After recently reading Katherine’s new book, Things You Save in a Fire, I immediately looked up the rest of her bibliography and decided to start with How to Walk Away. I decided to go into the book blind – I didn’t even read the back cover summary before I dove in. That gamble paid off in spades – this book was just as emotionally packed as her latest book, but offered a totally different main character to root for.
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
I’ve never quite read a story like this. It’s the story of a woman, Margaret, who has achieved her perfect life: her dream job and a brand new fiance, whose life is thrown for a loop when she ends up in an airplane crash. Throwing Margaret from her highest point into an accident where she ended up in the hospital with her life falling apart – didn’t pull the punches. The absolute best part of this book was the fact that this book didn’t sugarcoat anything. There was never the illusion that some magical miracle was going to happen and that everything was going to go back to normal by the end of the book. Instead of making the reader hope that Margaret is going to make a full recovery, the story focuses on her healing journey and how she grows as she adjusts to her new life situation. It’s this realism that really made this book so perfect to me. The pacing of the book was fantastic – I was gripped by the tightly planned plot and I finished it all in one sitting.
Katherine Center specializes in complex, interesting female main characters. Even her side characters all have great development and interesting subplots. It’s this depth and complexity that elevates her books from being commonplace romance books to something extraordinary. Margaret was one of my favorite romance main characters in a long time. She begins as a very superficial woman – she’s obsessed with her achieving her Pinterest perfect life regardless of whether that is what will actually make her happy. Once she suffers an accident, she has to reevaluate what really matters to her in life – and her personal growth in this period was amazing. She grew in an organic and realistic way: there were setbacks and she experienced depression over her situation, but she also completely readjusted her mindset and what makes her happy in life. The rest of the characters were just as interesting – I especially loved Margaret’s mother, who was overbearing and insane and lovable.
Katherine Center has officially become an author that I will buy/read anything that she writes. Her books are thought provoking, emotionally driven, and have amazing, multifaceted characters. Have a box of tissues ready, and be ready to read this all in one sitting. This is one of my favorite books of the year, and I would highly, highly recommend it to anyone looking for a story about inner strength and overcoming struggles. 5/5