Book Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On

Leanne and Nichole Photo courtesy of Debbie Macomber

Leanne and Nichole
Photo courtesy of Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber is back and better than ever!  A Girl’s Guide to Moving On was inspired in part by Wayne Macomber’s need for sunshine.  His wife reluctantly ~ at first ~ agreed to escape the dreary Pacific Northwest for Florida.  The couple has deep roots in Port Orchard, WA which is the setting for her popular Cedar Cove series which aired on Hallmark.

Ms. Macomber was surprised to discover that she loves their escapes to Florida, and it appears the change in scenery may have ignited a metamorphosis.

LastOneHomeA Girl’s Guide to Moving On is a sequel to Last One Home.  The books are part of Ms. Macomber’s New Beginnings series.  Last One Home focused on Cassie, who left an abusive marriage and reconciled with her sisters Karen and Nichole while building a Habitat for Humanities house.  Yes, she met husband #2 in the process.

In A Girl’s Guide to Moving On, Nichole’s affluent existence is blown apart by her husband Jake’s infidelity.  He was following in his father Sean’s unfaithful footsteps, and Nichole’s mother-in-law Leanne decides she’s had enough too.  The women file for divorce and move from their country club existence in Lake Oswego, OR to urban living in Portland and adjoining apartments along with delightful toddler Owen.


Rule two:
Cultivate new friendships.
– Debbie Macomber, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On

The women decide to weather the pain of divorce by creating rules for their new lives.  Leanne’s divorce from Sean is relatively straightforward and amicable, and she realizes quickly that she doesn’t miss their country-club lifestyle.  Jake, on the other hand, manipulates the legal system as an instrument of abuse for years and can’t let go.  When the divorce becomes final, Nichole is so upset that she drives her car into a ditch.  How else would she meet Rocco, a sexy hunk of a tow-truck driver?

Nichole gets a job as a substitute teacher and Leanne teaches English as a second language where she meets the charming Nikolai, a Ukrainian baker.

The path to happily ever after is more sophisticated, nuanced, and insightful that Ms. Macomber’s earlier books. The relationships are more complex and interesting, and the dynamic between characters was quite familiar to me as are the locations.

Debbie Macomber

Debbie Macomber

Rule three:
Let go in order to receive.
– Debbie Macomber, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On

It took me by surprise, and I liked it very much.  My ex-husband and I belonged to Medinah Country Club near Chicago, and the judge lived in a country club enclave between Portland and Salem, OR.  Medinah has three superb courses in high demand by professional tournaments, but the members are cautious about welcoming them.  So, I’m intimately familiar with snobby, pretentious attitudes.  I will confess that it was hard for me to refrain from calling the judge’s golf course a glorified cow pasture.  I have the same issue today with the local snobs.

After the judge and I split, I moved to Lake Oswego, OR which I love, love, loved.  My apartment was perfect, and this is where I learned to move on and the last rule in A Girl’s Guide to Moving On.


Rule four:
Love yourself.
Debbie Macomber, A Girl’s Guide to Moving On

We’ve all loved and lost. It sucks. It hurts.  Sometimes it changes our lives in ways we never expected.  Yet, in time we realize how much of ourselves we sacrificed to maintain a relationship which wasn’t healthy or happy.  This can be true of friends as well as lovers.  Letting go of a significant investment is always hard, but it is the only way we can move forward and embrace new opportunities.

Anne Caroline Drake at Little Whale Cove, OR, 1992

Anne Caroline Drake at Little Whale Cove, OR, 1992

Rule five:
Enjoy being with yourself.
– Anne Caroline Drake

A rule I would add to the list:  Make plans to enjoy the experiences your ex didn’t want to do.  Enjoy being with yourself.  Before I relocated to Oregon, the judge feigned interest in outdoor activities like biking, hiking, and swimming.  I loved walking along the beach.  He hated it.  In fact, he wasn’t interested in doing anything that didn’t involve alcohol.

I went swimming every day.  I drank wine while soaking in the hot tub in the drizzling rain at night.  I hiked to the top of Mt. Park several times a week.  I went to the beach.  I planted an award-winning, lovely patio garden.  I rode my beloved antique Schwinn bike.  I walked the beach.  I joined Oregon Women for Wine Sense and the Oregon Women Lawyers (OWL).  And, I didn’t drink hard alcohol for over two decades.  The smell of gin still makes me gag.

GirlsGuideAlas, I realized I’d never be safe in Oregon and fled back to Illinois where I met Oprah and spent a lot of time at her studio.  When I realized how intently the judge was continuing to stalk me, I joined Washington’s Address Confidentiality Program.  I got serious about writing and met Debbie Macomber and Susan Wiggs, who are two of my favorite authors and friends in real life.  Is Washington home?  I dunno.  I’m happy.

3 responses to “Book Review: A Girl’s Guide to Moving On

  1. Hi,

    I would like to request for your e-mail address for me to formalize my request regarding permissions on image use. Your website Whales and Sails is currently not available.

    Hoping for your immediate response.


  2. Ms. Gangat:

    The Whales and Sails website belonged to photographer Carole May. Sadly, we have lost contact. You may be able to find her via a Google search of her name + photography or via pianist Davis Lanz, whose website she managed. They were based in Bellingham, WA. I know that she expects to be compensated for her work.

    Good Luck,
    Anne Caroline

  3. Ms. Gangat,

    This evening I learned that Carole May passed away in England on November 24, 2013. To my knowledge, she didn’t have any heirs. The Whales and Sails web page was active this evening.

    Best wishes,
    Anne Caroline

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