Starting Now (Blossom Street Series #10)

Starting Now (Blossom Street Series #10)

by Debbie Macomber

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Debbie Macomber returns to Seattle’s beloved Blossom Street in this heartfelt tale of friendship, renewal, and discovering what’s truly important in life.

For years Libby Morgan dreamed only of making partner in her competitive, high-pressure law firm. She sacrificed everything for her career—her friends, her marriage, her chance at creating a family. When her boss calls Libby into his office, she assumes it will finally be good news, but nothing can prepare her for the shocking reality: She’s been let go and must rebuild her entire life . . . starting now.

With no job prospects in sight, Libby reaches out to old friends and spends her afternoons at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. There she forms a close bond with Lydia, the sweet-natured shop owner; Lydia’s spirited teenage daughter, Casey; and Casey’s best friend, Ava, a shy yet troubled girl who will shape Libby’s future in surprising and profound ways.

As A Good Yarn becomes a second home—and the women a new kind of family—Libby relishes the different person she’s become. She even finds time for romance with a charming and handsome doctor who seems to be her perfect match. But just as everything is coming together, Libby must make a choice that could forever change the life she holds so dear.

Warmly told and richly textured, Starting Now is filled with the promise of new beginnings and the unending delights of companionship and love.

Praise for Starting Now

“Debbie Macomber is undoubtedly among America’s favorite authors [with] a masterful gift of creating tales that are both mesmerizing and inspiring. . . . Her Blossom Street characters seem as warm and caring as beloved friends.”—Wichita Falls Times Record News

“There is a reason that legions of Macomber fans ask for more Blossom Street books. They fully engage her readers as her characters discover happiness, purpose, and meaning in life.”—Booklist (starred review)

“Macomber understands the often complex nature of a woman’s friendships, as well as the emotional language women use with their friends.”—New York Journal of Books

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345528834
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Series: Blossom Street Series , #10
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 125,716
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Debbie Macomber, the author of Love Letters, Mr. Miracle, Blossom Street Brides,and Rose Harbor in Bloom, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Nine of her novels have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists, and three of her beloved Christmas novels have been  hit movies on the Hallmark Channel, including Mrs. Miracle and Mr. Miracle. In 2013, Hallmark Channel began production on the original series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, based on Macomber’s Cedar Cove books. She has more than 170 million copies of her books in print worldwide.


Port Orchard, Washington

Date of Birth:

October 22, 1948

Place of Birth:

Yakima, Washington


Graduated from high school in 1966; attended community college

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

This was it. Surely it must be.

The instant Libby Morgan heard her paralegal tell her “Hershel would like to see you in his office,” she knew. Oh, there’d been rumblings around the office about layoffs and early retirements. Such gossip simply verified what she felt in her heart Hershel was sure to tell her. She’d waited for this moment for six very long years.

Libby had always wondered how she’d feel when she finally got the news. She longed to hold on to this sense of happy expectation for as long as possible. In retrospect, she must have intuitively known something was up because she’d worn her best pin-­striped suit today, choosing the pencil skirt over her normal tailored slacks. And thankfully she’d had a salon appointment just the day before. Getting her hair cut was long overdue, but seeing how good it looked now, she felt it was worth every penny of the hundred dollars Jacques had charged her. A good cut did wonders for her appearance. She wore her dark brown hair parted in the middle in an inverted bob so that it framed her face, curling around her jawline. Jacques had mentioned more than once how fortunate she was to have such thick hair. She hadn’t felt that way when he’d insisted she have her eyebrows plucked. But he’d been right; she looked good. Polished. Professional. She promised herself not to go so long between appointments again.

Libby didn’t see herself as any great beauty. She was far too realistic and sensible, was well aware of her physical shortcomings. At best she was pretty, or at least Joe, her ex-­husband, had told her she was. She knew she was probably no better than average. Average height, average weight; brown hair, brown eyes, with no outstanding features, but on the inside she was a dynamo. Dedicated, hard­working, goal-­oriented. Perfect partner material.

Reaching for her yellow legal pad, Libby headed toward the managing partner’s opulent office. Outwardly she remained calm and composed, but inwardly her heart raced and her head spun.

Finally. Finally, she was about to be rewarded for the hard choices and sacrifices she’d made.

Libby was in her sixth year of an eight-­year partnership track. Hopefully she was about to achieve the goal that she had set her heart on the minute she’d been accepted as an associate in the Trusts and Estates Department at Burkhart, Smith & Crandall, a high-­end Seattle-­based law firm. She was about to be made partner even earlier than anticipated.

While she didn’t want to appear overly confident, it went without saying that no one deserved it more than she did. Libby had worked harder, longer, and more effectively than any other attorney employed by the firm. Her legal expertise on the complex estate-­planning project for Martha Reed hadn’t gone unnoticed either. Libby had provided a large number of billable hours and the older woman had taken a liking to her. Over the past month two partners had stopped by her office to compliment her work.

Libby could almost feel her mother looking down on her from heaven, smiling and proud. Molly Jo Morgan had died of breast cancer when Libby was thirteen. Before dying, Libby’s mother had taken her daughter’s hand and told her to work hard, and to never be afraid to go after her goals. She’d advised Libby to dream big and warned her there would be hard choices and sacrifices along the way.

That last summer her mother was alive had set Libby’s life course for her. Although her mother wouldn’t be around to see her achievements, Libby longed to make her mother proud. Today was sure to be one of those Hey, Mom, look at me moments.

Early on in high school Libby had set her sights on becoming an attorney. She was the president of the Debate Club and was well known for her way of taking either side of an issue and making a good argument. Reaching her goal hadn’t been easy. Academic scholarships helped, but there were still plenty of expenses along the way. Funds were always tight. In order to support herself through college she’d worked as a waitress and made some good friends. Later on in law school she’d found employment as a paralegal in the Seattle area.

Her career path had taken a short detour when she married Joe Wilson. Joe worked as a short-­order cook. They’d met at the diner where she waited tables while in college. When she moved from Spokane he willingly followed her to the Seattle area and quickly found another job, cooking in a diner. He was the nicest guy in the world, but their marriage was doomed from the beginning. Joe was content to stay exactly where he was for the rest of his life while Libby was filled with ambition to be so much more. The crux came when he wanted her to take time out of her career so they could start a family. Joe wanted children and so did Libby, but she couldn’t risk being shunted off to the “Mommy Track” at the firm. She’d asked him to be patient for a couple more years. Really, that wasn’t so long. Once she was established at the firm it wouldn’t matter so much. But Joe was impatient. He feared that once those two years were up she’d want another year and then another. Nothing she said would convince him otherwise.

Hershel glanced up when she entered his office. He wasn’t smiling, but that wasn’t unusual.

“Sit down, Libby,” he said, gesturing toward the chair on the other side of his desk.

One day her office would look like this, Libby mused, with old-­ world charm, comfortable leather chairs, polished wood bookcases, and a freestanding globe. Pictures of Hershel’s wife and children stared back at her from the credenza behind his desk. The one of him sailing never failed to stir her. Hershel had his face to the camera, his hair wind-­tossed as the sailboat sliced through the Pacific Ocean on a crystal-­clear day, with a sky as blue as Caribbean waters. The sailboat keeled over so close to the water’s edge she wanted to hold her breath for fear the vessel would completely overturn.

The photograph inspired Libby because it proved to her that one day, as partner, she, too, would have time to vacation and enjoy life away from the office. But in order to do that her work, her commitment to the law firm and her clients, had to be her sole focus.

Libby sat in the chair Hershel indicated and relaxed, crossing her legs. She knew the managing partner’s agenda. What she hadn’t expected was the deeply etched look of concern on his face. Oh, it would be just like Hershel to lead into this announcement circuitously.

“I’ve taken a personal interest in you from the day the firm decided to hire you,” he said, setting his pen down on his desk. He took a moment to be certain it was perfectly straight.

“I know and I’m grateful.” Libby rested her back against the comfortable padding. “It’s been a wonderful six years. I’ve worked hard and feel that I’m an asset to the firm.”

“You have done an excellent job.”

Libby resisted the impulse to remind him of all the billable hours she’d piled up on a number of accounts.

“You’re a hard worker and an excellent attorney.”

Libby took a moment to savor his words. Hershel wasn’t known to hand out praise freely. “Thank you.” She sat up straighter now, anticipating what would come next. First he would smile, and then he would announce that after discussing the matter with the other partners they would like to . . .

Her projection was interrupted when Hershel went on to say, “I’m sure you’re aware that the last six months have been a challenge for the firm.” He met her gaze head-­on, and in his eyes she read regret and concern as his thick brows came together. “We’ve experienced a significant decline in profitability due to the recession.”

A tingling sensation started at the base of Libby’s neck. This conversation wasn’t taking the route she’d anticipated.

“I’ve certainly carried my load,” she felt obliged to remind him. More than any other attorney on staff, especially Ben Holmes, she thought but didn’t say. At six o’clock, like a precision timepiece, Ben was out the door.

Hershel picked up the same pen he’d so carefully positioned only a few moments before and held it between his palms. “You’ve carried a substantial load, which is one reason why this decision has been especially difficult.”

“Decision?” she repeated as a sense of dread quickly overtook any elation she’d experienced earlier.

“The problem is your lack of ‘making rain,’ ” he said. “You haven’t brought any major clients into the firm.”

Meeting potential clients was next to impossible with the hours she worked. Libby had tried attending social functions but she wasn’t good at “power schmoozing” the way others were. She felt awkward inserting herself into conversations or initiating them herself. With little to talk about besides work, she often felt inept and awkward. She hadn’t always been this shy, this hesitant.

“Hershel,” she said, voicing her suspicion, her greatest fear, “what are you trying to say? You aren’t laying me off, are you?” She finished with a short disbelieving laugh.

The senior partner exhaled slowly and then nodded. “I can’t tell you how much I regret having to do this. You aren’t the only one. We’re letting five go in all. As you can imagine this hasn’t been an easy decision.”

Libby’s first concern was for her paralegal. “Sarah?”

“She’s fine. She’ll be reassigned.”

Libby’s heart slowed to a dull thud.

“We’re offering you a generous severance package.” Hershel outlined the details but Libby sat frozen, stunned, unable to believe this was actually happening. People she worked with, people she knew, were losing their jobs. She was losing her job. Why hadn’t she sensed that? She didn’t like to think she was so out of touch with reality that she hadn’t picked up on it.

“I’d also like to offer you a bit of advice, Libby, if I may?”

The shock had yet to dissipate, and because her throat had gone dry she didn’t respond. All she could manage was to stare at him aghast, disbelieving, shaken to the very core of her being.

“I don’t want you to think of this as the end. This is a new beginning for you. One of the reasons I’ve taken a personal interest in you is because you’re very much the way I was years ago. I felt the need to prove myself, too. I set my sights on making partner to the exclusion of everything else, the same way I’ve seen you do. I completely missed my children’s childhoods. By the time they were in high school they were strangers to me. Thankfully, I’ve been able to make up for lost time. The point is I sacrificed far too much, and I see you making the same mistakes I did.”

Libby tried to focus but couldn’t get past the fact that she was suddenly unemployed. She blinked a couple of times in an effort to absorb what was happening. It didn’t help. The sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach intensified.

“I hope,” Hershel continued, “that you will take this time to find some balance in life. Starting now.”

“Pardon?” she asked, looking up and blinking. Some of the numbness had begun to wear off. All Libby could think about was the fact that she had given her life, her marriage, her everything to this firm, and they were about to shove her out the door.

“I want you to enjoy life,” Hershel repeated. “A real life, with friends and interests outside of the office. There’s a whole world out there ready for you to explore.”

Libby continued to stare at him. Didn’t Hershel understand? She had a life, and that life was right here in this office. She was passionate about her work and now it was being ripped away from her.

“Who will take over working with Martha Reed?” she asked. Surely this was all a big mistake. Martha Reed was one of their most important clients and she enjoyed working with Libby.

Customer Reviews

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Starting Now: A Blossom Street Novel 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 158 reviews.
Cowboy More than 1 year ago
A good story very easy to read...I enjoyed it alot..:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always enjoyed Mrs. Macombers books, especially the Blossom Street series. I was looking forward to this one and splurged to buy it as soon as it was available.  However, this book is a true disappointment.  The characters and the story line are quite shallow and none of the characters seem fully developed.  The story does not flow well and is disorganized and disjointed.  So much so that it is an almost painful reading experience. Few previous characters are mentioned and fewer still are actually involved in the story. I usually get into a book and hate for it to end.  With Starting Now I couldn't wait for it to end.  I prefer to make positive comments or none at all but I feel that I should warn other readers.  I regret purchasing this book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Debbie Macomber book and I loved it. Didn't want to put it down - limited myself on reading so read it over a 3 evening period. Very nice to find such a delightful book full of interesting characters. The writing style was so good it was easy to be able to imagine the characters and the scenes. Now I'm going to have to go and find all the other books in this series. I haven't enjoyed reading like this since I was a kid and read a book a day. Highly recommend!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Starting Now is the ninth full length novel in the popular Blossom Street series by American author, Debbie Macomber. The main players are Libby Morgan, an attorney dealing with estate planning who finds herself unexpectedly unemployed, and the brusque, unpleasant Dr Phillip Stone, aka Heart of Stone, a physician working with newborns and premature births. Libby’s enforced leisure time leads her to A Good Yarn, where she makes friends with Lydia, Casey and Casey’s friend, a troubled teen named Ava. Other activities bring her into Dr Stone’s sphere. After some radical life changes, Libby thinks she has discovered what is important in her life. But another unanticipated event finds Libby trading her physical treadmill at the gym for a metaphorical treadmill at work. There is a background romance as one of Libby’s friends, attorney Robin Hamlin starts a relationship with widower, Judge Roy Bollinger. Macomber touches on quite a few topical issues: work/life balance, tattoos, teen pregnancy and adoption. Fans of the Blossom Street series will be pleased to encounter cameos or mentions of characters from at least four previous books. Discounting the naiveté that attorney Libby shows about adoption, and the inordinate amount of free time physician Dr Stone seems to be able to conjure for coffees and lunches and afternoons of sailing, this is still a sweet romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would like to know the demographics of her fan base as i found it somewhat juvenile. i bought it based on reviews and the theme being very relevant to me right now Going through health issues and trying to realign with whats important in life. I did like some of that but i just didnt find it very deep. It was Ok.
BJWTX More than 1 year ago
Love this book as all I've read by her. This one was especially full of life's lessons. Trust forgiveness and giving to other reaps a certain joy unspeakable. Thanks Debbie for another wonderful book.
BeachRead245 More than 1 year ago
Have you ever had a day that started out well, only to feel like someone pulled the rug out from beneath your feet? This is what happened to the central character Libby Morgan in the novel "Starting Now", by Debbie Macomber. Libby is a dedicated successful lawyer with her eye on a partnership. Libby has paid her dues, (6 years at her firm, expert in the field of estate planning, earned an impressive amount of billable hours), and was well liked by a key client of the firm. An offer of partner should have been a no brainer. Imagine Libby's surprise when she is handed a pink slip and a severance package. The world as Libby knew it no longer existed. Libby had to make a new world for herself...starting now. My Thoughts The characters and the places are vividly described in “Starting Now”. I felt like I was watching a movie as I read the developing plot in the book. The issues faced by the characters in the book are realistic. The story was engaging and enjoyable, sad, yet joyful. I was able to relate to Libby Morgan’s character as well as other characters in the book. The characters felt like old friends by the end of the book. I found myself caring what happened to the characters, how they resolved their issues. How would Libby rebuild her life? Would she learn from her past mistakes or continue down the same worn out path?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Libby Morgan has sacrificed everything for her career, family, friends, her marriage. She has been on the partner track at her law firm for six years. When her boss calls her to his office she just knows it is going to be fantastic news. She is going to make partner ahead of her schedule. But the economy has been bad, she hasn’t brought in enough high profile clients and her boss has no choice but to let her go. Devastated and with no job on the horizon she finds herself at A Good Yarn, the local knitting store. She immediately becomes friends with Lydia, the owner, and her daughter Casey. She also meets Casey’s friend Eva. Eva’s life is about to change and it will change Libby’s life as well. Libby starts to understand what she has been missing by putting her career before everything else. She even meets a handsome doctor. When things start to finally be moving forward in her life she is forced to make a choice that could change everything again. Dollycas’s Thoughts It is so easy to escape into a Debbie Macomber book. They are always inspiring and have the ability to uplift the reader. She has created rich and warm characters and given them stories that are heartfelt. We all suffer losses in our lifetimes, be it losing our jobs or losing someone important to us and what counts is how we deal with that loss. Libby did have a nice severance package that allowed her time to start over but Starting Now really presents a feeling of hope. Hope of a successful career, hope of someone to love, hopes for friends and family. While this book is part of a series it still reads well as a stand alone. It is not my favorite Blossom Street story but I sure did enjoy it. Libby makes a wonderful addition to the Blossom Street cast.
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This place is falling apart. He turns hus head over ti the bloody cat. "Hello..."
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Sweet! What A lovely story. It was warm, sensitive, and romantic. Debbie Macomber continues to write such interesting and intriguing stories on various topics. LA-TXN
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GHott More than 1 year ago
Hott Synopsis: When Libby is laid off from her all encompassing job at a prestigious law firm it’s with the advice that she ‘get a life’. Awestruck at the audacity of the senior partner she begins right away to look for work only to find that no one needs her expertise. After months of searching relentlessly for new employment and depleting her generous severance package and most of her savings Libby begins to wonder if maybe that advice wasn’t worth more than she first assumed. So begins the journey to acquaint herself with someone she’s never gotten to know – herself. Hott Review: What I liked: I loved this journey of self-discovery. Yes, there is a romance in here but overall this story is all about a who decides to have a life. It was emotional, fun, and heart-warming. What I didn’t like: WOW! I can’t believe that’s all of the Blossom St novels – I could have sworn I’d read more. More… Author: Debbie Macomber Source: Ballantine Books via Netgalley Grade: A Steam: Adult Series: Blossom Street #9
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An inspiring book! I also was displaced from a job and had to begin a new life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another amazing book!