Best friends Jenna and Maureen have been doing just fine. Sure, their children have finally left their respective nests, and Jenna’s especially bristling at the thought of an empty house. But now they’ll finally have time to do things they’ve always wanted— like taking the trip to Paris they originally planned in college. However, after Jenna’s mother, Carol, falls and breaks her hip, Jenna meets the charming Dr. Rowan Lancaster. And with Maureen open to seeing someone of her own … well, it might be time for these two friends to finally live their dreams and find love.
Author Debbie Macomber dishes out books like others dole out hugs, and usually with the same heartwarming effect.
Part of this is because she’s perfected the formula for ideal friendships. Jenna and Maureen share a natural bond, partially because of their shared experiences— they attended college together, they’re divorced and devoted to their children, yet they’re each open to changing things up in their lives. Because of this, there’s a certain reliance on each other emotionally. However, one also understands the importance of the other’s happiness and they effectively push each other into situations that make them better. It’s a special bond on the page, and Macomber expertly molds it.
All of this is not to suggest that romance takes a backseat to friendship. Rather, each of these women ends up drifting to two special dates. Early on, Jenna’s meetings with Rowan do feel a bit stilted— and there’s an odd dynamic to him dating her while treating her mother. However, Macomber gradually and effectively explains away their awkward encounters. Maureen and Logan, on the other hand, do have a more natural-feeling progression. Logan patronizes the library Maureen works at, looking for book recommendations, before finally asking her out for a drink. While there’s something to be said about bothering a woman while she’s working, it’s ultimately a cutely developed relationship.
Through this all, there’s a heavy emphasis on growing older and dealing with a changing family dynamic. Really, these are the strongest points. Maureen has to pull herself out of a mostly settled life. At the same time, Jenna has to take care of her recovering mother while accepting that her children are finally out of the house. What these women show is that, in these moments of isolation, it’s never too late to embrace change and chase true happiness.
Title: Window on the Bay
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: July 16, 2019
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.