Maggie Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked so hard and so long for: her dream job, a fiancé she adores and the promise of a perfect life just around the corner. But on what should have been the happiest day of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a single catastrophic moment.
In hospital Maggie is forced to confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Charlie, wallowing in self-pity while demanding forgiveness. Then there’s her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally there’s Iain, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Iain, who won’t let her give in to her despair, who makes her cry, but also manages to make her laugh . . .
Maggie’s new life is nothing like she expected. But could it be more than she had ever dared hope for?
What does TWG think?
I just want to say a quick sorry to the publishers for taking a little while to read the book they so kindly sent me (thank you Panmacmillan!).
When I picked up Katherine Center’s novel, ‘How To Walk Away’, I had received news that I was likely to end up being unable to move my left leg permanently, due to chronic health issues. I think there was something deep within my subconscious that was telling me to read this novel for a very good reason. I don’t read blurbs beforehand you see, so I was completely unaware of the theme of the book, but with the title of ‘How To Walk Away’, I merely assumed that maybe a main character needed to find the strength to walk away from something that wasn’t meant to be. Was I right?
Good question – both yes and no will answer that, and I will tell you why.
Maggie has the life she has longed for right at the end of her fingertips, ready for her to make it her own, ready for her to enjoy with every ounce of her being. Until one night where everything changes, where Maggie has to found the courage to walk away from something that will no longer never be, whilst also trying to find the strength to walk into a new life. It sounds so simple when its written down, doesn’t it?
Obviously I won’t go into detail about what happened that night, nor will I divulge what Maggie had to walk away from, however, the reason why my subconscious told me to read this book was due to how I would end up relating to the main character. Don’t get me wrong, what Maggie endured was absolutely catastrophic, and my own issues will never take that away from the character. That said, after receiving my own devastating news as I mentioned at the beginning, Maggie’s feelings ended up mirroring my own and in a weird sort of way, I found that quite therapeutic. I mean, I couldn’t exactly speak to random people and explain my situation as they wouldn’t have a clue what to say, yet because myself and Maggie had some similarities, I was able to tune myself into her feelings by having the courage in my own mind to sit there and go ‘omg, me too’ alongside someone going through a situation that was (very loosely), similar to my own.
I couldn’t help but feel extremely emotional whilst reading ‘How To Walk Away’, as the way in which Katherine Center wrote her characters lives was breathtakingly devastating. Their lives were written from the mind of someone who knows how to feel, and I can only assume that the author has endured her own fair share of heartbreak because the emotion covered in this book was natural, whilst also being written with such poise and power.
Maggie’s story highlighted how drastically relationships and friendships can change in the blink of an eye, with those changes making your place in someone else’s world extremely evident. You see, sometimes when things happen, the person involved may find themselves no longer fitting in to how somebody else views their future because of what has happened. I know, it hard, but it certainly shows the colours of those you thought you knew. Unfortunately for Maggie, that is what happened and my heart broke for her all over again. Surely if you love a person deeply, it won’t really matter whether they lose their arms/legs/hair etc, as they’re still the same person deep within. Right?
As you already are aware, ‘How To Walk Away’ brought extreme emotion out of my eyeballs and onto my pjs and bed – in other words, I sobbed. How could I not? Maggie’s journey is heart wrenching yet totally life affirming. For me, I read this book at the right time without even knowing it, and by golly am I glad that I listened to my subconscious.
‘How To Walk Away’ is a beautiful, beautiful story about learning how to live life again, whilst also learning how to love yourself despite the heartbreaking challenges you have had to face, or currently do face, without those who you thought would be by your side until the very end. This life affirming, powerful read will strip back your emotions, lower your guard, and take you on a journey of self discovery.
I was severely blown away by this book, and I genuinely cannot recommend it enough.