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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thursdays-at-eight

Synopsis from Fantastic Fiction

Every Thursday at eight, four women meet for breakfast – and to talk. To tell their stories, recount their sorrows and their joys. To offer each other encouragement and unstinting support.

Clare has just been through a devastating divorce. She’s driven by anger and revenge . . . until she learns something about her ex-husband that forces her to look deep inside for the forgiveness and compassion she’s rejected – and for the person she used to be.

Elizabeth is widowed, in her late fifties, a successful professional – a woman who’s determined not to waste another second of her life. And if that life should include romantic possibilities – well, why not?

Karen is in her twenties, the years for taking risks, testing your dreams. Her dream is to be an actor. So what if her parents think she should be more like her sister, the very respectable Victoria?

Julia is turning forty this year. Her husband’s career is established, her kids are finally in their teens and she’s just started her own business. Everything’s going according to plan – until she gets pregnant!

This is Debbie Macomber at her finest. Meet Julia, Karen, Liz and Claire – four very different women facing very different problems. They meet at a writing class but continue meeting up every Thursday morning at eight. Julia is a happy mother-of-two who has just opened her own knitting shop. What could go wrong? An unexpected, and unwanted pregnancy. Karen is in her twenties and has been pursuing an acting career for as long as she can remember. But her mother does not approve. In Karen’s opinion, her mother wants her to be like her sister Victoria. Except, Victoria does not have it all worked out, and very soon relies on Karen to help her out of a terrible situation. Liz is a widow. Her husband died unexpectedly. Just when the grief had lessened, her two children move away, leaving her even more lonely. And then she begins to be pursued by a handsome doctor. Is she ready to date? Does she want to be involved with this arrogant man? And Claire. She had been through a hurrendous divorce. Her husband left her for a younger model – leaving her hurt and angry. But through her son she discovers what her ex is going through. She is about to learn there is a fine line between love and hate.

This was a great book, I really enjoyed it. It was easy reading, good chick-lit, but with some deeper issues. Macomber explores cancer, death, premature births and domestic abuse. And in my opinion, she did it well. In some cases, there were no happy endings, which is realistic and made the book more inviting. There were extremely sad moments, moments were I was shocked by the abuse, worried about the baby and cheering on the characters as they walked down paths of love and forgiveness. With all these issues I think Macomber did a great job.

I really liked how this was based on the author’s own life. She has a network of friends that she meets up with regularly. Although the characters and events are fictional, there was an added dimension knowing that it was based on personal experience.

All the characters were great. I connected with all of them on different levels and found myself hoping and wishing for them, and experiences their emotional hardships with them. They all had a different story but they way they helped each other was lovely. This is ultimately a book of friendship, and it is just lovely.

I did feel that some of the characters were not featured as much as others, which was a shame, however, they did cross into each others stories to knit the narrative together. And speaking of knitting, it was interesting that Macomber included that hobby in the book, especially in the form of a knitting shop, as her Blossom Street series also revolves around a knitting shop.

Overall, I just really enjoyed this book. It is a book of friendship and companionship. It is easy to read, well written chick-lit.

9/10

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a-good-yarn

Synopsis from Amazon:

This is another heart-warming tale of friendship from the bestselling author of “Thursdays at Eight”. When times are tough, confiding in friends can change your life. Cancer survivor Lydia’s business is thriving but her dream-man’s ex is threatening their relationship…Retired, self-contained Elise has lost everything and lives with her daughter, but still has disturbingly strong feelings for her gambling ex-husband. Nervous Bethanne is an unwilling divorcee whose husband left her and their children for a younger woman. She urgently needs a job, but has she the confidence to find one? Lonely teenager, Courtney, feels abandoned too. Grieving over her mother’s death, she has put on weight and dreads starting a new school. This uplifting, heart-warming story proves that however bleak the future may look, the importance of friendship should never be underestimated.

This is the second book in Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series. I enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed the others in the series. They are light, heart-warming books that I think are worth reading, and definitely good if you want a quick, easy read.

Again, the main character is Lydia Hoffman, the owner of the knitting shop, A Good Yarn. The story revolves around her, the shop, and the knitting class she starts. This time, it is socks. This class draws in three new customers – Elise, who is worried because her ex-husband who she still loves is back in town; Bethanne, a divorcee who is struggling with adjusting to single life, and desperately needs a job; and Courtney, a teenager new to Seattle, who has put on a lot of weight since the death of her mother and is about to start senior year, not knowing anyone. We watch as they grow in confidence, make friends, and resolve issues in their lives.

This is a good book. It is light, full of knitting, love, friendship and happiness. It is fairly predictable, but that does not spoil the book. I was engaged with this book, and didn’t want to put it down. I really like how Macomber writes, she is easy to connect with and fun to read.

I enjoyed all the characters – I loved the knitters and hated those who were horrible, including Grant, Bethanne’s mean ex-husband. I think Courtney was my favourite. She shows determination to get her life straightened out, and she is a good friend to all of them. I also liked how the characters from the first book, especially Jacqueline and Alix, were written into to this book, to keep the continuum going.

This is just an enjoyable book.

8/10

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the-shop-on-blossom-street1

Synopsis:

There’s a little yarn shop on Blossom Street in Seattle. It’s owned by Lydia Hoffman, and it represents her dream of a new life free from cancer. A life that offers a chance at love . . .

Lydia teaches knitting to beginners, and the first class is “How to Make a Baby Blanket.” Three women join. Jacqueline Donovan wants to knit something for her grandchild as a gesture of reconciliation with her daughter-in-law. Carol Girard feels that the baby blanket is a message of hope as she makes a final attempt to conceive. And Alix Townsend is knitting her blanket for a court-ordered community service project.

These four very different women, brought together by an age-old craft, make unexpected discoveries — about themselves and each other. Discoveries that lead to friendship and more . . .

This is the first book in The Blossom Street Series. I have already read Back on Blossom Street – the thrid book, and that did not effect my reading at all. We meet Lydia, a woman determined to live life having beaten cancer twice. She opens a knitting shop on Blossom Street, Seattle – A Good Yarn. She offers a knitting class, and this draws in three different ladies – Carol, who has given up her job to try and have children; Alix, a rough girl who had clashed with the law and Jacqueline, an uptight high society woman. With the classes these four women’s lives have been entwined and friendships have been formed.

This is the typical chick-lit book – enjoyable, quick to read, fairly predictable, and fun. I liked all the characters, Alix in particular, I liked her no-nonsense attitude. I like Macomber’s writing style. It flows and she writes in an enjoyable way. Macomber touches on family issues, women who can’t get pregnant and the fear and reality of cancer. She writes well and sensitively and all issues were dealt with in a sensible and realistic manner.

I have enjoyed both of the books I have read. I don’t really have any complaints, it is your average female fiction. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, and other books by Macomber.

8/10

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back-on-blossom-street

Synopsis:

There’s a new shop on Seattle’s Blossom Street– a flower store called Susannah’s Garden, right next door to A Good Yarn. Susannah Nelson, the owner, has just hired a young widow named Colette Blake. A couple of months earlier, Colette had abruptly quit her previous job– after a brief affair with her boss. To her dismay, he’s suddenly begun placing weekly orders for flower arrangements Susannah and Colette both join Lydia Goetz’s new knitting class. Lydia’s previous classes have forged lasting friendships, and this one is no exception. But Lydia and her sister, Margaret, have worries of their own. Margaret’s daughter, Julia, has been the victim of a random carjacking, and the entire family is thrown into emotional chaos. Then there’s Alix Townsend. Her wedding to Jordan Turner is only months away– but she’s not sure she can go through with it. Her love for Jordan isn’t in question; what she can’t handle is the whole wedding extravaganza engineered by her mentor, Jacqueline, with the enthusiastic cooperation of her future mother-in-law. A reception at the country club and hundreds of guests she’s never even met– it’s just not Alix. Like everyone else in Lydia’s knitting class, Alix knows there’s a solution to every problem… and that another woman can usually help you find it.

This is the third book in the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. However, I read this is a stand-alone book and really enjoyed it. It did not effect the book at all that I had not read the first two books. I will now be reading them though 🙂

The story follows Lydia, Alix and Colette through family traumas, pregnancy, love and knitting. I found the story similar to The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs in places, yet this did not negatively affect the story. It was very different in places too – such as the wedding and the carjacking. Cancer and people trafficing add a unique depth to the book too.

My favourite character was Aunt Elizabeth. She was warm and intuiative. She loved her family and did all she could to keep them safe. She was instantly likable and friendly. A similar character was Grandma Turner. Both were old, wise women who you just fell in love with.

I enjoyed the whole book. Although a fairly predictible ending I was gripped and was longing for a happy ending. I will be interested in reading the first books and the fourth books.

9/10

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