Book Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Goodreads: How to Walk Away
Publisher: Pan
Published: 09 August 2018
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

Panda Rating:

(4 pandas)

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

TL;DR: Oh, my heart… Katherine Center really has a way of taking my emotions on one heckuva rollercoaster ride. This book was at turns infuriating and heartbreakingly painful but also hopeful and surprisingly humorous. It often had me laughing out loud throughout the read but had me quietly weeping at the end. If you enjoy well-written and emotionally charged stories with realistic characters and situations, plus a swoony romance and smoulderingly sexy (Scottish!) love interest, I would highly recommend checking this out! 😉

Fun fact: In the UK version, Maggie’s douchey jock-bro ex-fiancé is named Charlie while in the US version, his name is Chip! Only found that out cos I buddy read this with Leslie @ Books Are The New Black and we realised that they’d changed his name (and we’re still confused as to why)!

“When you don’t know what to do for yourself, do something for somebody else.”

I really enjoyed Center’s writing and her ability to pull you into a story and make you feel like you’re friends with the main character and are experiencing this journey right alongside them. The writing made this an incredibly easy and enjoyable read and I probably would’ve finished it in one sitting had I not been buddy reading it! The story is predictable but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment while reading it and although for a moment I was worried that this would have a “miracle recovery ending” I’m so relieved that Center doesn’t take it in that direction. I would recommend checking out some content/trigger warnings before reading this because I can imagine that certain situations may be triggering to some readers. I’ve added CW/TW in the box below but if you don’t want to read it just skip on past this box!

Content/Trigger Warnings: descriptions of plane crash, descriptions of surgery for burn victims (neuro, skin grafts), toxic relationship, cheating, suicidal ideation, mentions of gun violence and death

Maggie was an incredible protagonist and I couldn’t imagine this book being told by anyone else but her! Her world is turned upside down when she gets into a serious aeroplane accident and she goes through a long and painful but incredible journey towards recovery. I appreciated how realistically Maggie comes to terms with how her life has changed. She experiences the whole spectrum of emotions and feelings from confusion, grief, hope, anger, self-loathing, depression and acceptance. It’s not an easy road and even by the end, it’s not perfect, but she always finds the courage to push forward. This could’ve been a very difficult and unhappy read but Center wonderfully balances the more sombre and serious tones with delightful banter, witty quips and dry humour.

“It’s the trying that heals you. That’s all you have to do. Just try.”

Maggie had such an amazing group of supporters in the form of her parents, her sister, Kitty, and her PT, Iain. Out of all of them, I think I loved Kit and Iain the most. Kit is Maggie’s older sister and she was an extra quirky and absolutely hilarious character. Although the story starts with them having an estranged relationship, I loved seeing them work through it and repair their sisterhood. Then there’s Iain, our grumpy Scottish love interest. It takes a while for Iain to loosen up around Maggie but when he does it’s like magic! 😍 Their banter was so good and their chemistry developed so naturally. Although their relationship does start unconventionally (he’s her PT), it’s a topic of discussion that is directly addressed and there are direct consequences for it. The romance isn’t the main focus of the story but it is a delightfully sweet slow burn. For those curious about how steamy this gets, aside from three kissing scenes, there is no further intimacy shown on the page!

Also, one reason I’m so glad this was a buddy read is that I 100% needed to vent about just how much I hated Charlie, his mother and even Maggie’s mum at the start! I’m not one for violence but woof, those people needed a seriously good smackdown with the way they went on! Like, I’m not trying to get into spoiler territory here but Charlie’s ‘woe is me, I feel so guilty’ attitude when Maggie was the one in hospital and the tone-deaf attitudes of both mothers made me want to RAGE and throw my book across the room because THE AUDACITY!!! 😤 *deep breath* While I’m happy that I got on board with Maggie’s mum by the end, it’s safe to say that the other two remained firmly on my hate list!

Overall, I’m glad that I finally read this as it’s been on my TBR for quite a while. It took me on a wildly emotional journey and as much as it sucker punched me in the feels, I’m so glad I got on for the ride. This was my second book by Katherine Center and I know it most certainly won’t be my last!

Have you read How to Walk Away or is it on your TBR?

11 thoughts on “Book Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

  1. This was my second Center book, and well, I loved it. That is an interesting fact that they changed the character’s name. I never get that. Covers, names — why change? My thing about Center’s books is that they always leave me wanting to be more grateful, thankful, and open to forgiveness. She blends happy and sad like a master too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where they changed a character’s name like that? Leslie and I were confused 😂 I agree with you on how Center’s books make a reader feel, especially about being grateful. She balances the emotions in her book really well and I can’t wait to read more from her 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really loved this book too. Katherine Center actually became an auto-buy author for me after I read this one. Her books just always make me feel so much and they just stick with me long after I finish reading. I love that.


  3. This was the book that started my love for Katherine Center! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, as well. Such an emotional and uplifting book. Great review!


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