All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Starting Now – Debbie Macomber

on April 7, 2013

Starting NowStarting Now (Blossom Street #9)
Debbie Macomber
Random House AU
2013, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Libby Morgan has never really gotten over losing her mother to cancer when she was just a teenager. She’s made her whole life about her mother’s wishes for her – work hard, be the best you can be. Now Libby is an attorney for a well respected law firm and she works all the hours under the sun. When she’s called in for a meeting with one of the partners, Libby is thrilled. She expects to be told that she’s being made a partner…but instead Libby is informed that times are tough and she is being laid off. Her former boss has some words of advice for her – get out there and live her life. Make friends, have a life away from work. Otherwise she will regret it.

Smarting from the dismissal, Libby struggles to find another job and is out of work for months. Meeting an old uni friend for lunch one day, she goes along with her to the yarn shop across the road, A Good Yarn. Run by Lydia Goetz, the shop sells all sorts of yarn and often holds classes for the local community. Libby finds herself chatting to Lydia’s daughter Casey and Casey’s friend Ava and agrees to help them knit hats for the preemie babies at Seattle General.

Libby might not have a job but she suddenly finds her life full in ways that she never previously imagined. She knits hats for the preemie babies and finds herself volunteering in the nursery, to hold them and sing to them. She meets Dr Phillip Stone, a handsome neonatal surgeon and begins a budding friendship. She enjoys joining a gym and reconnecting with her friend Robin and has dreams about opening her own firm, a small one where the workload will be less. And most of all she forms a special bond with Ava when it’s clear that Ava is in trouble and needs help and support.

Then Libby experiences heartbreak, which influences her choices and before she knows it, all of her good work has been undone. Will she be able to find that perfect balance of life and work or is everything that she’s come to hold dear to her incompatible with her working life?

I like the Blossom Street books. I’ve been reading them for a while now – they remind me of my Nan  who got me started on the first one. She used to supply all my books. She buys widely but she reads only once and then passes them on. When I was a poor Uni student, she kept a steady flow of new books crossing my door. When she told me she had a book she thought I’d like about a wool shop, I rolled my eyes. Daggy, much? But I promised to try it and even though these are saccharine sweet, I found myself immersed in the little Blossom Street community. I still continue to read them and this one is a rather nice installment.

Libby is a textbook workaholic – she’s already had one marriage fail because of her devotion to her job, her single minded focus on making partner and the fact that her husband couldn’t ever see her compromising  She has almost no friends, no life outside of work. She lives in a lovely condo but she hasn’t bothered to decorate it. Take away her work and Libby is left with almost nothing – she has to rebuild her life from the ground up, finding herself some hobbies, some friends, things to do and fill her time. She’s never particularly had many social skills – she thinks one of the reasons that she was let go was because she didn’t bring in many accounts. She works on this area almost without noticing as she begins meeting people and forming friendships, even finding some potential professional connections. Libby grew much more likable as the novel went on although there was always a bit of a tenseness to her, like she was never quite fully relaxed. She didn’t seem to realise how much stock she’d placed in her mother’s words to her, or how much pressure she’d piled upon herself to live up to them.

Watching Libby unwind, make friends and come to care for things other than work was rather satisfying but there were still times when I wanted to shake a bit of sense into her, especially when it came to her budding friendship/relationship with Dr Phillip Stone. Libby does her best to sabotage this several times despite the fact that it should have been ridiculously easy. I think the romance element could’ve been a little stronger – I know it’s not the primary focus of the Blossom St novels but it’s always a rather strong secondary plot and I would’ve liked a little more work put into developing the chemistry between Phillip and Libby rather than just having it magically exist. I thought the way in which Macomber developed the bond between Libby and Ava had a much defter touch. Ava’s was a difficult story line to balance, it’s a rather contentious subject and in a series where religion can creep in, it was fantastic to see that the entire novel was without one ounce of judgement. I do appreciate the way that Macomber played it out as well. There was a chance it looked like going down an unbelievable and slightly ethically wrong path but it was swiftly righted and although that caused Libby pain, it was probably a much better, more realistic and more appropriate way to end the story.

A very solid contribution to a series that I have a soft spot for.

8/10

Book #84 of 2013

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4 responses to “Starting Now – Debbie Macomber

  1. Marg says:

    9 books in the series already??? I think I stopped at number 4 or something.

  2. I have read series #9 and wowwwwwwwwww fantastic,keep up those series coming.
    Loved every one

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