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Posts Tagged ‘Debbie Macomber’

blissOne of my favorite holiday-themed tales is my friend Mary Kay Andrews’ Blue Christmas, which is warm, sweet and funny, complete with a hilarious turkey-carving disaster. So I blissfully gobbled up Christmas Bliss (St. Martin’s, purchased e-book), which is the diverting follow-up, featuring more of Weezie and Bebe’s excellent adventures. It’s the week before Christmas and Weezie is prepping for her small Christmas Eve wedding to Daniel, Savannah’s hottest chef. Except Daniel’s showing off his culinary expertise to the sultry owner of a chi-chi restaurant in Manhattan. Meanwhile, bestie Bebe is happily and heavily pregnant, juggling her job on Tybee, renovations on a new house, and worries about her charter-boat captain beau Harry’s career. As Weezie hops on a plane for a surprise trip to New York, Bebe is left with mischievous mutt Jethro and the burning secret that she is still married to her snake of an ex-husband. All sorts of complications ensue — including Weezie losing both her coat and shoes in separate big-city mishaps, and Bebe enduring a baby shower — but Andrews neatly wraps up the intersecting storylines into a package that’s merry and bright.

starryDebbie Macomber’s Starry Night (Random House, digital galley) is about as improbable as me shedding pounds over the holidays, but at least it’s a no-cal treat. Chicago reporter Carrie Slayton hopes to trade the society beat for hard news with an exclusive interview with best-selling wilderness author Finn Dalton. Only the reclusive Finn never gives interviews, not even when Carrie eventually tracks him to Alaska and hires a bush pilot to drop her off  at Finn’s isolated cabin with a snowstorm howling at her heels. Forced together in close quarters, the odd couple find some common ground, but their mutual attraction isn’t great enough to overcome Finn’s issues with love-’em-and-leave-’em women like his mom and his ex. Carrie returns to Chicago without her scoop or Finn — until he comes looking for her. Awwww. 

fourthA snowstorm also plays Cupid in Susan Mallery’s Christmas on 4th Street (Harlequin, digital gallery), another winning entry in her Fool Gold’s series of contemporary romances. It’s only slightly more realistic than Starry Night, but Mallery’s fans are used to almost-magical events in the small California town. Putting tragedy behind her, Noelle Perkins forsakes her law career to open the Christmas Attic shop on 4th Street. She’s brimming with holiday cheer, unlike Army surgeon Gabriel Boylan, coming off a hard tour overseas to visit his brother. Gabriel is undecided about his next move, although his exacting drill sergeant dad expects him to continue in the military. Lovely Noelle has him considering his options, but their romance craters until the aforementioned storm and an ensuing avalanche intervene. Sweet.

flynnKatie Flynn’s A Christmas to Remember (Random House Adult Trade, digital galley) is one of several books by popular British authors to be released globally as e-books. Flynn’s warm-hearted tale is a bit soapy and predictable, covering seven years after World War II as young Tess Williams grows up in Liverpool, where food is still rationed and times are hard. Living with her grandmother Edie above a hat shop, bright Tess makes friends with widower tobacconist Albert Payne, tangles with mean girl Marilyn, is torn between the affections of farmer boy Jonty and city boy Snowy, and wonders whether to go to university or get a job. An accident and then a stray cat set her on an unexpected path. All’s well that ends well with another memorable holiday. More for fans of East Enders than Downton Abbey, although I like both.

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Toss these two novels in the beach bag to share with your mom, sisters, daughters, gal pals. Easy reading that still illuminates the ties of family and friendship.

Best-selling romance writer Debbie Macomber’s eighth entry in her Blossom Street series, A Turn in the Road, takes three generations of women from Seattle to Florida on an eventful car trip.

Six years ago, Bethanne Hamlin’s husband, Grant, left her for a younger woman. Distraught and humiliated, she dreamed of the day he’d admit his mistake and come back to her and their two children. But now that day has arrived, Bethanne’s not sure she can ever trust him again.

Putting off a decision, she instead volunteers to drive with her ex-mother-in-law to Vero Beach for Ruth’s 50th high school reunion. Then her college-age daughter Annie, who is having boyfriend trouble, decides she’ll go, too. Of course, both Annie and Ruth would love to see Bethanne reunite with contrite Grant. By the way, he’ll be flying to Orlando for a real estate conference while they’re in Florida.

But before Grant can personally plead his case once more, the women make a few sidetrips, and Bethanne meets Max, a helpful biker hiding a painful past.

Turns out Max, whose path again intersects with Bethanne’s in Las Vegas, isn’t the only one hiding things.  Widowed Ruth is hoping she’ll see her high school sweetheart, Royce, at the reunion, although he may not want to see her. Her long-ago “Dear John’’ letter hurt him badly. Ruth can’t bring herself to dial the number Annie found on her laptop.

Macomber may have left Seattle, but she’s on familiar emotional territory. She chronicles her characters’ conflicted feelings with customary warmth and gentle humor. Ruth drags Annie to an Andy Williams concert in Branson. Once in Florida, Bethanne and Annie conspire to recreate Ruth’s high school prom.  Grant is surprised to find he has a rival and intensifies his courtship.

New love. Old love. Love lost and found. What’s not to like?

The three women in Wendy Wax’s new novel Ten Beach Road are strangers to one another at book’s beginnings.

Still, homemaker Madeline Singer, TV home show host/architect Avery Lawford, and professional matchmaker Nikki Grant all lost their savings to Ponzi schemer Malcolm Dyer. He’s nowhere to be found, but the trustees trying to sort out his mess have awarded each woman a one-third share in a beachfront mansion on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Alas, Bella Flora has seen far better days, and the Mediterranean Revival house at Pass-a-Grille needs a major renovation if it’s ever going to sell. The women strike a deal with hunky contractor Chase Hardin, a frenemy of Avery’s youth, to provide the elbow grease to restore Bella Flora to her former glory.

Wax dutifully details the womens’ mishaps with mops, ladders and polyurethane over the summer, providing each with a crowded backstory as they hammer out their new makeshift friendship.

Maddie worries over her now-jobless husband back in Atlanta, while her single pregnant daughter arrives with a video camera.  Avery, still smarting from her divorce from a handsome heel, can’t stand Chase’s condescending chauvinism.  And glamorous Nikki is harboring a secret that will affect them all.

Then there’s a hurricane.

Ten Beach Road makes for diverting reading, both in spite of and because of its predictability.  As the tide turns. . .

Open Book: I read a digital edition of Debbie Macomber’s A Turn in the Road (MIRA) through NetGalley, and Wendy Wax’s publicist sent me an advance copy of  Ten Beach Road (Berkley Trade Paperback). They’re just the first in a wave of summer books I’m enjoying. More to come!

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