A Walk Along the Beach

Debbie Macomber plumbs the depths of family bonds, tackling weighty emotional issues with great sensitivity and compassion. As she cites in her introduction, A Walk Along the Beach grew out of her own despair after the death of her dear friend, romance author Christina Skye, and taking a writing sabbatical to put her grief into perspective. What evolved as a result is a story about a Washington State family riddled with losses and challenges that upend the lives of all involved.

At the age of 13, Willa became the bedrock of the Lakey family. One of three children, she grew up fast after her mother died, and her father drowned his sorrows in drink. Deferring her own dreams, Willa practically raised her charming, adventurous, younger sister, Harper--a leukemia survivor--and supported her brother, Lucas, while shouldering many responsibilities and burdens within the family. After Willa's life has finally settled down in her late 20s, she opens a quaint café, and her manageable world is rocked by the attentions of a handsome, world-traveling, NatGeo photojournalist--with a shrouded past--who frequents the coffee shop. Through some endearing sisterly goading, Harper urges Willa to take a chance on love. But is sensitive Willa ready to risk opening her heart?

Macomber (Window on the Bay) fans may be surprised by heavier themes that churn undercurrents of sadness, loss and grief. The reward, however, is fully drawn characters and conflicts that will grip readers as much as--if not more than--Macomber's usually lighter romantic fare. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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