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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Katherine Center Does It Again With Another Warm, Engaging Romance

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

You probably thought you were done with BBB book reviews until 2020.  No such luck!  I stayed up way too late last night/this morning to finish How to Walk Away by Katherine Center.  Her newest, Things You Save in a Fire, was one of my favorite reads of 2019, so now I'm reading her backlist.  Isn't it great when you find a new author to love and they've got a bunch of already-written books for you to explore?  

How to Walk Away concerns Margaret Jacobsen, a 28-year-old Texan on the cusp of making all her dreams come true.  With the ink still drying on her shiny new MBA, she's poised to land a dream job.  She's purchased a new condo and is waiting patiently for the marriage proposal she knows is coming from her boyfriend, Chip.  Then, irony of ironies, the woman who hates to fly is involved in a small plane crash that leaves her with third-degree burns on her upper body and paralysis below the knees.  Devastated, but determined, she plans to make a quick recovery, then resume the life-of-dreams she knows is still possible.

As Margaret struggles with treatments, especially physical therapy under the merciless hand of Ian Moffat, she's plagued by feelings of doubt, depression, and grief.  While everything in her perfect Before life slowly falls apart, leaving only her bleak Now, Margaret can't even think about how things might look After.  Soon, the only bright spots in her day are visits from her long-estranged sister and her Scottish PT who never cracks a smile.  As the weeks wear on, Margaret starts to understand that she may never walk again.  Also that her crush on Ian remains quite unrequited.  With nothing else to look forward to in life, what is Margaret going to do?  Is hope another Before thing that has deserted Margaret?  Will she find something to live for or will she keep her date with her suicide calendar?

Despite its grim subject matter, How to Walk Away is actually a warm, humorous, upbeat book.  Margaret's voice is engaging, even while she deals with the terror of her new normal.  She's self-deprecating and funny, but also brave, loyal, and resolute.  It's impossible not to root for her.  The love story at the center of the novel is sweet.  With its themes of appreciating what you can do, serving others as a way to steer your focus away from yourself, and looking to the future—however bleak it might seem—with hope and courage, How to Walk Away is an empowering novel that's entertaining, fun, and moving.  I loved it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language, violence, and mild sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find


  1. I liked this one as well. I think you read her other book and I like that the character from this one makes a cameo.

  2. I also sought out this book after falling in love with Things You Save in a Fire. Once again, her focus on family and forgiveness won me over

    1. I agree. I love that Center portrays families and relationships as realistically messy, but also worth fighting for. It's also important, as demonstrated in HOW TO WALK AWAY, that walking away from a relationship in which you're not valued is okay, even necessary.

  3. I really want to read her book Things You Save in a Fire. Now I need to add this one to my TBR list, too. :)

  4. Oh I love books that make me stay up too late! It doesn't feel like it happens all that often anymore so that alone has me adding this to my TBR. I've had this author on my TBR since Things You Save in a Fire but this one sounds even better.

  5. I read this one last year and really enjoyed it, my first by this author. What would you recommend as the next I should read by her since I'm going to the library on Monday? Thanks, good review!

  6. I read this one before "Fire" and really liked it. Her focus on moving forward is wonderful. So glad you enjoyed it as well. Wonderful review Susan.


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