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.