Category Archives: Debbie Macomber

Review: It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber

Title: It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


After her marriage ends, one woman’s struggle to pick up the pieces finally leads to a new beginning but is the past truly behind her? #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber explores the powerful intersections of love and family in this poignant novel.

It’s been nearly six years since Julia Jones had her heart broken. After her husband became involved with another woman, she did everything she could to save their marriage, to no avail. Their two daughters continue to stand by Julia in the wake of their father’s behavior—and they’ve had a tough time getting along with the “other woman” who became their stepmother. Distraught after selling the family home, Julia moves into a condominium complex that offers the warmth and charm of a fresh start. Now, having settled into her new community and sold her successful interior design business, she’s embraced a fulfilling new life, one that doesn’t seem to need a man in it. Her beloved father’s trusty saying is ringing truer than ever: It’s better this way.

But when Julia meets a handsome new resident in the building’s exercise room, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Heath Johnson is a welcome change from the men she’s encountered on the occasional—mostly disastrous—dates her sister has eagerly planned for her over the years. As she and Heath, a divorcé himself, begin to grow close, their friendship blossoms into an unexpected love. However, they soon realize that combining families proves to be a challenge, even though their four children are adults.

When a dramatic revelation threatens the happiness they’ve found, Julia and Heath must reconcile their love for their children with their love for each other. If they can’t, their bright future together may be nothing but a dream.


It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber is a multi-layered novel about love, family and forgiveness.

Six years post-divorce, Julia Jones is content with her life. She lives in a condo she loves and she is semi-retired. Julia and her adult daughters, Hillary and Marie are very close.  It has taken Julia a long time to come to terms with the unexpected end to her marriage and after disastrous dates, she is not looking for a man.

Heath Wilson is also divorced and has given up on relationships. He is semi-retired and he enjoys his downtime.  Heath and his adult sons Michael and Adam get along well and they want nothing more than for their dad to be happy.

Julia and Heath meet under the most innocuous circumstances and they gradually fall into a fun friendship. Both are honest about their horrible dating experiences so they are in agreement to keep things between them platonic.  As they begin spending more and more time together, they are both soon forced to admit they are starting to fall for one another. Deciding to see where their budding romance leads, Julia and Heath delight in their increasingly frequent dates.

As much as Julia enjoys her new relationship, she cannot help but feel it is a matter of time before something goes wrong. And as she soon discovers, a ticking timebomb is about to explode after a shocking revelation. Julia and Heath are dismayed by this unexpected turn of events and they must consider how their relationship will affect their children.

It’s Better This Way is a thought-provoking novel that offers a refreshing peek into the joys and pitfalls of middle-age dating. The characters are vibrantly developed with positive and negative traits that are relatable.  The storyline is engaging with conflict that arises from unanticipated sources. Julia and Heath’s relationship is an absolute joy to watch evolve and grow from friendship to love. With realistic issues to overcome, Debbie Macomber brings this sweet romance to a heartwarming conclusion.

Comments Off on Review: It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber

Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Debbie Macomber, It's Better This Way, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Women's Fiction

Review: A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber

Title: A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Two sisters must learn from each other’s strengths and trust in the redeeming power of love in a touching new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community.

Harper, on the other hand, is always on the go. Overcoming a terrible illness has given her a new lease on life, and she does not intend to waste it. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears she may be pushing herself too far. Harper, for her part, urges Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.

Sean O’Malley is as charming as he is intriguing—a freelance photographer whose assignments take him to the ends of the earth. Soon Willa’s falling for him in a way that is both exciting and terrifying. But life has taught Willa to hedge her bets, and she wonders whether the potential heartache is worth the risk.

Life has more challenges in store for them all. But both sisters will discover that even in the darkest moments, family is everything.


A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber is a poignant novel of family and love.

Willa Lakey is the owner of a popular coffee shop and shares an apartment with her younger sister, Harper. The girls’ mother passed away when they were young and Willa becomes the family caretaker. Their dad falls apart and after graduation, older brother Lucas joins the Army. Willa takes on more of a mother role after Harper’s leukemia diagnosis and although her sister is now healthy, she cannot help but worry about her.  Harper is living life to its fullest and she tries to play matchmaker for Willa with coffee shop customer Sean O’Malley. Willa is resistant at first, but she finally decides to give Sean a chance. But their budding romance is challenged by Sean’s long stretches away from home due to his career that occur just when Willa needs his support the most. Can Willa overcome her fears and give her relationship with Sean another chance?

Willa is quiet and works long hours at her coffee shop. An introvert, she has forced herself out of her comfort zone and she enjoys her daily interactions with her customers.  Willa has not had much time for dating and she is very resistant to Harper’s attempts to convince her Sean is interested in her. She is a little shy and unsure of herself but she cannot deny she likes Sean. But will he convince Willa to give him a chance?

Sean is a passionate freelance photographer who  has worked hard to establish himself. Although photography was not his first career choice, he is much happier with his new life.  Sean has not dated for quite some time and he is very nervous about asking Willa out on a date.  Surprised when she finally says yes, Sean is not quite as forthcoming about his past as he should be.

Sean and Willa’s relationship is surprisingly laidback and quite comfortable. They spend quiet evenings together and talk for hours.  Willa is not happy when Sean must leave for weeks at a time but she understands this is part of his career. However, Sean is not always great at communication and he tries to avoid conflict. A family crisis becomes a pivotal point for Willa and Sean is regretful but will his remorse be enough for Willa?

A Walk Along the Beach is a heartfelt novel that tugs on the heartstrings. Willa, Harper and Sean are vibrantly developed with relatable flaws and strengths. The storyline is well-developed and moves at a brisk pace.  Debbie Macomber brings this deeply affecting novel to a bittersweet yet heartwarming conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this captivating novel.

Comments Off on Review: A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber

Filed under A Walk Along the Beach, Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Debbie Macomber, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Women's Fiction

Review: Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Title: Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A seaside town helps one young woman reclaim the light after darkness in a brand-new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.

Annie Marlow has been through the worst. Rocked by tragedy, she heads to the one place that makes her happy: Oceanside in the Pacific Northwest, the destination of many family vacations when Annie was a teenager.

Once there, Annie begins to restore her broken spirit, thanks in part to the folks she meets: a local painter, Keaton, whose large frame is equal to his big heart—and who helps Annie fix up her rental cottage by the sea; Mellie, the reclusive, prickly landlord Annie is determined to befriend; and Britt, a teenager with a terrible secret. But it is Keaton to whom Annie feels most drawn. His quiet, peaceful nature offers her both comfort and reprieve from her grief, and the two begin to grow closer.

Then events threaten to undo the idyll Annie has come to enjoy. And when the opportunity of a lifetime lands in her lap, she is torn between the excitement of a new journey toward success and the safe and secure arms of the haven—and the man—she’s come to call home.

In this heartwarming tale, Annie finds that the surest way to fix what is damaged within is to help others rise above their pain and find a way to heal.


Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber is a heartfelt novel of healing and love.

Growing up, Annie Marlow and her family enjoyed one carefree week every summer as they vacationed in Beachside.  Having difficulty moving past a terrible tragedy, she decides to return to Beachside in an attempt to restart her life. In a stroke of luck, she is hired as a physician assistant in the town’s small health clinic. Annie then appeals to Seth Keaton to convince Mellie Johnson to allow her to rent the quaint cottage where she and her family stayed during their yearly summer vacation. Settling quickly into her new life, Annie is finally recovering from her loss. Her endearing friendship with Keaton gradually evolves into a heartwarming romance, but will an unexpected opportunity destroy Annie and Keaton’s future together?

Annie is quite surprised to rediscover happiness when she relocates to Beachside but she embraces every part of her life. She immediately feels comfortable with Keaton and she cherishes their time together. She is disappointed as her attempts to befriend Mellie are continually rebuffed, but tiny victories help her remain optimistic that she and her gruff, rough around the edges landlady will eventually become friends. Annie also strikes up an unlikely friendship with teenager Britt McDuffee, but her attempt to help the family backfires and their tenuous bond is threatened.

Keaton is a gentle giant who is the epitome of the strong, silent type. He is quite caring and compassionate and aided by Mellie and his close friend Preston, they rescue abused and abandoned animals. His relationship with his father is practically non-existent due to his father’s antipathy toward his only child. Keaton is enthralled by Annie and despite his usual discomfort with strangers, he is surprisingly at ease when they are together.

With a sweet and understated romance, Cottage by the Sea is an emotionally compelling novel of recovery. Annie is a lovely woman whose survivor’s guilt is misplaced but understandable. Keaton is very protective but his harsh childhood has definitely left a mark on him. Oceanside is an idyllic setting and its inhabitants are warm and welcoming. Old and new fans of  Debbie Macomber are sure to love this uplifting and engaging novel.

Comments Off on Review: Cottage by the Sea by Debbie Macomber

Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Cottage by the Sea, Debbie Macomber, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Women's Fiction

Review: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Title: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Inspirational
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Beloved bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a powerful standalone novel about a woman forced to start her life anew, embarking on the most courageous journey of all—to a place where she learns what love and trust really mean.

Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.

Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.

But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.


Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber is an uplifting novel of redemption, second chances and love. This substantive story also includes an element of faith that is not just spiritual since a major part of the storyline centers around the belief that people can and will prevail as they attempt to turn their lives around after making disastrous life choices.

Drew Douglas is the pastor of a Seattle Church but after the death of his beloved wife Katie three years earlier, he is still struggling with lingering grief and a loss of faith. His surprise meeting with Shay Benson changes his life, but initially, not in a romantic sense. In helping her, he finds his way back to the friends and mentors he gradually allowed to slip out of his life after Katie’s death. As he becomes more engaged in life, Drew finally recognizes that he is battling more than just grief and a crisis of faith. Once he begins to emerge from the darkness that has shrouded him, Drew finds a renewed purpose and joy in his ministry. He occasionally sees Shay during this year of recovery and once both of their lives are back on track, the two form a surprising friendship that gradually deepens into love.

A dysfunctional and abusive childhood set Shay on a self-destructive path at a young age. Her poor choices also affected her brother Caden after she introduces him to her drug dealing and addicted boyfriend. On the brink of leaving er past behind, Shay’s loyalty to Caden and her guilt over involving him in her ill-fated choices results in a terrible decision that culminates with severe consequences for her. Three years later, Shay is once again presented with an opportunity to make a better life for herself, but can she bring herself to believe she is worthy of this second chance?

The friendship between Shay and Drew is quite sweet but there are quite a few obstacles they both must overcome before exploring the unexpected romance that springs up between them. Shay is constantly striving to quiet the little voice in her head that tries to convince her she does not deserve a better life.She is incredibly kindhearted and never hesitates to welcome those less fortunate into her life and her heart. While she is at first skeptical of letting God into her life, a newfound faith finally becomes an integral part of Shay’s life.

Drew is initially somewhat hesitant to bring Shay into both his and his children’s lives but he cannot deny he is drawn to her. Several people in his congregation question his judgment and he draws upon Scripture to gently, yet pointedly, make his case for welcoming her into their fold. A few issues crop up along the way that seem to indicate he might have made a precipitous decision to trust Shay but Drew’s faith in her does not waver. However, when a situation spirals out of control, will Drew be forced to decide between his church and Shay?

Any Dream Will Do is a truly inspiring novel that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to turn their life around. The romance between Shay and Drew is quite touching, but their relationship is secondary to the growth of the characters. &Shay’s journey is compelling and her emotions, regrets and doubts are realistically depicted. Drew’s struggle to regain his lost faith and overcome the loss of his wife are portrayed with stark honesty. The storyline also touches on social problems such as homelessness and addiction in a forthright and sensitive manner. This newest release by Debbie Macomber is a captivating story of hope, love and faith that will linger in readers’ hearts and minds long after the last page is turned.

Comments Off on Review: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

Filed under Any Dream Will Do, Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Debbie Macomber, Inspirational, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber

Title: If Not for You by Debbie Macomber
New Beginnings Series Book Three
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 386 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


#1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber has written an emotionally stirring novel that shows how sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it’s absolutely right.

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she’s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. If not for her friend Nichole, Beth would never have met Sam Carney, although first impressions have left Beth with serious doubts. Sam is everything Beth is not—and her parents’ worst nightmare: a tattooed auto mechanic who’s rough around the edges. Reserved and smart as a whip, Beth isn’t exactly Sam’s usual beer-drinking, pool-playing type of woman, either.

But if not for an awkward setup one evening, Beth might never have left early and been involved in a car crash. And if not for Sam—who witnessed the terrifying ordeal, rushed to her aid, and stayed with her until help arrived—Beth might have been all alone, or worse. Yet as events play out, Sam feels compelled to check on Beth almost daily at the hospital—even bringing his guitar to play songs to lift her spirits. Soon their unlikely friendship evolves into an intense attraction that surprises them both.

Before long, Beth’s strong-willed mother, Ellie, blows into town spouting harsh opinions, especially about Sam, and reopening old wounds with Sunshine. When shocking secrets from Sam’s past are revealed, Beth struggles to reconcile her feelings. But when Beth goes a step too far, she risks losing the man and the life she’s come to love.


If Not for You by Debbie Macomber is a delightfully charming novel of new beginnings, healing and love. Although this latest installment is the third in the wonderfully heartwarming New Beginnings series, it can be read as a standalone.

Beth Prudhomme is fighting hard to reclaim her life from her overbearing mother and relocating to Portland, OR and a new job as a high school music teacher is a great start to her new life.  She is very hesitant to accept her friend Nichole’s invitation to meet her and her husband’s friend, Sam Carney, but Beth’s Aunt Sunshine convinces her to stretch her wings a little further.  Unfortunately, the introduction is as uncomfortable as she feared and although Sam is a nice enough man, she knows the rough around the edges mechanic is not the man for her.  Which makes it all the more surprising when Sam proves to be Beth’s biggest comfort and source of support after she is involved in a serious car accident the same night as their blind date.

Sam is just as wary as Beth when his friend Rocco invites him to dinner to meet Beth.  After having his heart broken years earlier, he does not have any interest in relationships or love.  He has no interest in seeing her again but after witnessing the horrible collision, Sam just cannot seem to stay away from Beth’s bedside.

Despite their inauspicious first meeting and their mutual conviction they have nothing in common, Sam and Beth are both amazed by how much they enjoy each other’s company during Beth’s rehabilitation from the car accident.  They each look forward to spending time together and they are astonished by how easily conversation flows between them. Beth and Sam’s relationship runs deeper than friendship but given Sam’s aversion to dating, they do not discuss or think too deeply about what comes next for them.

In spite of the ease in which Sam and Beth fall into a relationship, not everything is roses and sunshine between them.   Beth is still struggling to overcome her need to please her mother and avoidance of these issues only takes her so far in resolving their strained relationship.  Beth also makes a mistake when she refuses to stand up to her domineering mother.  Her mom is also quite insulting when she meets face to face with Sam, but fortunately, he does not allow her disparaging comments and haughty attitude affect their relationship.  Instead, Sam’s doubts and insecurities lead him to make an ill-thought out decision that has the potential to backfire on him.  Beth is also guilty of putting together well-intentioned schemes that sometimes end with painful consequences for the people she loves the most.

If Not for You by Debbie Macomber is a sweet, clean romance that is the perfect example of the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover”. Despite the odds being against the very proper music teacher and the blue-collar mechanic, Beth and Sam are a surprisingly well-suited couple with plenty of chemistry. This lovely addition to the uplifting New Beginnings series is a mostly conflict-free love story with a great cast of characters, a couple of heartfelt reconciliations and a touching conclusion.

1 Comment

Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Debbie Macomber, If Not for You, New Beginnings Series, Rated B+, Review, Romance

Review: Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber

Title: Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 290 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Continuing in a festive annual tradition, #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a new original holiday novel full of romance and cheer—and the magical prospect of finding love in the most unexpected places.

Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness.

To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.


Twelve Days of Christmas by Debbie Macomber is a heartwarming holiday romance that carries a lovely reminder to treat others with kindness.

Julia Padden is blessed with an upbeat and sunny personality but her neighbor Cain Maddox is not buying her friendly act.  While venting to her best friend Cammie about his grumpy attitude, her friend suggests that she go out of her way to be kind to him. Cammie also encourages Julia to blog about her experiment to build her following and hopefully secure the social media job she is vying for. So for the next twelve days, Julia redoubles her efforts to be nice to her cranky neighbor and much to her amazement, her blog attracts a huge following who offer suggestions and helpful advice on how to win over Cain.  She is also pleasantly surprised  by the positive changes in herself as she continues being kind to Cain despite his initial indifference.

After a lifetime of heartache, Cain is standoffish and emotionally closed off.  He is devoted to his grandfather but with everyone else, he holds them at arms’ length.  He is definitely not a morning person and he resents Julia’s endless chatter and unrelenting optimism.  Convinced she is putting on an act, Cain resists her friendly overtures until he realizes that she is genuinely nice.  Slowly but surely, Julia begins to chip away at his defenses, but once he finds out about her blog, will his trust issues ruin their chance at happiness?

Although the story takes place over a course of twelve days, the relationship between Julia and Cain is believable and grows naturally as they become friends.  At first, Julia does not give Cain the benefit of the doubt as she seethes over his unfriendly attitude and somewhat questionable actions.  For his part, Cain is suspicious that Julia is only being nice so she can get something from him, but he relaxes his guard once he is assured she is perky and friendly to everyone. The shift from reluctant friendship to romance is gradual but realistic  as Julia and Cain take the time to get to know each other. But trouble awaits since Julia is reluctant to tell him about her blog.  Will Cain forgive her once he knows the real reason she was being so nice in the beginning?

With a cast of charming characters, a conflict free, unique storyline and a sweet love story, Twelve Days of Christmas is an absolutely delightful read.  Old and new fans of Debbie Macomber are going to love this uplifting romance that perfectly captures the holiday spirit.

1 Comment

Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, Debbie Macomber, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Twelve Days of Christmas