Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber

Sometimes, a Debbie Macomber book has just the right amount of tears, along with the happy ending. Her latest, A Girl's Guide to Moving On, is one of those novels.

With dual narrators, Macomber allows her characters to tell the story of turning points in their lives. Nichole thought she had the perfect marriage, a son she adored, Owen, and a loving husband. But, it was her mother-in-law, Leanne, who told her that her husband, Jake, was cheating on her. Leanne had lived through that for over thirty-four years with her husband, Sean, and saw no reason Nichole should live the kind of life she did. It took courage, but the two women supported each other in filing for divorces. Leanne's went through quickly. Almost two years later, Jake was still fighting Nichole over every little detail.

Together, the women form a support group of two. They even come up with rules to guide their changing lives. The first rule was to volunteer, so Leanne teaches night school classes for adults learning English as a second language. Nichole helps at a dress shop where they help women who are going into the workplace for the first time. They also agree to form new friendships; let go in order to receive; and love yourself.

That "love yourself" is difficult. On the day Jake calls and says he finally signed the divorce paperwork, Nichole backs her car into a ditch. A half an hour later, Rocco Nyquist, a tow truck driver, pulls her car out. But, the handsome driver is willing to bargain. The single father needs advice with his fifteen-year-old daughter, and Nichole seems just the person to help.

Leanne seems to have moved on beautifully, but, inside she's still insecure, feeling "unloved and unloveable" after the remarks Sean made to her. It takes a Ukrainian student in her classes, Nikolai Janchanko, who makes her laugh and bakes her bread, to help her see herself differently.

As much as Nichole and Leanne want to move on, though, they still have unbreakable bonds with the men they divorced. Will those bonds threaten future happiness?

This time, Debbie Macomber has written a novel about women's relationships, with men, with each other, with their sons. It's an inspiring story, showing women rising over their problems, as they struggle to move on. Perhaps it's the point of view of the two narrators, though, Nichole and Leanne, that adds the one disturbing note. As much as I enjoyed the story, I never felt as if I truly knew the women. For some reason, their characters were just not as developed as I would have liked. But, the two men, Rocco and Nikolai, seemed to jump from the pages.

Saying that, I'll still highly recommend A Girl's Guide to Moving On. It may be fiction, but those rules themselves are excellent points for any woman moving on with her life. And, as I said, there are those tearjerker moments in a positive story. Again, excellent reasons to pick up the latest novel from Debbie Macomber.

Debbie Macomber's website is

A Girl's Guide to Moving On by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine Books. 2016. ISBN 9780553391923 (hardcover), 339p.

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book


Rosemary said...

Hi Lesa,

Debbie Macomber is a kind of secret addiction for me! I do enjoy her books, even though I can't stop myself getting wound up by her style sometimes. The characters can be a bit cardboard - I liked Lydia who ran the yarn shop, but some of the others are less memorable. I like the way characters from one book often pop up in another - it's something my beloved Barbara Pym used to do a lot, and it's fun to find out what happened to people after 'their' story ended.

I think part of the reason Debbie M so popular is that she writes so honestly - she doesn't pretend to be anything she's not, and she always shows that there's hope at the end of every tunnel (to mix a few metaphors...)

Good reads for rainy days and tired times I think.

And I loved all the photos of St Charles - what a great place to visit.

Best wishes from a wet and windy Edinburgh,


Lesa said...


I'll always take those notes and best wishes from Edinburgh. It feels like a hug to get a lengthy note from you. You're right. That's exactly what it felt. The women, despite the fact they were the narrators, felt like they were cardboard. The men? Not so much. But, the story and the message was so good. And, I know Leanne was in a previous book. So was Nichole because I remember the storyline about her sister. It is like returning to old friends.

Hugs, my friend!


Rosemary said...

And hugs back Lesa! Hope you got lots of Easter chocolate :)

My Recent Favorite Books said...

Great review, thanks!

I'm really enjoying this book!