I am NOT a romance person - not in real life and not in the books that I choose to read. That would explain why I had never read any of Debbie Macomber's books before. However, as I was breezing through Sam's Club the other day (and I simply HAVE to glance at the book section every time I go), the cover of the book caught my eye (yes - I am one of those who often purchases a book on cover art alone). The sweet dog obediently sitting in the overstuffed chair surround by books was more than enough to entice me to pick up the book. The book's description on the backcover was equally engaging:
Anne Marie Roche wants to find happiness again. At 38 her life s not what she d expected--she s childless, a recent widow, alone. She owns a successful bookstore on Seattle s Blossom Street, but despite her accomplishments, there s a feeling of emptiness.Main character is owner of a successful bookstore? Character driven novel? Philosophical without being too deep? I was sold.
On Valentine s Day, Anne Marie and several other widows get together to celebrate...what? Hope, possibility, the future. They each begin a list of twenty wishes, things they always wanted to do but never did.
Anne Marie s list starts with: Find one good thing about life. It includes learning to knit, doing good for someone else, falling in love again. She begins to act on her wishes and when she volunteers at a local school, an eight-year-old girl named Ellen enters her life. It s a relationship that becomes far more involving than Anne Marie intended. It also becomes far more important than she ever imagined.
As Ellen helps Anne Marie complete her list of twenty wishes, they both learn that wishes can come true--but not necessarily in the way you expect.
While the book was a tad too easy-going and tidy for me (I like a novel that is a bit more edgy), this was certainly a pleasant way to spend the day traveling to NYC with a two hour layover in Philadelphia. The book was a quick read that did not need my undivided attention to follow the plot and understand the character relationships. As far as reading pleasure, I would rate the book a 3 out of 5 -- not because it is not a well-written book for its genre, but because it is really not my preferred reading material.
HOWEVER.....the basic premise of this book -- make a list of 20 wishes (things, activities, events that you truly want to accomplish in life) and see what happens -- has intrigued me all week. While the initial group of women are all widows of varying ages, the book quickly illustrates how this concept can extend beyond any age barriers. Elementary school children make wish lists; octogenarians make wish lists. Some even accompany the list with elaborate scrapbook pages to document the journey. Some wishes are as simple as "learn to knit" while others are more complex, like "visit Paris with someone I love"
While the characters in the book seem to be well on their way to accomplishing/receiving all 20 wishes in just a few short months (and this may not be true in our real-life circumstances), I do believe the key to this concept is to discover the desires of the heart (this is not necessarily easy or quick to do) - write them down - share them with a trusted friend - and have faith. I do believe that if these wishes are true desires of the heart - and there is a willingness to "do whatever it takes" to achieve them (this often requires the willingness to step outside that comfort zone), then with faith, hard-work and perseverance, many of them will ultimately become realities.
I have decided to challenge myself to begin making a list of 20 wishes. I may not get to 20 and I may not accomplish them all. I may choose to re-evaluate the list after a while and create a new list. BUT...I want to discover what I want my future to look like and begin taking those necessary baby steps toward that end. After all, if I don't know where I want to end up, how will I know if I am on the right path?
How about you? Have you ever made a list similar to the twenty wishes described in this book? Is this something that you think you might like to try?