Cover Image: Window on the Bay

Window on the Bay

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Member Reviews

Windows on the Bay by Debbie Macomber was exactly what I needed to read this past month! 

I found this story to be engaging with a realistic plot, relatable characters and a heart warming theme about life, love, family and friendship. I walked away from reading this book with a warm heart and a smile on my face. I highly recommend it!

I received this book for free. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own. Thank you to Ms. Macomber, Ballentine Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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Two divorced women who are best friends decide that they may be ready for a serious relationship as they meet men who are potentials.  I love Debbie Macomber books but this one missed the mark for me.  I did enjoy the story of Maureen and Logan but the Jenna/Rowan relationship was one that I skimmed through.  I didn’t care for the children of both ladies and I found them to be unrealistic and way beyond prudish.  Three stars for this book.
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Debbie Macomber never fails to satisfy my reader's soul when I am looking for a gentle, kind, sweet and satisfying read.  I have read so many of her novels that I know what to expect but I never know how to expect it.  She writes about ordinary people, ordinary looking people, leading ordinary lives. No glitz, no riches, just  normal people, whom you might meet anywhere, which is so refreshing to me in this day of bodice ripping novels with glamorous heroines and dashing princes or pirates, and extreme erotica. 
Window On The Bay is the latest book by Debbie Macomber and one that my heart will hold forever.  It's a book about second chances and learning that it's ok to start over, no matter where your life has taken you so far. 
Jenna and Maureen have been BFFs since their college days. They have seen each other through broken relationships and broken marriages; both are raising their children as single moms and putting the needs of their children first every day and in every way.  Now in their 40's they both find themselves as empty nesters and decide to revisit their college dream to visit Paris in the Spring; a dream which was way sided when Maureen announced an unplanned pregnancy.  All these years later, they decide to embark, finally, on their big adventure, but life intervenes again.  Jenna's 74 year old mother falls and breaks her hip, forcing the friends to, once again, postpone their long dreamed of trip.  However, due to this delay, both women have amazing men walk into their lives: men they were not looking for but had every quality they needed: men who also needed them. 
Of course, misunderstandings, dispute, distrust and other baggage issues intervene on all sides and cause breakups for both couples. Will either find their "happily ever after"? How will their children react?   Will Jenna and Maureen ever get to Paris? 
Interlaced in this tale we discover the lives of not just Jenna and Maureen, but the complicated lives of their children in this confusing age, trying to find their own way in life: trying to decide what to do with their lives; making mistakes and searching for their own answers. 
Truly satisfying, this is one of Debbie's richest novels yet.  It is a vacation for your soul as it is gentle, kind, normal and sweet. You close the book, not wishing for more, because the book is as satisfying as a 7 course meal, but glad you were an unseen visitor in the lives of two ordinary women who don't want or need a prince, they just want a true, everlasting, satisfying compassionate relationship they can trust to last as long as they all shall live. And isn't that what we are all searching for, or glad we have found?
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This is such a perfect book for mother's of soon-to-be empty nesters.  Macomber follows two best friends through the transition of their children going off to college.  Their stories bring you through the losses in their lives, the sacrifices they made for their children and then how they find fulfillment.  Uplifting, funny and PG rated!
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Wonderful story of starting over and fresh starts. After divorcing when their children were young and now those children are moving out and going to college, college friends Maureen and Jenna are now ready to move on and start their lives again. Both women find love while dealing with trials and tribulations in life. As always a great read by Debbie Macomber!

This review is based on an ARC from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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A great book. Debbie Macomber brings forth many emotions in a person while they read her stories. This was no exception. He books are always a joy to read even after so many years of reading her work.
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I found this book enjoyable, as I generally find Debbie Macomber's books to be. It's a nice family drama/romance that's predictable in many ways but has a few nice changes in it. I liked that the women were middle-aged, and dealing with issues of relationships that were typical of their season of life. The challenges also ...weren't all the typical misunderstandings that come from keeping secrets from one another. I enjoyed the storylines that evolved through the book.

My main issue was that I didn't feel particularly connected with either woman. I'm not sure if it was the first-person narratives or the uneven jumping between them, but I had a difficult time feeling like we were becoming friends. I also wish it hadn't defaulted to the women apologizing and the men being understanding about it. But overall, it was a sweet summer read and I'd recommend it to others!
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The best book this season! Debbie Macomber never disappoints.  Two divorced women. Friends forever. Lots in common. Their dream to see Paris. Events always get in the way. Jenna, having been the sole parent raising 2 children the idea of being an empty nester doesn’t turn out how Jenna expected. While best BFF Maureen, has been waiting for Jenna to be free to finally fly off to Paris, things get in the way for both of them. Men. Delightful book.
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Jenna and Maureen. have been friends for many years and have helped each other through college, divorce, and single parenting. Now they are empty nesters looking to embrace life again but are not sure how. Men have let them down in the past but they each meet someone that they can see taking a chance on. The road to love is rocky but they both learn a lot about themselves and each other. Recommended.
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I want to say this is a coming of age story, but both the these ladies are far beyond their teens, so I'll with a changing of seasons. Jenna has sent her youngest off to college, she's a single mother with an empty nest for the first time in over 20 years and her life is changing dramatically. Her best friend Maureen has had and empty nest for years, her daughter moved out and married, but she's there to support her friend's change. Years ago they planned a trip to Paris after college graduation, well life interrupted and the trip was put off, now with both women empty nesters it was their time, right? Hello, life! Both ladies have carried baggage from their marriages, neither expecting to find love this late in life, sure they dated while they raised their children but to find a love interest now? Not what they were looking for, but when it clicks it clicks. Fun read, with great characters and touching stories, you'll laugh, you'll tear up and you'll enjoy the happy ending! Another great touching read from Debbie Macomber!
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Debbie Macomber really knows how to weave a story. I loved the journey both Jenna and Meredith had through this book. Jenna is a newly empty nester and trying to figure out life going forward after being a single mother. With her daughter going off to college she has the time to figure out what to do, when her mother end up in the hospital after an accident. She never thought she would get involved but the surgeon who worked on her mother is quite interesting. 

Maureen is the local librarian, who has been making book recommendations to a construction man who stops in every Monday. She finds that she quite enjoys arguing with him over books, hearing his opinion. When they decide to go out she finds herself a fish out of water in his group of friends. She doesn't do well being uncomfortable but can't deny their attraction. 

My only drawback to this book is the whole breakup and get back together of both women, it seemed a little childish. I am glad it was noted and part of one of the women's struggle.
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Oh how I loved this book!  I'm at a point in life that I can relate to Jenna and Maureen.  As our kids grow up and we have equipped them to step out on their own into the world, it's time that us moms focus on us again.  It's not easy but there's still lots of life left to live!  Debbie Macomber has such a gift for writing true-to-life novels.  She has long been one of my favorite authors!
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Another wonderful book by Debbie Macomber. I couldn't stop reading! I was so drawn to the characters and their stories. It keeps you rooting the whole time that they find their happy ending
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Jenna and her best friend Maureen have both been single mothers for many years. Now that their kids have gone on to college, the moms have to adjust to being empty nesters, and it's not as easy – or as enjoyable – as they had anticipated. Both women meet men who are "not their type," but who they can't stop thinking about. As they navigate their relationships with their now-adult children, they also must learn to expect the unexpected. 

I have read a good number of Debbie Macomber's books, and I'm sad to say that this is the first that I didn't enjoy wholeheartedly from the very first page. The story was predictable, but that wasn't the problem. As I got to know the two main characters, I found myself disliking them more and more as the book progressed. I could not get over how both of them were so guilty of stereotyping people based solely on their appearances, their careers and the women's past history. Construction workers "don't look like library patrons"? The library in question must not be as inclusive as the libraries I have visited, and her attitude really annoyed me. Maybe that was part of the author's point, but it made it hard for me to want things to work out for her. 

And then we have the whole helicopter mom thing, with Mom getting angry, or annoyed or even hurt because she didn't know what her kids were up to every minute of every day. Yes, I know what it's like to be close to be an empty nester, I know what it's like to be involved in your kids' lives until the day they leave home, I know what it's like to be at loose ends while at the same time wondering, maybe even worrying, about what they're doing now. But good grief, do you really need to text them and ask if they're making their beds everyday? Again, that may have been the message the author was trying to convey, but again, it made it hard to be on her side. 

The two men in the book were, in my opinion, much more patient that I ever would have been, and they were the redeeming characters in this particular story. They stayed true to their beliefs, their characters were consistent and steady from the moment they were introduced until the end of the book. I can only hope that all of the characters in Macomber's next book will be more like these men than the women in this one.
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I first discovered Debbie Macomber when I picked up one of her Christmas books and loved it. I haven't missed her Christmas book since. However, I haven't really tried her other books so I thought I would give her new stand-alone novel Window on the Bay a chance.

The first thing I noticed was that the tone was somewhat different in this book than her Christmas books. While I often think of her Christmas stories as chick-lit, with younger characters (in their 20s), Window on the Bay is about a middle-aged woman with grown children. It felt most definitely a part of the women's fiction genre. There's still romance. Though with much more going on in Jenna's life, the romance is just a fraction of the story.

Jenna's entering a new phase of her life. Her youngest child has just started college and her oldest child, while still in college, is living on his own. It is finally time for Jenna to focus on the things in her own life that have long been neglected due to being a single parent. However, just as she starts to plan life after kids, her 70-something mother falls and breaks her hip. This opens the door for Jenna to meet the handsome Dr. Rowan Lancaster. Meanwhile, Jenna struggles to let her kids manage their own lives and be there for her best friend who is also stepping into a new relationship.

When I started Window on the Bay, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. Pretty early on, we are introduced to Jenna's mother. And I found the description of her hard to believe. It is from Jenna's POV, but basically, it made it sound like her mother had the inability to be self-sufficient because her late husband did everything for her. Jenna believes her mother has too much anxiety of pumping her own gas to go out socially. My mother is 70 and I know other women in their 70s who are very capable of taking care of themselves in their husband's absence. I did wonder if perhaps it was more a reflection of Jenna's view of her mother rather than a true fact.

I wondered about this because we see her attitude is similar with her adult children. She doesn't seem to want them to grow up. I get her not wanting them to make mistakes, but that is part of growing up and learning to be independent. Jenna didn't want her daughter to live on campus because she didn't think her daughter could take care of herself. However, we know that Jenna lived on campus when she was a college kid. This is just one instance of where Jenna doesn't trust.

She was emotionally hurt by her husband and it has hindered her ability to trust.

There's a secondary plot in this story that focuses on Jenna's best friend Maureen who is struggling with her own relationship issues. With the alternating chapters between Jenna and Maureen, I thought the story was going to be more of an equal "main character" kind of story, but pretty quickly Maureen's storyline takes a backseat to the unfolding drama in all areas of Jenna's life. I really liked Maureen and would have liked more overlap between the storylines. I was hoping for there to be at least a double date.

I liked both Maureen's love interest and Rowan Lancaster. I really loved Rowan and Jenna's early interactions. I thought he was hilarious and couldn't help grinning at this exchange (it starts with Rowan).

"You sound upset."
"I am," I admitted, reaching for my purse and snagging my car keys.
"Is it about the zucchini?"
"No," I told him, "this has to do with the tomatoes."
"Yes, you reminded me I hadn't watered the garden. You might end up with a bushel of tomatoes, too. You can eat those raw, no question."

(Prior to this conversation, Jenna had mentioned the abundance of zucchini from her mother's garden and not knowing what to do with all the extras and she didn't know if they could be eaten raw). In the beginning, they had all these awkward kind of conversations as Jenna was dealing with the stress of her mother's fall and the fact that neither had a lot of dating experience.

I liked having more mature characters. As I've come to expect with her Christmas stories, the romance storyline doesn't get any steamier than kissing. I did roll my eyes a bit towards the end as both Maureen and Jenna continually comment on the kissing ability of their partners.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. And I'm sure longtime fans of Debbie Macomber will love her newest book.

Review will be published at Girl Who Reads on July 12 - (link will be live at 6:30 am EDT on July 12).
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A heartwarming story of two very strong and independent women. Jenna and Maureen have been best friends forever. Their dream was to go to Paris together after graduation from college. At the last minute, Maureen gets pregnant and has to get married. A short-lived event. Jenna, a nurse, marries Kyle, a surgeon. Bad idea. After having been a single mom for 20 years, she is now an empty nester. 

Neither of the friends is into dating. But the house is awfully quiet now. Maybe it's time to re-create themselves. Plan that trip to Paris now. Until each of them stumbles awkwardly into men they wouldn't have looked twice at until they did.

Debbie always looks at the bright side of things in her books. Yes, there is heartbreak, misunderstandings, and dreams deferred, but in the end, I was crying like a baby. Because that is what her books do. They make you feel. The characters are so very human and make mistakes, but they are good people. I always feel as if I just had a true heart to heart with my grandmother after one of her books. 

NetGalley/July, 16th 2019 by Ballantine Books
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4.5 stars.

  Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber is a captivating novel of family, friendship and love.

  Jenna Boltz and Maureen Zelinski have been best friends since college.  Their plan to someday visit Paris is now in reach since they are empty nesters. Jenna is an ICU nurse who raised her two children, Paul and Allie, on her own following her divorce. Maureen is a librarian who is also divorced but her ex-husband remained involved in their daughter Tori’s life. Although both women have dated in the past, neither have  had much success in finding Mr. Right. So Maureen and Jenna are both surprised when two men in their lives unexpectedly show interest in them. Will Maureen agree to go out with Logan, a library patron whom she looks forward to discussing books with? And when Jenna’s mom’s doctor, Rowan Lancaster asks her out, will she accept his invitation to get to know him outside the hospital?

  Jenna has put her children first ever since her divorce and she is looking forward to her empty nest. But the reality of living alone is nowhere near as exciting as she thought it would be. Jenna remains close to her oldest son, Paul, but she cannot help feel uneasy about a growing distance between them. Her relationship with Allie is sometimes a minefield since her daughter is stubborn, independent and quick to become defensive. Jenna is worried about her mom’s recovery from her fall, but she is reassured by Rowan’s obvious care and compassion for  his patients’ well-being.   She is also quite intrigued by the taciturn surgeon, but Jenna has good reason to be wary of dating a doctor.

  Despite her amicable divorce, Maureen is extremely cautious when it comes to dating.  She looks forward to her weekly meeting with Logan and she puts quite bit of thought into her book recommendations to the good-natured man.  Reluctantly agreeing to have a drink with him, Maureen is uncomfortably out of her comfort zone but will she give their burgeoning romance a chance?

  Window on the Bay is a heartwarming novel that is fast-paced and engrossing. Jenna and Maureen are vibrantly developed characters whose respective issues are realistically portrayed.  Rowan is an absolutely delightful man who never gives up Jenna even when they are at odds. Logan is a bit of a mixed bag who does not always treat Maureen with the respect she deserves. Despite a few misunderstandings, Debbie Macomber brings this winsome novel to a delightfully heartfelt conclusion.
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Debbie Macomber again gives us an engaging story in contemporary women's fiction. Jenna and Maureen have been best friends since they met in college. Both are divorced with grown children. Jenna just recently became an empty nester when her daughter started college and moved to a dorm on campus. They are planning a trip to Paris...something they have wanted to do since college. But life interferes when Jenna's mother falls and breaks a hip. Their trip is postponed and both women face changes to their lives. 
 Neither has done much dating over the years, instead they focused on raising their children. Jenna is a nurse and her ex is a surgeon, because of this she has always sworn off dating surgeons.  But then she meets Rowan, her mother's surgeon....and she can't stop thinking about him. Maureen is a librarian, Logan comes in every Monday to get her recommendations for books and she finds herself looking forward to these meetings. But he's a plumber and his life is so much different than what she knows.What follows maybe predictable but it is also a very enjoyable read. 
If you like a sweet love stories with  HEAs you will like this book...if you are already a Debbie Macomber fan you won't be disappointed. I especially enjoyed the fact that the protagonists were mature adults with issues they had to get past to find their own happiness.
Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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You can never go wrong when you pick up a book by this author, and this one reiterates that statement.
One of the favorite things I loved about this book is that it centers around middle aged friends, not only empty nesters but also ones surviving a divorce.
Jenna and Maureen were college friends whose friendship has continued through the years.
Imagine their surprise when two unlikely men start courting them.
Will there be romance after the divorce or will past experiences and fears keep them away from taking that step?
Another engaging , well written story. 
I was entrusted a copy of this book. The opinions expressed are solely my own.
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Debbie Macomber does it again with a great book on personal growth and overcoming struggles. The struggles are real and they overcome them in a realistic way.
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