Tag Archives: sweet romance

Motherhood

The third book in my Bethany Beach series is out now on Kindle!

Anne’s Family Plan takes place up the coast  from Bethany at Dover, Delaware. Its story centers on civilian physical therapist Anne Lee (first seen in Book One in the series, Reese’s Summer of Promise) who, after learning she’s unlikely to ever bear children, meets a USAF pilot, a widower with two daughters, ages twelve and fifteen. As Anne comes to grips with the fact that she’s perfectly fine without motherhood in her future, she has to confront a big question: What happens when you fall in love with a man but not his kids? She eventually discovers that motherhood is not a one-size-fits-all career.

Annes_Family_Plan_200x300I’m a happy mother of three grown children, but before I bore them I’d not been around babies or even young tots much at all. My ideas of motherhood were wildly unrealistic. I had this notion, for example, that I’d be able to take my new infant with me to opera rehearsals (I was a singer at the time), and he’d sleep peacefully through the whole practice. (Cue hysterical laughter from mothers everywhere.)

As my children grew, I discovered I struggled with some other aspects of motherhood. I was horrible at setting up play dates, for example, because I came of age when kids just found each other and played in yards or in alleys.

I also don’t think I was terrific at children’s birthday parties, not knowing how to keep fun flowing and merriment abounding, astonished at how a particular game lasted only five minutes when I’d budgeted twenty for it.

I could go on, but the bottom line is: I was less than perfect at some mothering tasks, okay at others, and maybe really good at some.

When I watch my daughter-in-law deal with motherhood with grace and panache, I’m in awe. I know it’s hard but she makes it seem effortless.

I console myself over my failures with memories of successes (I hope they were, at least!). I was a fierce advocate for my kids at their schools, making sure they were in appropriate classes for their skill levels and, yes, battling with some teachers who, oddly enough, seemed challenged by bright kids. (And I did this while also trying to instill in my kids respect for those teachers, even when they treated my children unfairly.)

Despite my mothering deficits, my kids did look up to me enough to seek my counsel. For years, an armchair sat next to my desk (I worked from home at freelance jobs) that we dubbed the “advice chair” because at various times they’d plop down in it, often interrupting my work, to talk out a problem or tell me about their goings-on. That chair still sits in our family room now, and I don’t know if I could ever get rid of it, despite how worn it becomes.

I love my children more than life itself. But I realized, looking back, that motherhood was sometimes an uncomfortable fit for me and that I struggled to do a good job.

And you know what? That’s okay.

It’s okay if you struggle at parenting. Your particular child doesn’t come with an instruction book.

It’s okay if you get some things wrong. In fact, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are thousands of ways to parent that will not damage a child irreparably, and only a handful of things that will ruin a kid’s life.

It’s okay if you even wonder if you should be a parent.

That’s at the crux of Anne’s Family Plan. As Anne falls in love with Lt. Col. Eric Bankwell, she also confronts the fact that she’s okay not wanting to be a mother — even as two friends announce their pregnancies. What she’s not okay with is pretending to care for Eric’s daughters…until she learns she really does.

BookLife has said of Anne’s Family Plan:

“This book features an uncommon plot and unique take on modern-day romance and one that highlighted some pervasive, but little seen, aspects of military life…The standard love-story trope is elevated here into something intriguing, quickly capturing and keeping the reader’s attention.”

I want to thank my USAF pilot son David Sternberg for helping me with military and air force details. (All mistakes are my own, however!)

I hope you take a chance on this new book. It’s on sale as it launches at the Kindle store (you can order it here) and will be available in print soon.

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Favorite Beach Read 2019: Reese’s Summer of Promise

I’d love it if my book was the “Favorite Beach Read of 2019,” but I don’t even know where to submit it for such an honor. So I’m daydreaming with the title of this post. I hope you’ll indulge me as I tell you a little about this book and why I hope it becomes readers’ favorite beach read of the summer.

First, let’s talk about what makes a good beach read. For me, it’s something not too dark, that keeps me rooting for the characters, has a layered, not shallow, plot, and, yes, involves a happy ending. Throw in a beach location, and it’s a beach beach read!

Reese’s Summer of Promise is the first of three books set along the Delaware coast. So, beach setting–check!

Its main characters are strong, independent people. There’s Reese, who can operate a back hoe and other heavy construction equipment as VP of her father’s construction company. There’s Zack, an army man home to do physical therapy for a leg injury acquired in Afghanistan. Both start their summer “friendship” still stinging from rejection. He received a “Dear John” letter from his fiancee while in the “sandbox,” while Reese received the same breakup from her airman fiance when he was similarly deployed. So, interesting characters–check!

Reeses_Summer_of_Promise_1600x2400As to a layered plot, both Reese and Zack shy away from commitment after being deeply hurt, and they both are dealing with other challenges. Reese, along with her two siblings, is still trying to get her recently widowed father to honor her mother’s wishes and have a memorial service, scattering her ashes along the coast she loved as much as Reese does. Zack is working hard to get his leg back in shape, determined to rejoin his unit wherever they are next sent. Throw in this mix a discovery of old World War II love letters involving a soldier from nearby Fort Miles. As the summer progresses, Reese wonders if the soldier made it home alive…just as she is falling for her own soldier and learns he might be going in harm’s way once more. So, layered plot – check!

The Delaware coastline is a favorite spot for my family. We love vacationing there, especially at the “quiet resort” of Bethany Beach, where Reese lives and works. The book takes readers on a journey to this beautiful area, its bays and salt marshes, its eateries and beaches, and its history. Concrete silos from World War II still dot its coastline, and soldiers were once stationed at Cape Henlopen’s Fort Miles with guns trained on the entrance to the Delaware Bay so no enemy ships could get through to the refineries up river.

As with all beach settings, romance seems to float in with the tide, and Reese can’t resist its pull any more than Zack can, despite the fact that they both start in the “friend zone,” not intent on anything beyond a summer fling, something Reese’s best friend, Anne, urges on her, as she thinks about Zack:

“I’ve sworn off military men,” Reese said, gazing over to where Zack and his friends ambled on the boardwalk. She cringed for him—he’d given up on hiding his pain and now openly limped. They were all so intent on proving to the world they could take it—whatever “it” was. She’d spent enough time with a man like that. Sam had been full of bluster and pride, eager to show her around the base, to brag about what he did, how he helped schedule all the big transports out of Dover. No more. Swagger just hid the truth—they were human.

Then she remembered Anne was dating a military man, Gabe something, a pilot at Dover. They’d only been going out about a month.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with military men for other people,” Reese added, so as not to offend Anne.

Anne was the one snorting now, then she sat up again and returned to her more serious mood. She lightly touched Reese’s hand.

“Not that there’s anything wrong with being…intrigued by a man, military or not. It doesn’t mean commitment. It means enjoying yourself. Look, I wouldn’t be surprised if Zack was interested in you. He’s only here for the summer. What’s wrong with a summer fling? You deserve it.”

Reese’s Summer of Promise will be available soon at Amazon. The Kindle price is a bargain, so I hope you check it out and look for the next in the series after you visit with Reese and Zack. And I hope  — and daydream — that readers will find it a favorite beach read this year!

Visit Libby’s website at www.LibbyMalin.com for information on her other novels.

 

 

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