cover image A Walk Along the Beach

A Walk Along the Beach

Debbie Macomber. Ballantine, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-399-18136-8

Macomber (Window on the Bay) scores another home run with this surprisingly heavy but uplifting contemporary romance between a café owner and a photographer. Coffee shop owner Willa Lakey hasn’t had it easy: her mother died of a brain aneurysm when Willa was just 13 years old, her father sank into alcoholism, and her sister, Harper, was subsequently diagnosed with leukemia. Former professional baseball player Sean O’Malley had a charmed life before injury ended both his career and his long-term relationship. Now Sean works as a photographer and frequents Willa’s café—despite not liking coffee. When he admits to Willa that he only comes in each day to see her, the pair embark on a relationship. But then Harper’s cancer returns and their relationship is put to the test. In eloquent prose, Macomber shows the messiness of supporting a loved one with cancer, beautifully depicting Willa’s misplaced anger, crushing grief, and regret. The loving bond between Willa and Sean, along with the charming supporting cast (especially the aptly named canine, Bandit), adds a welcome dose of light and hope to the story. With this stirring romance, Macomber demonstrates her mastery of the genre. Agent: Theresa Park, Park & Fine Literary and Media. (July)