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July 21, 2020

A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

"He's cute." My sister Harper stage-whispered when I joined her at the table in Bean There, my small coffee shop in Oceanside along the Washington coast. I knew exactly who she was talking about and refused to look. I really shouldn't pay him any mind. I shouldn't look. Shouldn't look.

I looked. (chapter 1)
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

A Walk Along the Beach
July 2020; Ballantine Books; 978-0399181368
audio, ebook, print (336 pages); women's fiction
I really enjoy Debbie Macomber's Christmas stories, and her summer beach reads are starting to grow on me. A Walk Along the Beach has everything that a good beach read should have: interesting characters, a little romance, and a lot of emotions.

I have mixed feelings about A Walk Along the Beach. I started off enjoying the story and the characters ut towards the end I started to get annoyed with the characters and this summer, with all the emotions and stress of the pandemic, might not be the right summer for this book.

In the author's note at the beginning of the book, we learn that Macomber recently lost a friend to cancer and that this book is dedicated to this friend. So that should clue you in to the plot and focus of this novel.

In the beginning, I really liked Willa. I could relate to her - introverts, career- and family-focused, a little awkward around people. But I grew annoyed with her. Her constant complaining about how she had to step into her mother's role after her mother died grated on my nerves. She chose to take that on as a teenager. At the time she may not have felt like she had a choice, but she did. Perhaps if she hadn't taken over, then her father would have stepped up. I guess the role of martyr that she cast herself in is what truly grew old.

The character I was most annoyed with was Sean. He seemed sweet and like a great guy in the beginning. He and Willa made a cute couple. But as his attitude was revealed more I thought he was immature and childish at times. It did not make sense at all why Sean had to go to Chicago to finish the National Geographic project. I got why he had to go to the Philippines; he had to take pictures. But to write an article, choose the photos...that all could have been done from Oceanside (where he and Willa live). Even before the pandemic, it is pretty standard for such collaborations to be done virtually. I thought it was a weak plot point to create an obstacle to Sean and Willa's relationship. 

That's not the only point that made me think less of Sean. It's also a reason I was annoyed with Willa. I thought Willa was a strong, independent woman. I know she was going through an extremely stressful, life-changing situation, but the way she whined about Sean not being there had me wanting to say "suck it up, buttercup." Sean wasn't much better with his attitude. It felt like he didn't think she was strong enough to go through it without him. It was just all too whiny for me. This is where I think my feelings surrounding the pandemic may have colored my perception of the characters. I'm tired, growing increasingly annoyed, with whiny people in real life. Entitlement seems to be running rampant right now and any hint of it in a character has me turning away.

I did connect with characters and the situation they find themselves broke my heart. I even shed tears a few times. That is why I believe this summer wasn't the right summer for this book for me. The character flaws may not have irked me quite as much last year, but my tolerance has worn thin in the last few weeks.

I loved the scenes at Willa's coffee shop Bean There. I have a secret dream of owning a tea shop (you have to get up way too early for a coffee shop). I loved the little side story with Bandit - it was like one of those videos you see about dog rescues on Facebook. So there is plenty to love about this book.

If you are a fan of Debbie Macomber's beach reads, then you don't want to miss this book. Also, check out Susan's review as she loved it.

Buy A Walk Along the Beach at Amazon

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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  1. I had been eyeing this one, but I'm afraid those characters would tick me off big time! Thanks for sharing, and I'll wait for another time for this one.

    Here's mine: “THE SUMMER DEAL”

  2. I've read several of her books, but this one seems rather different from her usual fare.

  3. love the cover and setting. debbie writes some wonderful stories
    sherry @ fundinmental

  4. This one is on my wishlist. I love Debbie Macomber's books.