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by Donna Huber For the A to Z Challenge, I discussed different book genres/categories. Each day, I gave a few details about the genre/catego...

July 12, 2019

Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

I first discovered Debbie Macomber when I picked up one of her Christmas books and loved it. I haven't missed her Christmas book since. However, I haven't really tried her other books so I thought I would give her new stand-alone novel Window on the Bay a chance.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

July 2019; Ballantine Books; 978-0399181337
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); women's fiction
The first thing I noticed was that the tone was somewhat different in this book than her Christmas books. While I often think of her Christmas stories as chick-lit, with younger characters (in their 20s), Window on the Bay is about a middle-aged woman with grown children. It felt most definitely a part of the women's fiction genre. There's still romance. Though with much more going on in Jenna's life, the romance is just a fraction of the story.

Jenna's entering a new phase of her life. Her youngest child has just started college and her oldest child, while still in college, is living on his own. It is finally time for Jenna to focus on the things in her own life that have long been neglected due to being a single parent. However, just as she starts to plan life after kids, her 70-something mother falls and breaks her hip. This opens the door for Jenna to meet the handsome Dr. Rowan Lancaster. Meanwhile, Jenna struggles to let her kids manage their own lives and be there for her best friend who is also stepping into a new relationship.

When I started Window on the Bay, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Pretty early on, we are introduced to Jenna's mother. And I found the description of her hard to believe. It is from Jenna's POV, but basically, it made it sound like her mother had the inability to be self-sufficient because her late husband did everything for her. Jenna believes her mother has too much anxiety of pumping her own gas to go out socially. My mother is 70 and I know other women in their 70s who are very capable of taking care of themselves in their husband's absence. I did wonder if perhaps it was more a reflection of Jenna's view of her mother rather than a true fact.

I wondered about this because we see her attitude is similar with her adult children. She doesn't seem to want them to grow up. I get her not wanting them to make mistakes, but that is part of growing up and learning to be independent. Jenna didn't want her daughter to live on campus because she didn't think her daughter could take care of herself. However, we know that Jenna lived on campus when she was a college kid. This is just one instance of where Jenna doesn't trust.

She was emotionally hurt by her husband and it has hindered her ability to trust.

There's a secondary plot in this story that focuses on Jenna's best friend Maureen who is struggling with her own relationship issues. With the alternating chapters between Jenna and Maureen, I thought the story was going to be more of an equal "main character" kind of story, but pretty quickly Maureen's storyline takes a backseat to the unfolding drama in all areas of Jenna's life. I really liked Maureen and would have liked more overlap between the storylines. I was hoping for there to be at least a double date.

I liked both Maureen's love interest and Rowan Lancaster. I really loved Rowan and Jenna's early interactions. I thought he was hilarious and couldn't help grinning at this exchange (it starts with Rowan).

"You sound upset."
"I am," I admitted, reaching for my purse and snagging my car keys.
"Is it about the zucchini?"
"No," I told him, "this has to do with the tomatoes."
"Yes, you reminded me I hadn't watered the garden. You might end up with a bushel of tomatoes, too. You can eat those raw, no question."

(Prior to this conversation, Jenna had mentioned the abundance of zucchini from her mother's garden and not knowing what to do with all the extras and she didn't know if they could be eaten raw). In the beginning, they had all these awkward kind of conversations as Jenna was dealing with the stress of her mother's fall and the fact that neither had a lot of dating experience.

I liked having more mature characters. As I've come to expect with her Christmas stories, the romance storyline doesn't get any steamier than kissing. I did roll my eyes a bit towards the end as both Maureen and Jenna continually comment on the kissing ability of their partners.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. And I'm sure longtime fans of Debbie Macomber will love her newest book.

Buy Window on the Bay at Amazon

A Summer Time Treat

Sweet Cherry Compote (makes 8 cups)
5 lbs sweet cherries, cut in half
1 cup of sugar
6 tsp water
2 - 3 sprigs (about 2 inches in length) of fresh rosemary
4 tsp balsamic vinegar

Combine cherries, sugar, water, and rosemary in large saucepan. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil. Boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add vinegar.

It will store in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 weeks. You can freeze it for up to 6 months or you can water bath can it for shelf storage.

It is great as an ice cream topping on vanilla ice cream or as a sauce on grilled chicken.

Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour.

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