to Florida on a road trip to Ruth’s 50 year school reunion.  There is more going on with all of them though – Ruth wants to see her first love again and apologise for breaking his heart, Bethanne needs to decide if she wants to reunite with her ex-husband Grant – Ruth’s son and Annie’s father. But he had an affair and left her broken – can she forgive him and trust him again? And Annie is heart-broken. Her boyfriend didn’t propose, he told her he was off to Europe on a trip with his mates that they had been planning for months. Annie wants to go on this trip to have her own adventure and prove she does not need him. She also wants to convince Bethanne that getting back with Grant is the best way forward. But then they meet some bikers and Bethanne starts to fall for Max –  the most unlikely biker, with a heartbreaking story of his own. What will she decide?

Let’s get the negatives out the way first:

  • I miss the original Blossom Street characters – people such as Lydia and Alex – I think Macomber should write about them again
  • As ever, this book was predictable – I don’t mind this, I just enjoy reading the story that leads the ending I already know is coming but others won’t like this
  • These books started out set around knitting, that seems to have faded out somewhat – I used to love following the woman’s lives as they knitted.

These aside, I do love Macomber’s books and this is no exception. I find them engaging and I get drawn into the story. I empathise with the characters and want to know what path they will chose to take. I found this story fascinating as it looks also at the different areas of America, a country I have never been too. I felt like I was experiencing some of the charm of these places too.

I find Macomber is good at writing characters that I like and want to read more about. I liked these three girls, although at times I found they all bugged me! Annie was a bit needy and controlling, yet I wanted her to experience some of life and learn to forgive not seek revenge. Bethanne I liked the most and really sympathised with her when Grant and Annie were putting the pressure on her, yet her pining bugged me a little. Ruth was great. She was feisty for an older woman and determined, and I was thrilled with how her story turned out. Grant really annoyed me. I didn’t like how he felt he could just walk back into Bethanne’s life and be controlling – checking up on her etc. Max I thought was lovely and I found myself supporting him throughout this book. His heart was kind and he was learning to heal and love again.

I really enjoy Macomber’s books. I always know what I am going to get and I always come back for more. She is one of my favourite authors because she writes stories that I enjoy, characters I empathise with or spark emotions off in me and she draws me in and makes me feel like I am there in the story. I am yet to be disappointed with her writing.

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Hannah’s List by Debbie Macomber

Addition: Library book, paperback

Genre: Chick-lit

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

On the anniversary of his beloved wife’s death, Dr. Michael Everett receives a letter Hannah had written him.
In it she reminds him of her love and makes one final request. An impossible request — I want you to marry again. She tells him he shouldn’t spend the years he has left grieving her. And to that end she’s chosen three women she asks him to consider.
First on Hannah’s list is her cousin, Winter Adams, a trained chef who owns a café on Seattle’s Blossom Street. The second is Leanne Lancaster, Hannah’s oncology nurse. Michael knows them both. But the third name is one he’s not familiar with — Macy Roth.
Each of these three women has her own heartache, her own private grief. More than a year earlier, Winter broke off her relationship with another chef. Leanne is divorced from a man who defrauded the hospital for which she works. And Macy lacks family of her own, the family she craves, but she’s a rescuer of strays, human and animal. Macy is energetic, artistic, eccentric — and couldn’t be more different from Michael.
During the months that follow, he spends time with Winter, Leanne and Macy, learning more about each of them…and about himself. Learning what Hannah already knew. He’s a man who needs the completeness only love can offer. And Hannah’s list leads him to the woman who can help him find it.

This is number 7 in Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street Series. I love this series – it is about friendship, love and knitting. These are fun, easy-to-read, heartwarming books that will appeal to most women.

This book follows Michael, a man who a year ago lost his wife to cancer. Hannah was the love of his life and her death devasted him. On the anniversary of Hannah’s death he goes out for dinner with her brother, who gives him a letter Hannah has written. In it she writes that she wants him to re-marry and has suggested three ladies who might be suitable. Michael hates the idea of this but to honour Hannah he meets all these woman – and one of them will change his life.

I was reading what Debbie Macomber had to say at the beginning of this book and I was touched to find out that this is based on a true story – she had a friend who did this and I thought that was lovely.

I love the Blossom Street books. I find I can’t put them down once I’ve started. Macomber has a way of drawing me into the story and adding in the characters from other books in the series to keep it all tied together. I felt for Michael – how hard must it be to lose your spouse and then to receive a letter they have written asking you to remarry? I felt his character was well written – sometimes he was sad, other times angry – at everything, including Hannah – and yet we watched him heal so often by the end he was happy – and of course he fell in love, which was so nice to read.

Honestly, the storyline is not a surprise. The ending isn’t hard to guess but I don’t mind that in Macomber’s books because I get very engaged in the story. I liked the characters – all had their own story and I loved reading about their lives and seeing the effect one person could have on them all. Hannah seemed so special and friends and family really were rooting were Michael to love again.

These books are enjoyable, lovely, engaging reads. I can easily read one straight after the other. Macomber is one of my favourite authors and I highly recommend her. I love the storyline, her books don’t contain bad language or graphic love scenes, her writing is easy to read and easy to follow and I love these books! It isn’t hard for me to give this book four out of five – maybe next time the ending will surprise me!

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Old Boyfriends by Debbie Macomber

old boyfriends

Waterstones Synopsis:

“She didn’t understand how she could lie beside him in bed night after night and dream about another man…”When Susannah Nelson turned eighteen, her parents sent her to school abroad. She said goodbye to her boyfriend, Jake – and never saw him again.Years later, Susannah finds herself regretting the paths not taken. Returning to her parents’ house and her girlhood friends, she also returns to the past – and discovers that things are not always as they once seemed…

This book is another in the Blossom Street series. In this book we are introduced to Susannah of Susannah’s Garden. The book is set before she buys the shop on Blossom Street. Her mission is to get her mother into assisted living accommodation and to go through the house of her parents. She is suffering from depression, which is leading her to regret things that happened in her life, such as losing the love of her life, Jake.

As ever, I enjoyed this book, but I do not think it is Macomber’s best, nor do I think it is the best in the Blossom Street series. I think Macomber deals with some hard issues, such as depression and the need to live in a nursing home, as well as dealing with past regrets and I think the storyline was good. However, there towards the end there was a twist I didn’t see coming, and to be honest, I didn’t believe. And that spoilt the story for me. The return of someone from her past was not believable at all. But because this occurred close to the end of the book I don’t think it ruined the book completely.

Macomber is very good at writing characters who I like and empathise with. I like Susannah. I didn’t always agree with her decisions but I understood where she came from and I felt for her with all the decisions she had to make. I think her mother was written well too – an elderly lady who was starting to suffer from memory loss. I think she sensitive and realistic. My favourite character however was Caroline – Susannah’s old school friend. She was focused and loyal and believable.

This is chick-lit, and for the most part a good read. It was easy to read and easy to get into, I was just disappointed with the ending.

7/10

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Blossom Street Series

For the reviews of the first books in The Blossom Street Series please follow the this link.

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Summer on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

summer on blossom street

Waterstone’s Synopsis:

This is Lydia’s newest knitting class is called “Knit to Quit”. It has four members: Abbie, a woman who’s dealing with a broken engagement; Alix who wants to quit smoking before she gets pregnant; Margaret and – for the first time – a man, Brain Hutchinson, who joins the class to help deal with stress. There’s also the chance to find out what’s been happening with other Blossom Street regulars including Lydia and her husband, Brad, who want to adopt; Anne Marie from Twenty Wishes; and Ellen, whose biological father has tracked her down. With romance and friendship on the horizon, Lydia’s “Knit to Quit” class is going to have a busy summer!

This is the next book in the Blossom Street series, and as good as the others. Macomber has become my favourite author and I love reading her work. This novel involves the majority of the old favourites: Lydia, who is hosting a new knitting class; Alix, who is attempting to give up smoking; Margaret, who is working in the shop, as cynical as ever and Anne-Marie, who has just met the man who might be Ellen’s biological father…

Having read many Macomber books I find that she often tackles serious issues, and Summer on Blossom Street is no exception. This novel sees the arrival of Casey, a girl who has been in many foster homes. I loved how Macomber explored how she would react being moved into a new home, and looked for ways for her to experience real joy and open up. I am not acquainted with social services and foster care myself but I felt that Macomber was very honest with Casey’s character and showed how she would seem difficult and non-responsive at first because she has been moved around so many times that she no longer wants to grow attached to where she is placed.

I loved that even though Anne-Marie didn’t participate in the knitting group Macomber included her in the story. Having met her in the last book – Twenty Wishes – it was lovely that we saw how her life was going – I liked that she wasn’t forgotten.

This is classic Macomber – there are serious issues explored, friendships formed and developed and love winning out. This is excellent chick-lit and I loved it. Macomber did not let me down, well worth reading.

8/10

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Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber

twenty wishes

Amazon description:

What do you want most in the world? Bookshop owner Anne Marie Roche wants to find happiness again. Her life hasn’t turned out as she expected and recently widowed, she’s never felt more alone. On Valentine s Day, Anne Marie and a several other widows get together to celebrate…what? Hope, possibility, the future. They each begin a list of twenty wishes, things they always wanted to do but never did. As Anne Marie works her way through her wishes, she learns that dreams can come true – but not necessarily in the way you expect.

I am a large fan of Macomber and was not let down by this book, which is the fourth book in the Blossom Street series. The difference between this book and the other three are that instead of focussing on Lydia in the knitting shop, we are with Anne Marie in the book shop. This opened up a path for new characters and storylines, whilst still keeping the other shops and their occupants present in the book. I enjoyed this new side to Blossom Street. I think for Macomber to have branched out to another shop is a good idea and it made for wonderful reading.

I enjoyed all the characters in this story. Anne-Marie is the main character, but as is typical Macomber, she has a small circle of friends all whom we spend time with. All four ladies are trying to get on with their lives after their husbands died and I enjoyed how Macomber didn’t neglect anyone – we read about all their struggles and joys. I liked all the women and am not sure I could pick a favourite.

This is a touching book that is extremely readable. I felt the ending was a little bit rushed but it did answer all questions. I also found some of the storylines predictable, but I didn’t mind that at all. Widowhood is a tough subject for someone to tackle but I think Macomber stood up to the challenge exceptionally well, exploring different routes and things people do to resolve grief. The idea of making a list of twenty wishes to achieve I liked; it gives direction and purpose.

This book took me a day to read, I didn’t want to put it down. Macomber is one of my favourite authors and I am yet to read something of hers I don’t like. Yes it is female fiction, but thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.

9/10

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