Debbie Macomber encapsulates the human experience in her brilliantly simple, yet poignant, novel A Walk Along the Beach. Sisters, Willa and Harper Lakey, are completely opposite personalities but extremely close after weathering the trauma of loosing their mother to an aneurism while still in school, their father’s subsequent alcoholism due to her death, and Harper’s near death battle with Leukemia. For Willa, life is finally starting to fall in place: her coffee shop is consistently making a profit, Harper is three years in remission, and the handsome new customer, Sean O’Malley, is just as seriously interested in her as she is in him. But, when Sean’s career as a freelance photographer takes him away on an exotic and remote assignment just as Harper’s cancer resurfaces with a vengeance, Willa must choose whether loving is worth the risk to her already shattered heart.
Willa, Harper, and Sean are wonderfully rich characters that perfectly connect with each other and the reader, imperfections and all. Their story is both entertaining on surface and profound on a deeper level in contemplating the bigger questions in life. A Walk Along the Beach does not shy away from including difficult and depressing events, cancer is a brutal and devastating disease that impacts millions of people and those closest to them. This is part of the reason A Walk Along the Beach is such an authentic story; it emulates real life as an endless cycle of good times and bad times and all the times in-between. The inclusion of difficult topics might sometimes be a drag on a story, but at every turn Debbie uses the events between Willa, Harper, Sean and their families, both happy and tragic, to encourage the reader in a positive way.
There is a reason that Debbie Macomber is so wildly popular, with five of her stories already made into Hallmark original movies. Like a beautifully created kaleidoscope, Debbie uses the varying facets of life: hope and fear, love and loss, life and death, in a stunning montage of color that continually morphs before your eyes as the story unfolds on the pages. Each and every change in mood and emotion is perfectly balanced in the narrative, allowing the reader the chance to intimately feel the highs and lows that the characters experience. A Walk Along the Beach will have you laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time, but always feeling positive about living life, one day at a time, and blessed to have the love and companionship of family and friends through it all.