October 2015 2My friend Linda and I have a bit of a Debbie Macomber “thing” going on, and as I allegedly have more room in my (bursting-with-books) house, I offered to curate the joint collection. That’s partly (though not completely) how the situation pictured left arose (see how it happened here). Now, the clutter of books not even in a proper pile was distressing me a little, so I decided to go for some quick wins, and worked my way through the Blossom Street books that I hadn’t yet read …

Debbie Macomber – “Hannah’s List”

I’ve talked before about how books with husbands and wives who have affairs and / or die have been bothering me since I got married (this also came up when I read “Twenty Wishes“), but as Linda and I have agreed before, there’s something about the safe and essentially kind world of Debbie Macomber that means you can read about all sorts of horribles and still be OK. So, this one was worrying, but was also fine.

Michael’s wife Hannah died a year before this book opens, and she’s left him a letter in which she gives him a list of three women, all of whom she’d be happy to see him marry. He steels himself to meet all three, and they all learn something about themselves and love along the way. While this might seem a bit trite, it’s actually really well done and convincing – Michael’s grief is written respectfully and it’s done well from a man’s point of view (it’s not common in her books to have a male narrator the whole way through).

It ended up being a good and entertaining read, and I even learned a top tip for not being a shrewish wife (which I have yet to put into practice: sorry, Mr Liz) because obviously Michael can’t end up with all three women, so some of them will resolve older issues as they go along. A bit away from the world of Blossom Street, but a good read.

Debbie Macomber – “A Turn in the Road”

This one was excellent, one of the best of hers I’ve read – different and funny. Bethanne, her daughter Annie and her ex-mother-in-law Ruth decide to go on a road trip from Seattle to Florida, taking in various byways and detours as they go. All of them have something to work through – Annie’s boyfriend has sprung a surprise on her, Ruth is facing meeting a flame from way back at her school’s 50th reunion and Bethanne’s ex, Grant, is free again and sniffing around for a reconciliation. They have some excellent adventures along the way, especially involving some bikers they meet on the road, and it’s a refreshing and fun read.

Debbie Macomber – “Blossom Street Brides”

Bethanne from the last book is married once more; Lydia from A Good Yarn (hooray – back to where we started!) is worrying about her adopted daughter and the future of her business, and Lauren has a whirlwind romance that leaves little space for second thoughts while her boss’s daughter is in a whirlwind of her own. Will the complicated family dynamics work out? Will Bethanne and Annie patch things up? And who is leaving community knitting baskets around town, contributing both to charity and to a new phase of Lydia’s business?

These books will suit: Anyone looking for a nice easy but well-written and engaging read. Fans of Maeve Binchy and Cathy Kelly who like a read that’s about relationships and family but also community.

I’m currently reading “Superfreakonomics” from the authors of “Freakonomics” (loaned to me by Sian), and a NetGalley review copy of “Neurotribes” by Steve Silberman, which is about autism and Silicon Valley. Next up is a review copy for Shiny New Books (ooh) and my 1924 Challenge book, which is thankfully TINY.

Oh, and this.

October 2015 4A lovely friend was passing on a batch of her Virago books to make room on her bookshelves, and I couldn’t resist these lovelies. Even though I’d chosen them from a photograph, I hadn’t quite realised how “substantial” they were. Oh well, they all look GREAT and the two Edith Whartons are a book and a sequel, so I’m glad I chose both. Honestly. I’m hoping to palm off one of them on our weekend visitor, because I don’t think all of these will fit on my TBR shelf …

What are you reading? How’s your TBR going? Do you have a quick win comfort author and a big pile of their books?