Book Review|It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber|Contemporary|Romance|Fiction|Family Drama

Synopsis:

After divorce shatters her family, one woman’s struggle to pick up the pieces finally leads to a new beginning–but is the past truly behind her? #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber explores the powerful intersections of love and family in this poignant novel. 

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It’s been nearly six years since Julia Jones had her heart broken. After her husband became involved with another woman, she did everything she could to save their marriage, to no avail. Their two daughters continue to stand by Julia in the wake of their father’s behavior–and they’ve had a tough time getting along with the other woman who became their stepmother. Distraught after selling the family home, Julia moved into a condominium complex that offers the warmth and charm of a fresh start. Now, having settled into her new community and sold her successful interior design business, she’s embraced a fulfilling new life, one that doesn’t seem to need a man in it. Her beloved father’s trusty saying is ringing truer than ever: It’s better this way.

But when Julia meets a handsome new resident in the building’s exercise room, she can’t help but be drawn to him. Heath Johnson is a welcome change from the men she’s encountered on the occasional–mostly disastrous–dates her sister has eagerly planned for her over the years. As she and Heath, a divorcé himself, begin to grow close, their friendship blossoms into a love neither of them had expected. However, they soon realize that combining families, even with four adult children, presents inevitable challenges.

When a dramatic revelation threatens the happiness they’ve found, Julia and Heath must reconcile their love for their children with their love for each other. If they can’t, their bright future together may be nothing but a dream.
— Sourced from Goodreads

Review:

This was so good! I love Debbie Macomber’s books. There is so much going on that most of us can relate to. Families are complicated and complex and she brings that through in her stories.

If you come from a divorced family or are a divorcee then you might relate to this story. With my family, I recall someone having some crazy divorces and relationships that came after that was hard on the family. I definitely find this book realistically portrayed.

Julia meets a charming man, Heath, after her life feel apart 6 years ago when her husband had an affair. When she meets Heath, a kind man with a similar relationship with his ex, she is finally moving on with her life and enjoying herself. That is until his son’s find out who he’s seeing.

They will have to work to bring their families together if they ever hope to make this love between them work. They each love their grown children deeply but will they be able to choose between a happy, healthy, loving relationship and their children’s opinions?

This kept me hanging on til the end. I think the epilogue wrapped it up nicely.

This could be a good one for a book club. There is plenty to discuss about family and relationships here. What do you think? Do you agree?


Spoilers:

Julia comes off more supportive than most women when it comes to their daughters relationship with the father. Most of the women I’ve seen are very different and would love to have daughters that were this harsh on their father. I think it’s really sad and when I do have the rare chance to see a woman like Julia in real life, I just have much respect for them. I love that Debbie portrayed Julia as such a loving and supportive mother that wanted more for her daughters than the hurt they felt and went about trying to help them have that relationship even though it didn’t turn out to be as beneficial as she’d hoped.

I really hate people who use children. Whether it’s by destroying their family and trying to force their new spouse on their children or if it’s trying to give them things with stipulations behind it. That is a pet peeve of mine but more so when it comes to children. You shouldn’t be using money or visits or anything else to get your child to accept someone new. I agree that with time it might happen but not right away. You can’t destroy a family with an affair and think that y’all are going to be a new happy family. They love the spouse that was hurt and many time are hurt by it too.

I loved the relationship that Heath and Julia had. It’s one I hope everyone gets. Someone who will stand by you through it all. There will be rough times but knowing that you’re in it together and doing what it takes to make it is something rare.

I didn’t like how ugly Michael was with Julia. How can you be so disrespectful to someone who thought of you and took the time and effort to call you during an emergency even though they know you despise them? You think you would appreciate their efforts to reach o out. Then, the way he talked to her when she tried to reach out in hopes of dissolving the animosity.

I know people like this and it is so heartbreaking to see how you could have a better relationship with people if you would just stop for a minute and think of someone other than yourself or perhaps to just listen to someone without anger and judgement for five minutes. It takes a lot for people to reach out in a situation like this. That must definitely show how much someone cares if they are willing to try to work things out for the sake of someone else they love.

Julia was great in the situation with Lee. She put aside her differences to give her daughters a chance at a relationship with their father. She is a wonderful person who can admit that she was wrong for her action and not put all the blame on other even when it is definitely the others who initiated the hostile situation.

While it happened prior to the start of this book. I despise people who break up their family for someone else. How can you leave your family, your children for a different life? I know not every situation is a healthy one but get out because it’s bad not because you found someone else. That is devastating to the spouse you leave and to the children.

How did everyone just assume that Julia was the bad guy, trying to keep her girls from their father? Did no one ever stop to think that these grown girls might actually have their own opinions and acts? How many grown people actually let others dictate what they can and can’t do when it comes to their parent.

Most people use their own brains to determine who they will or won’t associate with. How bout stoping to think that maybe there was something wrong on the father’s end without assuming malice on the part of the mother. The sad thing is, I know we have all probably been in the judgement shoes before. I know that I try to see things for other’s view. I know I’m not perfect but we all would do well to look at things through the eyes of those around us. We might learn something about ourselves.

I loved that they were all able to grow up and start acting like adults in the end. Many time we don’t do that and it’s said because so often we end up hurting ourselves by keeping the anger alive. (This is not to be confused with toxic relationships that you are better off without. I believe we all have to love ourselves enough to have boundaries for others to know how to treat us and if they can’t treat us well then we should not abuse ourselves by allowing their behavior.)

I’m sure I could go on with this but I am going to leave it there. I welcome discussion to anyone who has read this and would like to talk about my thought or if you just want to share yours.


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