Title: Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Inspirational
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Beloved bestselling author Debbie Macomber returns with a powerful standalone novel about a woman forced to start her life anew, embarking on the most courageous journey of all—to a place where she learns what love and trust really mean.
Shay Benson adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.
Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.
The pair strike up a friendship—Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.
But Caden’s return to town and a disastrous secret threaten to undo the life Shay has tried so hard to rebuild. It will take the utmost courage and faith if she and Drew hope to find healing and open their hearts to a brighter future.
Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber is an uplifting novel of redemption, second chances and love. This substantive story also includes an element of faith that is not just spiritual since a major part of the storyline centers around the belief that people can and will prevail as they attempt to turn their lives around after making disastrous life choices.
Drew Douglas is the pastor of a Seattle Church but after the death of his beloved wife Katie three years earlier, he is still struggling with lingering grief and a loss of faith. His surprise meeting with Shay Benson changes his life, but initially, not in a romantic sense. In helping her, he finds his way back to the friends and mentors he gradually allowed to slip out of his life after Katie’s death. As he becomes more engaged in life, Drew finally recognizes that he is battling more than just grief and a crisis of faith. Once he begins to emerge from the darkness that has shrouded him, Drew finds a renewed purpose and joy in his ministry. He occasionally sees Shay during this year of recovery and once both of their lives are back on track, the two form a surprising friendship that gradually deepens into love.
A dysfunctional and abusive childhood set Shay on a self-destructive path at a young age. Her poor choices also affected her brother Caden after she introduces him to her drug dealing and addicted boyfriend. On the brink of leaving er past behind, Shay’s loyalty to Caden and her guilt over involving him in her ill-fated choices results in a terrible decision that culminates with severe consequences for her. Three years later, Shay is once again presented with an opportunity to make a better life for herself, but can she bring herself to believe she is worthy of this second chance?
The friendship between Shay and Drew is quite sweet but there are quite a few obstacles they both must overcome before exploring the unexpected romance that springs up between them. Shay is constantly striving to quiet the little voice in her head that tries to convince her she does not deserve a better life.She is incredibly kindhearted and never hesitates to welcome those less fortunate into her life and her heart. While she is at first skeptical of letting God into her life, a newfound faith finally becomes an integral part of Shay’s life.
Drew is initially somewhat hesitant to bring Shay into both his and his children’s lives but he cannot deny he is drawn to her. Several people in his congregation question his judgment and he draws upon Scripture to gently, yet pointedly, make his case for welcoming her into their fold. A few issues crop up along the way that seem to indicate he might have made a precipitous decision to trust Shay but Drew’s faith in her does not waver. However, when a situation spirals out of control, will Drew be forced to decide between his church and Shay?
Any Dream Will Do is a truly inspiring novel that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to turn their life around. The romance between Shay and Drew is quite touching, but their relationship is secondary to the growth of the characters. &Shay’s journey is compelling and her emotions, regrets and doubts are realistically depicted. Drew’s struggle to regain his lost faith and overcome the loss of his wife are portrayed with stark honesty. The storyline also touches on social problems such as homelessness and addiction in a forthright and sensitive manner. This newest release by Debbie Macomber is a captivating story of hope, love and faith that will linger in readers’ hearts and minds long after the last page is turned.