When I learned that Debbie Macomber’s 2020 summer release is a story about two sisters who love each other through their differences, a theme that is near and dear to my heart, I put the book near the top of my reading list.
A Walk Along The Beach follows Willa and Harper Lakey, who have survived the death of their mother, the retreat of their grieving father, and Harper’s brief but terrifying illness. Now that Harper has recovered, Willa has realized her dream of owning a bakery and coffee shop. Harper, on the other hand, wants to make the most of her new lease on life. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears Harper may be pushing herself too far. Harper disagrees, urging Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone for once—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.
Reader, I think you will be drawn to protagonist Willa Lakey for several reasons. For one thing, when Willa needs to decompress and process everything going on around her, she heads to the beach. (Our kind of girl!) Willa sets a good example by looking out for others, working hard as a business owner, and, perhaps most endearing of all, leaning into her knack for finding joy in unexpected places.
The love interest who enters Willa’s life, Sean O’Malley, is genuine and contemporary. When Sean begins to slide in a direction that won’t help his relationship with Willa, readers have already learned enough about him to understand why he’s trending down that worrisome path. (A fun bonus to this story’s romance is that for much of the time the relationship potential is iffy and leaves readers guessing.)
The complexities of sisterhood are artfully woven into this story.
Readers get to know beautiful and bright Harper through Willa’s generous eyes. When Willa describes Harper lighting up a room, readers see Harper lighting up the page. And when youthful and optimistic Harper is threatened by illness, readers experience her struggle as deeply as if Harper had become our own sister. This true-to-life story sensitively addresses how a cancer diagnosis affects everyone involved. Grief and loss are given their moments. More than one scene brought tears to my eyes.
So now the question is, reader, how does your own life overlap with those of your sisters? And when you want to think through the bigger questions of life, will you ask your sister to join you for a walk along the beach?
Here with you,