• Starting Now by Debbie Macomber

      Sometimes loyalty, diligence and hard work are not enough. Libby Morgan wants so desperately to become partner in her law firm that she has ignored everything else in her life in her quest to accomplish her goal. Her inability to leave her work at the office and her refusal to have children have cost Libby her marriage, but she just knows her sacrifice is about to pay off when she’s called into her boss’s office. Sadly, although she’s a hard worker, she is not a rainmaker and since she doesn’t bring new business to the firm, instead of making her a partner they decide to let her go, with the friendly advice, “Get a life.”

      Initially she is more angry than alarmed and figures that she’ll immediately find work in another law firm. That doesn’t happen, though, and as she sits around her apartment eating ice cream, feeling sorry for yourself, gaining weight and mourning the loss of her career, she is stunned and devastated. Eventually she decides to put her life together, and her first course of action is to join a health club and start exercising away some of the excess weight. Libby also convinces an acquaintance to join her at the gym for a regular exercise program and the two become close friends. She remembers how satisfying it was to knit with her late mother so she wanders into a yard yarn shop hoping to rekindle interest in that hobby. A fringe benefit of this is that she becomes friends with the owner and two teenage girls who are always in the shop. She joins them in making beanies for the newborn babies at the hospital. Always the compulsive workaholic Libby spends her first weekend after meeting them knitting furiously and when she takes her wealth of completed beanies back to the shop on Monday, Lydia asks her to accompany the girls to the hospital as they deliver the little caps. While she’s there she’s recruited to volunteer to rock newborn babies. She also meets handsome Dr. Philip Stone who is referred to by the nurses as Dr. Heart of Stone. Although she had rejected the idea of motherhood when she was striving to become partner she finds great satisfaction in rocking the babies. Libby’s life settles into days of being with friends and doing volunteer work and her priorities change. She’d been angry when she’d been let go with the advice to get a life, but she’s happy now with the life she has. All that changes, though, when she decides to help one of the teenagers and she must once again choose between career and family.

      Macomber fans will love this book. She intersperses favorite characters from prior books with new ones to create an appealing community. She quietly extols the joy of volunteerism and even includes a pattern for a knitted baby beanie on the last disc with instructions on how to find out where these can be donated in various localities. Macomber’s message of the renewing power of starting over is one that many will be able to identify with. Even those of us not currently facing life changing situations can understand her suggestion that sometimes a clean sweep or starting over is the best course of action a person can take. This book is recommended for anyone who enjoys feel good stories that promise the possibility of happy endings.

      Starting Now by Debbie Macomber
      Read by Abby Craden
      Random House Audio, unabridged: 11.5 hours on 9 CDs