4 1/2 Stars
Thank you to NetGalley and the Publishers for the chance to read this book.
Nichole and Leanne are an unlikely duo. Leanne is Nichole’s mother-in-law and now they have both left their troubled marriages and have taken up apartments in Portland near each other. They are each other’s support and they have created a set of rules to live by in order to get their lives back. They are now taking care of themselves, something that they lost along the way during their now broken marriages.
Nichole was married to Jake, Leanne’s son. When she finds out that he was cheating on her and got another woman pregnant, she showed amazing strength and left him and served him with divorce papers. Leanne drew strength from Nichole and finally got up the courage to leave Sean and their marriage of nearly 35 years. For decades she had been quietly ignoring his cheating and indiscretions, but in watching her son follow the same pattern as his father, she has finally had enough and walks out and starts a new life.
It is now two years since they left their respective husbands. Jake has been dragging his feet and is finally ready to finalize the divorce. Nichole gets this news and promptly backs her car into a ditch. She meets Rocco, a local tow-truck owner who drags her car out of the ditch and through a series of events that were both comical and endearing, they begin a friendship that could definitely move into something more. Rocco is the opposite of the white-collar Jake but maybe this is just what Nichole needs.
Leanne has started volunteering to teach an English as a second language class in the evenings. This is where she meets Nikolai, a very talented baker from the Ukraine. He soon becomes her favorite student and is taken to walking her to her car every evening and baking her bread. He slowly begins to show her that she is lovable and desirable. That her ex-husband was a fool.
While this is definitely part of the happy endings club of books, you really wonder through the majority of the book if this will ever happen or if this will be one of those books that defies the odds and doesn’t give the characters a happier ending. There are more than a few tear-jerker moments and I definitely gasped out loud a few times. It’s not all sunshine and roses for these ladies and the men in their lives. There are plenty of conflicts and tragedies that wind their way through this story. This is definitely not your typical romance novel and I was very pleasantly surprised by this. It was a very engaging story and I found myself blazing through it, unable to put it down.
I loved all of the characters, even Jake and Sean. They had an authenticity to them that you couldn’t deny. While this isn’t my typical genre, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who likes a good romance novel with a great ending. Authentic characters and a story that doesn’t require you to suspend belief. This is a story that could probably happen to any of us and probably echoes some of our own marriages and struggles. I am definitely a fan of this book and will most likely be looking into other books by the author if they are anything like A Girl’s Guide to Moving On.