I’ve been reading Macomber for years, and I’ve really enjoyed her Cabot Cove and Blossom Street series and especially her Christmas stories. Her books are all sweet, escapist reading with an occasional kiss but never any sex. I’ve met her a couple of times, and I get her newsletter, and I know that she is a Christian, and all of her books reflect her values.
To me, this book crosses the line from women’s fiction and/or romance, which she has been writing throughout her career, to Christian (or “Inspirational”) fiction. As a Jew, I am not always comfortable with that genre and I was not comfortable with this book.
The premise is that a young woman, Shay, has grown up in an abusive home. She turned to drugs at an early age, and her boyfriend was a drug dealing, violent abuser. But Shay never liked drugs so although she lived in that world, she didn’t really use, but her brother did. She got a job as a bank teller and her brother talked her into embezzling money for him, saying that her boyfriend would kill him otherwise. She does it and goes to prison for three years.
I’m not giving away anything here, all of this occurs in the first twenty pages or so. When Shay is released, the bus lets her off in front of a church. She goes in, and the pastor, Drew, offers to help her. He gets her into a reentry program where she excels.
Drew lost his wife a few years earlier, leaving him with two young children. He is doing the best he can but he is suffering from depression. Helping Shay helps him, as well. Their connection keeps leading them back to one another and while there are difficulties in their relationship along the way, they eventually find their happily ever after.
Much of this story really stretched the bounds of credibility, but I liked the characters enough to keep reading. The bigger issue here for me was all the praying going on, and a lot of “God’s plan” filling in the story, along with the political machinations of the church, which just made it too Christian for this Jew. I hope Macomber goes back to her heathen ways and leaves the praying for her personal life instead of injecting it into her books. I will be leery of reading this author again.
8/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
ANY DREAM WILL DO by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine Books (August 8, 2017). ISBN 978-0399181191. 336p.