Cephalopod Coffeehouse Feb 2016–A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON–A Review

Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.

I’m so excited to share a review for a newly-released novel from best-selling author Debbie Macomber. A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON is a bittersweet book about two women rebuilding their lives after leaving their cheating husbands.

A Girl's Guide to Moving On (New Beginnings, #2)About the book:

In this powerful and uplifting novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber, a mother and her daughter-in-law bravely leave their troubled marriages and face the challenge of starting over. Leaning on each other, Nichole and Leanne discover that their inner strength and capacity for love are greater than they ever imagined.

When Nichole discovers that her husband, Jake, has been unfaithful, the illusion of her perfect life is indelibly shattered. While juggling her young son, a new job, and volunteer work, Nichole meets Rocco, who is the opposite of Jake in nearly every way. Though blunt-spoken and rough around the edges, Rocco proves to be a dedicated father and thoughtful friend. But just as their relationship begins to blossom, Jake wagers everything on winning Nichole back—including their son Owen’s happiness. Somehow, Nichole must find the courage to defy her fears and follow her heart, with far-reaching consequences for them all.

Leanne has quietly ignored her husband’s cheating for decades, but is jolted into action by the echo of Nichole’s all-too-familiar crisis. While volunteering as a teacher of English as a second language, Leanne meets Nikolai, a charming, talented baker from Ukraine. Resolved to avoid the heartache and complications of romantic entanglements, Leanne nonetheless finds it difficult to resist Nikolai’s effusive overtures—until an unexpected tragedy tests the very fabric of her commitments.

An inspiring novel of friendship, reinvention, and hope, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On affirms the ability of every woman to forge a new path, believe in love, and fearlessly find happiness.

My review:

4.5 Stars for this double heartbreak, double romance story.

The title is completely accurate.  Leanne and Nichole are women who suffer the same ailment: cheating husbands. Leanne is Nichole’s mother-in-law who suffered 35 years in a loveless marriage to a philandering husband, Sean. When she learns that her son Jake is following Sean’s misguided footsteps, she informs Nichole, stay-at-home mother to her only grandchild Owen. Nichole does what Leanne never had the strength to do: walks away. And this gives Leanne the courage to get a divorce as well.

The book opens two years after this marital discord, with Leanne and Nichole having apartments in the same building and having built a close and loving relationship. Leanne dotes on Owen and assists with childcare as Nichole struggles to provide for herself. Her divorce has not been finalized because Jake has blocked her at every step, in the effort to wear her down and coax her into returning to him. Sean had no compunctions regarding the loss of his marriage; couldn’t wait to get Leanne out of his life and home. They’d maintained separate bedrooms for years.

In order to stay focused on the positive, and not get mired in depression, Leanne and Nichole build a “guide” of four tenets to see them through. They have to let go of their hurt, to volunteer, to build new friendships, and be open to new experiences. These principles form a strong foundation, but can’t keep out all the hurt.

That said, it is through these outreaches that both Leanne and Nichole find new love for themselves and with new partners. Men who are completely different from their suave, wealthy, cultured ex-husbands are able to turn Leanne and Nichole’s heads by being kind, compassionate, honest and sincere. The road to happiness is long, arduous and littered with missteps, however. I really admired these characters and how they kept their cool amid some contentious encounters. Jake is a selfish manipulative jerk who is unsettled by Nichole’s desire to start over. His double standard is classic and nearly comical. Sean’s got no interest in Leanne until he witnesses another man finding her attractive. And, yet, Leanne has some unfinished business with Sean that can only be handled with time and careful attention.

This is a heavy read. There is hope and heartbreak, in roughly equal measure. The ending is well done, with characters who make positive choices for themselves and find healing and happiness again. It was interesting to notice the details that were important to these women. Having been lied to to and cheated on, how they interacted with other men was measured and guarded. That felt so incredibly real, and approachable, as a reader. The love stories that build here are very sweet and so tender. That said, it’s a squeaky-clean romance, with constant attention to religious interest–so I expect this will be a bestseller for the Christian readership. I had wished for a little more intimacy, to be truthful. Part of the book read like a journal, with both Nichole and Leanne speaking directly to the reader. It didn’t unsettle me, as I prefer first-person close POV, but it might be an issue for other readers.

Interested? You can find A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other discount book outlets like Target, WalMart and your library, undoubtedly. I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Thanks for popping in. Be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers sharing their fave books of the month. And, keep reading my friends!

9 thoughts on “Cephalopod Coffeehouse Feb 2016–A GIRL’S GUIDE TO MOVING ON–A Review

  1. Debbie Macomber’s popularity in the library I work for has exploded over the past three years. I was always reluctant about reading her, but I might have to check this out! I usually like heavy things, but sad I can take too. I’m currently reading a sad book for a book discussion, so this might be after I finish the other sad books.

    • I’m not surprised regarding her popularity, she’s got a few books that have been made into Hallmark Christmas movies. It’s a good story, but I always like to caution readers when there are triggers. Divorce, infidelity and depression are general warnings I’d give this book. That’s not necessarily bad for readers–but they can be deal-breakers for others.
      Thanks for popping by!

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