Wednesday, January 27, 2016

‘A Girl’s Guide to Moving On’ (Book Review)

Middle-aged Leanne has put up with her husband’s cheating for so long that she’s forgotten what it was like to be loved in her younger days. She’s content, however, to continue the charade her marriage has become, that is until she realizes the price of her silence. Her son has followed in his father’s footsteps, disregarding his own marriage vows. Leanne, now fearful that her grandson too will grow up thinking that cheating is acceptable, informs her daughter-in-law Nicole of the infidelity; and both women promptly begin divorce proceedings. Offering each other support and encouragement through the process, they eventually learn how to “move on,” coping with financial changes and finding new love.

Only the last line above refers to the actual plot of Debbie Macomber’s  A Girl’s Guide to Moving On (Ballantine, 2016). The rest is merely backstory, which if it had been included, I think would have made a more exciting book. Instead the reader is treated to two overly clichéd romances. Both women are supposed to be “classy” but fail to show it. Both ex-husbands try to manipulate our heroines’ lives (rather than basking in their newfound freedom, go figure). Both new love interests are overly stereotyped – one a manly tow-truck driver (who punches things when angry), and the other a sensitive European (who gets unreasonably jealous). Both plots are left seriously underdeveloped because of the space taken switching back and forth from Leanne’s perspective to Nicole’s.

I liked the close relationship the author shows between the mother-in-law and the daughter-in-law. I also like Leanne’s personal growth as she learns how to forgive her ex-husband. But I finished the book wishing for more substance. A Girl’s Guide to Moving On might work if you’re looking for something mundane to read in bed before dozing off or while waiting for your kid to get out of soccer practice. Otherwise, I recommend giving it a pass.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reading copy of this book as a First Reads giveaway winner on There was no obligation to write a review.