Category: women’s fiction; contemporary romance
Series: Blossom Street #9
Publisher: Ballentine Books, 2013
Book Source: Publisher ARC won in Goodreads giveaway
For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.
With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.
As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear. (publisher description)
You can always rely on Debbie Macomber to deliver a heartwarming comfort book, and she’s done it again with Starting Now. The plot and character development are pretty predictable, but that’s part of the charm of Debbie Macomber – you know you won’t run into any unpleasant surprises, and you can always count on finishing the book with a smile.
I really like Libby, and enjoyed watching her figure out what was really important to her. As a character, she has depth and dimension. Her decisions and actions are consistent with who she is and who she is becoming, even when her choices are bad ones. It’s wonderful to see her blossoming into the person she is really meant to be. Phillip is a good match for her, but at times he doesn’t seem quite as well delineated. A few of the changes he undergoes feel a little abrupt or arbitrary, stemming more from the needs of the plot than from his own personality. But he is still an enjoyable character.
The situation with young Ava is heartbreaking and sadly realistic. Ava seems to bounce back from it a little too easily, but that may be in part because the epilogue comes a full year later. Still, I was a little surprised there is no mention of counseling or other support for Ava, beyond Libby’s friendship – though that by itself is central to the story.
One thing I did wish for was more of the yarn shop and its habitués. Lydia and Casey and their family are important secondary characters, but there wasn’t as much knitting-group camaraderie as I would have liked. Then again, I’m a knitter, so that appeals to me; other people may feel there’s just enough!
Despite these minor quibbles, Starting Now is solidly satisfying, a welcome addition to the Macomber canon. Don’t worry if you haven’t read any of the other Blossom Street novels; Starting Now can stand on its own.
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Rating: 3.5 stars