cover image Any Dream Will Do

Any Dream Will Do

Debbie Macomber. Ballantine, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-18119-1

Venerable romance author Macomber’s latest inspirational novel suffers from uninspired, generic plotting. The paint-by-numbers narrative, set in Seattle, is divided between Shay Benson, whose embezzlement on her brother’s behalf sent her to prison for three years, and pastor Drew Douglas, a widowed father of two. Shay’s struggle to start afresh is the perfect counterpoint for the minister’s crisis of faith. They become friends and a romantic connection blossoms, but some in the church have questions about her trustworthiness and, by extension, his judgment. Bad actors begin reappearing in Shay’s life, perfectly timed to threaten her acceptance and exaggerated by a promise she is determined to keep. Macomber’s heavy hand in this area turns her steadfast young heroine into a victim, which only adds to the plot’s hackneyed qualities. Agent: Theresa Park, Park Literary & Media. (Aug.)