How to Walk Away is a light novel that combines romance with optimism, humor, and sellf-help lessons for life. Margaret (Maggie) was always afraid to fly, but the love of her life insisted on taking her up a private flight on Valentine’s Day where he flew her over a beach with Marry Me on the beach. It was so very romantic until they crashed.

The focus of the story is Maggie’s recover in hospital. Her spinal cord has been damaged and she has severe burns. Her erstwhile fiance proves to be a louse, breaking her heart, though she really has more to worry about such as learning to walk again, if she can.

She has a physical therapist who is particularly dour, as dour as Andrew MacDhui in “The Three Lives of Thomasina” who, as it happens, found love and romance as well, because really this is a romance. Can Maggie’s humor-filled chatter break through his dour silence and reserve?

The other question, can Maggie find happiness again? Well, her sister is determined to make sure she can.

I enjoyed How to Walk Away. It’s written as a first person, as a sort of memoir of how I hit bottom and found a new happy ending. That is the theme of the book, that there are all kinds of happy endings. Maggie is self-deprecating and witty, even when she is depressed and despairing, she tries to add some wit and humor.

It is marred a bit by the fortune cookie aphorisms and self-help mottos that pop up all the time. Of course, some of it is pertinent as Maggie is recovering, needing to work hard to recover as much as possible. However, there is a bit too much of the motivational blah-blah for me. Center does not come out and outright say “everything happens for a reason” but she treads far too close to that line.

My favorite character is Kitty, Maggie’s sister, who is a more realistic, less saintly character. For me, she is the heart of the book, the engine that could. How to Walk Away is a bonbon, fast, light, and not particularly substantial. However, we all need a few bonbons every once in a while.

I received an ARC of How to Walk Away from the publisher through a Shelf Awareness drawing.

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