Best-selling romance writer Debbie Macomber’s eighth entry in her Blossom Street series, A Turn in the Road, takes three generations of women from Seattle to Florida on an eventful car trip.
Six years ago, Bethanne Hamlin’s husband, Grant, left her for a younger woman. Distraught and humiliated, she dreamed of the day he’d admit his mistake and come back to her and their two children. But now that day has arrived, Bethanne’s not sure she can ever trust him again.
Putting off a decision, she instead volunteers to drive with her ex-mother-in-law to Vero Beach for Ruth’s 50th high school reunion. Then her college-age daughter Annie, who is having boyfriend trouble, decides she’ll go, too. Of course, both Annie and Ruth would love to see Bethanne reunite with contrite Grant. By the way, he’ll be flying to Orlando for a real estate conference while they’re in Florida.
But before Grant can personally plead his case once more, the women make a few sidetrips, and Bethanne meets Max, a helpful biker hiding a painful past.
Turns out Max, whose path again intersects with Bethanne’s in Las Vegas, isn’t the only one hiding things. Widowed Ruth is hoping she’ll see her high school sweetheart, Royce, at the reunion, although he may not want to see her. Her long-ago “Dear John’’ letter hurt him badly. Ruth can’t bring herself to dial the number Annie found on her laptop.
Macomber may have left Seattle, but she’s on familiar emotional territory. She chronicles her characters’ conflicted feelings with customary warmth and gentle humor. Ruth drags Annie to an Andy Williams concert in Branson. Once in Florida, Bethanne and Annie conspire to recreate Ruth’s high school prom. Grant is surprised to find he has a rival and intensifies his courtship.
New love. Old love. Love lost and found. What’s not to like?
Still, homemaker Madeline Singer, TV home show host/architect Avery Lawford, and professional matchmaker Nikki Grant all lost their savings to Ponzi schemer Malcolm Dyer. He’s nowhere to be found, but the trustees trying to sort out his mess have awarded each woman a one-third share in a beachfront mansion on Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Alas, Bella Flora has seen far better days, and the Mediterranean Revival house at Pass-a-Grille needs a major renovation if it’s ever going to sell. The women strike a deal with hunky contractor Chase Hardin, a frenemy of Avery’s youth, to provide the elbow grease to restore Bella Flora to her former glory.
Wax dutifully details the womens’ mishaps with mops, ladders and polyurethane over the summer, providing each with a crowded backstory as they hammer out their new makeshift friendship.
Maddie worries over her now-jobless husband back in Atlanta, while her single pregnant daughter arrives with a video camera. Avery, still smarting from her divorce from a handsome heel, can’t stand Chase’s condescending chauvinism. And glamorous Nikki is harboring a secret that will affect them all.
Then there’s a hurricane.
Ten Beach Road makes for diverting reading, both in spite of and because of its predictability. As the tide turns. . .
Open Book: I read a digital edition of Debbie Macomber’s A Turn in the Road (MIRA) through NetGalley, and Wendy Wax’s publicist sent me an advance copy of Ten Beach Road (Berkley Trade Paperback). They’re just the first in a wave of summer books I’m enjoying. More to come!