Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Review: Starting Now by Debbie Macomber

Starting Now by Debbie Macomber
Ballantine Books
April 2013
Format: Hardcover, 352 pages
Source: Library book

First line: This was it.

From the inside cover: #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle’s beloved Blossom Street in this heartfelt tale of friendship, renewal, and discovering what’s truly important in life.

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.

Warmly told and richly textured, Starting Now is filled with the promise of new beginnings and the unending delights of companionship and love.

My thoughts: Oh how I have missed Debbie Macomber's Blossom Street series. I was thrilled to see a new book was coming out and put it on reserve as soon as it was in the library system, which put me first in the long line of those waiting for the book.

It's been a while since we last got to visit Blossom Street and the characters we've come to meet, and while some of the familiar characters make appearances here, Starting Now really focuses on Libby and Ava. Libby has given her whole life to making partner at the law firm she works at until, due to the economy, she is laid off. Suddenly having nothing but time on her hands while she tries to find another job, she realizes that life has past her by. Taking the advice her mentor and former boss gave her to heart, she really tries to enjoy life. Deciding to take up the knitting she put by the wayside when her mother had died many years ago, she develops friendships that slowly become a priority in her life. Most importantly, she develops a relationship with young Ava, a kindred spirit who is also dealing with the death of her mother. 

Forced into looking at what is important in life, she starts down a new path in life that includes going to the gym every day, volunteering at the local hospital, meeting and developing new friendships and even finding that someone special who challenges her at times but is always there to lend his support.

I really enjoyed this story and felt that I could relate to Libby on a number of levels. While I have never been laid off, I have found myself in the position that I needed to evaluate my life and what is important. It's not an easy road, and we each do what we believe will make us happy, but reading about others in similar situations makes it that much easier to move on.

I love how Debbie Macomber includes a knitting pattern at the back of these books even though I don't knit. I find that these patterns inspire me to look for similar ones for crocheting. The pattern in this book is for a baby hat - a project that Libby got involved in during the story -  and it's so timely, as I was just in the hospital this past weekend visiting my newest niece and she had on the cutest cap. I took a close look at the cap and thought to myself that I could probably make them myself...I think I might have found a new project for myself!!! Does that ever happen to you - you read a book and get inspired to do something the character in the story does?

Books in this series: 
     1.   The Shop on Blossom Street
     2.   A Good Yarn
        2.5   "What Amanda Wants" in More Than Words, Volume 2
     3.   Susannah's Garden
     4.   Back on Blossom Street
        4.5   Christmas Letters
     5.   Twenty Wishes
        5.5   "The Twenty-First Wish" in Knitting Diaries
     6.   Summer on Blossom Street
     7.   Hannah's List
     8.   A Turn in the Road 

     9.   Starting Now



  1. What a wonderful story! I had intentions of starting this series a long time ago. I even checked the first book out at the library but time slipped up and it was time to turn it in. I never got back around to it but you've inspired me to try again. Thanks for a great review.

    1. I would definitely recommend this series - it's great!

  2. Everytime I read a book in this series I am convinced I will learn to knit. Hasn't happened yet. Glad you enjoyed the book.

    1. I think about learning to knit, but then I remember how hard it was for me to learn to crochet b/c I am left-handed so I decide against it - plus I enjoy the crocheting and have been making really cute baby blankets lately!

  3. I have a review galley and hope to read it soon. Glad to see you liked it! I'm probably not a good enough knitter to tackle one of Debbie's patterns BUT I signed up for a crochet class at my local indie yarn shop today :)

    1. Have fun at the class...I went to a crochet group at my library a few times and it was fun! Now I just tend to crochet at home while watching tv.

    2. I like to listen to audiobooks while I knit so I'm hoping to catch up on some of those as I practice crochet.

  4. I have read them all and loved them. Am not a crafty person, no knitting is not for me. I did knit patches years ago but never did make that blanket. LOL.

    1. It is a great series and each book touches on something different. I toy with learning to knit, but am not sure I will ever do it. Being left-handed, I had a hard enough time learning to crochet!

  5. I want to get back to this series! Twenty Wishes was the last one I read, and interestingly enough, I was reading it in LA in 2008 during BEA...and where I saw Debbie herself signing books.

    Thanks for reminding me that I want to join this Blossom Street gang again!


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