Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Title: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there’s Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won’t let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best—a masterpiece of a novel that is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.


How to Walk Away by Katherine Center is an uplifting, poignant and funny novel about a woman’s recovery from a plane crash.

Margaret “Maggie” Jacobsen is on the cusp on having everything she ever wanted until her world is upended.  In the aftermath of a terrifying place crash piloted by her long time boyfriend, Chip Dunbar, she struggles to make sense of her life. While Chip pulls a disappearing act, Maggie’s always supportive dad, well-meaning but über controlling mom, and her estranged sister Kitty do everything they can to help her during her recovery. Despite her wonderful nurse’s best efforts, Maggie is paired with gruff and grumpy physical therapist Ian Moffat who turns out to be just the person she needs to lift her flagging spirits. But is Maggie ready to face her new life and all of the unexpected challenges that lie before her?

Even as an adult, Maggie is a dutiful daughter who always follows her Mom’s directions. She is also an overachiever whose intense focus on getting her degree has paid off as a plum job is hers for the taking. Her relationship with Chip is comfortable and somewhat predictable but she is more than happy to say “yes” when he proposes to her. But when her life literally crashes and burns, Maggie’s concentration on her recovery  leaves little time for planning for her new future.

Kitty’s unexpected departure three years earlier occurred after  a horrible fight with her mother. She kept in touch with their father, but Maggie has not seen nor spoken to her in the intervening years. Maggie is quite resistant to Kitty’s attempts to reconcile but her sister is persistent and refuses to take “no” for an answer. Despite her reluctance to resume her relationship with Kitty, her sister turns out to be just what Maggie needs to keep her going when her spirits and confidence flag.

Ian is a more than capable physical therapist but he is not friendly or engaging during his sessions with Maggie.  Maggie is at first disappointed he is not more outgoing or overly talkative but this ultimately turns out to be just the challenge she needs to take her mind off her troubles. She works hard during their sessions and she goes to extreme lengths to break through his icy exterior. When Ian finally shows his human side, it is just what Maggie needs to overcome her latest obstacle. However he shuts down a personal  relationship pretty quickly due to ethical concerns about becoming involved with a patient. He does tend to blow a bit hot and cold with her which is somewhat confusing for Maggie especially after Ian’s boss takes his petty revenge on him.

How to Walk Away is a heartwarming, well-researched novel of second chances and redemption. The characters are well-developed with complex personalities, relatable flaws and hidden strengths.  Maggie undergoes a great deal of personal growth as she overcomes numerous obstacles in the aftermath of a life-altering accident. Katherine Center’s research into Maggie’s medical conditions is impeccable and she does a wonderful job balancing the realistic aspects of her medical conditions with the emotional element of her recovery.  A deeply affecting story that will melt readers’ hearts as Maggie undergoes a difficult journey of healing.

Comments Off on Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Filed under Contemporary, How to Walk Away, Katherine Center, Rated B+, Review, St Martin's Press, Women's Fiction

Comments are closed.