Window on the Bay: A Novel

Window on the Bay: A Novel

by Debbie Macomber

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • When a single mom becomes an empty nester, she spreads her wings to rediscover herself—and her passions—in this heartwarming novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber.
Jenna Boltz’s life is at a crossroads. After a messy divorce from her surgeon husband nearly twenty years ago, she raised her two children on her own, juggling motherhood with her beloved job as a Seattle intensive-care nurse. Now that Paul and Allie have gone to college and moved out, Jenna can’t help but wonder what her future holds.

Her best friend, Maureen, is excited for Jenna’s newfound independence. Now is the perfect time to finally book the trip to Paris they’ve been dreaming of since their college days. But when it comes to life’s other great adventure—dating—Jenna still isn’t sure she’s ready to let love in . . . until an unexpected encounter begins to change her mind.

When Jenna’s elderly mother breaks her hip, Dr. Rowan Lancaster saves the day. Despite his silent, stoic exterior, Rowan is immediately smitten with Jenna. And even though Jenna is hesitant about becoming involved with another surgeon, she has to admit that she’s more than a little intrigued. But when Jenna’s children approach her with shocking news, she realizes that she needs to have faith in love and embrace the unexpected—before the life she has always dreamed of passes her by.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399181344
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/16/2019
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 1,187
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Debbie Macomber, the author of Cottage by the Sea, Any Dream Will Do, If Not for You, and the Rose Harbor Inn series, is a leading voice in women’s fiction. Thirteen of her novels have reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists, and five of her beloved Christmas novels have been hit movies on the Hallmark Channel, including Mrs. Miracle and Mr. Miracle. Hallmark Channel also produced the original series Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove, based on Macomber’s Cedar Cove books. She is also the author of the cookbook Debbie Macomber’s Table. There are more than 200 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



I’d waited for this for a long time.

I sat in the small nook with the padded seat in my upstairs bedroom, gazing out the window. The view of Elliott Bay stretched before me. I loved this spot, my contemplation area. I leaned my back against the wall, my knees drawn up as I gazed out over the panorama. The gray skies had threatened rain earlier in the day. Despite popular opinion, Seattle wasn’t drenched in drizzle all twelve months of the year. No matter what the weather, my window on the bay never failed to soothe me. In contrast, this afternoon the sky was blue and bright in late September, and the waters of Puget Sound as green as an emerald lawn. The waterfront area of Seattle was filled with tourists, the streets busy with those either departing or returning from Alaskan cruises.

My mind was spinning with the changes about to take place in my life. The day before, I’d helped Allie settle into her dorm room at my alma mater, the University of Washington. My daughter was about to spread her wings at college, just as I’d done all those years ago. Although I’d been looking forward to this day, I worried. Allie was nothing like her older brother, Paul. My son had been the man of the house and was more mature than his years, especially after his father left us. Allie could be overly emotional at times, and I had to admit I’d spoiled her, though not to the point that she was self-centered and irrational. I’d wanted her to commute from home the first couple years of college, but she insisted that she wanted to live in the dorms. Eventually I’d given in, remembering that my parents had given me that experience to let me soar on my own.

This move was big for Allie and equally big for me.

My nest was now empty.

The silent house had never felt louder. It was as if I could hear the hollowness surrounding me. While I had been looking forward to this time, I wasn’t completely sure what I wanted to do with myself. I’d spent the last sixteen years as a single mom, dedicating my life, my resources, and my everything to my two children, all the while juggling a full-time career. It hadn’t been easy being both mother and father, but I was smarter and wiser, especially in the area of men. I could fix a leaky pipe, clean gutters, and assemble a chest of drawers with instructions written in a foreign language. I was woman—and I could pound my chest as hard as any man.

And now, after years of attending sporting events—soccer, baseball, and basketball games, as well as swimming meets—I finally had time for myself. I thought of all the music lessons, the Girl Scout Cookie drives I’d organized, and how I’d been class mother for both Paul and Allie in their grade-school years. The last year Paul was in junior high, I’d been president of the PTA. My kids’ teeth were straight, and they both were grounded and obtained above-average grades.

As I looked out my window, I remembered that sense of elation mingled with worries and doubts which nearly overwhelmed me when I dropped Allie off at the college campus. I watched a green-and-white Washington state ferry sail toward Bainbridge Island.

I refused to let my concerns take away this special moment. I let the calming view settle my nerves and I turned my focus onto what this new season of life meant for me.

I’d raised my children, made sacrifices for them, stayed focused on their needs, but now I could look to the future and make plans of my own. Unlike their father, I’d taken my responsibility as a parent seriously. Kyle had proved to be a sorry disappointment as a husband, but especially as a father.

I had an entire list of what I hoped to accomplish in the next few years. For a long time, I’d wanted to find a creative way to express myself. Zumba class, painting. I’d been toying with the idea of creating a Bullet Journal, too. The possibilities were endless. And trips. I longed to travel, to see the world, study new cultures, taste the local cuisines. With France, especially Paris, on the top of the page, of course. Between my work schedule at the hospital and all the kids’ activities, I’d never found time to fit any of these things into my life.

But I could now.

Paris. The more I thought about it, the more I longed to make that trip a possibility. Maureen and I had put off that dream for far too long. Like me, Maureen was divorced now, too. We’d been single moms together all these years, and formed our own support group. Both of our marriages had gone down in flames, and Paris was shoved into the black hole called “someday.” Well, “someday” was now, finally within reach.

I dropped my legs from my perch and reached for the phone, calling Maureen to invite her over for a movie and some girl time together. She was quick to agree, eager to hear how Allie’s move-in at college had gone.

Before she arrived I had the popcorn popping, and for the fun of it, I’d downloaded Casablanca, hoping to remind her of our long-ago dream.

The doorbell rang, and I set aside the remote to answer the door.

Maureen came into the house waving a grocery bag. “You’ll like what’s inside!” She was a petite brunette with deep brown eyes that revealed her subtle wit and intelligence. Her hair was the same shade as her eyes. She wore it shoulder-length, and I envied how thick it was.

Over the years I’d come to appreciate Maureen all the more. We talked often and supported each other through everything that life had thrown our way. She’d been the first person I’d called after Kyle left, and when Allie broke her arm. I couldn’t have asked for a better best friend.

She pulled out a container from the bag, revealing my favorite flavor of ice cream: salted caramel, my weakness.

“A perfect addition to a perfect day.” I took it from her and headed into the kitchen to place it in the freezer.

Maureen trailed behind me. “How was your hot date?”

My hand paused on the freezer door as I thought back over my dinner with the insurance adjuster. It had been washed from my mind, an evening I was eager to forget. “A disappointment.”

“Yellow light?”

Maureen and I had devised our own grading system when it came to men and dating. A green light meant there was real potential. A yellow light meant we were waiting to learn more and would proceed with caution. A red light was a flat no, no questions asked, not happening. No way. No how.

“Red light?”

I gave a sad nod.

“After one date?”

I expelled a lengthy sigh, letting it whistle through my teeth. What was it with men? “He thought dinner at a cheap Mexican restaurant gave him a free license to spend the night.”

“Give me a break,” Maureen said, shaking her head.

I’d dated off and on since my divorce. My children had always been my priority. Still, there were times when I needed adult male companionship for my own mental health, yet in all the years since Kyle and I had split, I hadn’t met a man I felt deserved a green light. Several had looked promising in the beginning, but as we got to know each other better, something always seemed to be fundamentally lacking. I was beginning to think the “lacking” might be me—that I’d set my standards too high.

My marriage to Kyle hadn’t helped matters. I’d come out of it with trust issues and with the fear of making yet another mistake. Now, with both kids in college, I’d hoped to seriously look at my relationships with men.

“How frustrating,” Maureen said. Seeing the bowls of popcorn on the kitchen counter, she reached for them and led the way into the family room.

I loved my Colonial-style house that was set on a hill overlooking Elliott Bay. Other than my children, it was the best thing I’d gotten out of my marriage. The family room off the kitchen was where we all gathered to watch television, or to sit by the fireplace on a cold, rainy Seattle day on the comfortable, oversized, well-loved leather furniture. One year for Christmas, my dad had a gas line installed to the fireplace, so I didn’t need to fuss with building a fire with wood any longer. All winter long, I had that fire going. It added a touch of warmth to those chilly nights while Paul and Allie sank into the big chairs to do their homework.

I had Casablanca primed and ready to play.

Popcorn for dinner and ice cream for dessert. Now, that was freedom.

I reached for the remote. Maureen had her shoes off and her ankles crossed on the ottoman as she munched on the popcorn. “You picked the movie?”

“Yup, and you’re going to love it.” I hit the remote, and immediately the music leading up to Casablanca began to play.

Maureen’s smile widened. “Is this what I think it is?”

I couldn’t keep from smiling. “Yup, and that should tell you what I’m thinking.”

“Paris,” Maureen cried. “You want to start planning for our trip to Paris.” Her eyes shone with enthusiasm.

“At last, our someday is here.” I could already feel the excitement building inside me. Over the years, we’d never stopped talking about our trip to Paris, but the timing had never been right. “I’m thinking we can go next spring.”

Customer Reviews

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Window on the Bay 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 71 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
So good
Anonymous 6 months ago
It's so nice to have a real story that's fun to follow and has a happy ending. We have so little of that these days, Thank you
Anonymous 6 months ago
Fantastic Read! Could not put it down!
Anonymous 6 months ago
Loved it!
Anonymous 7 months ago
AngRI 7 months ago
So much more than romance! My Review: If you have taken a peek at my reviews at all you will find out that I am a big Debbie Macomber fan, I generally read her new releases right away and am obsessed with her Christmas stories. So, of course, I jumped at the chance to read this newest release. I was thinking this might be a continuation of Cottage by the Sea, her release from last year, but it doesn't seem to be, they both seem to be standalone books which I am 100% happy with reading. I love how this book follows two middle aged moms with recent empty nests, I am not quite there yet but getting close (other than the single parent part) and was really able to relate to them and their struggles to find their new definitions now that Mom wasn't the main focus anymore. The friendship between Jenna and Maureen was so inspiring, we should all have a friendship like that in our lives, someone who just gets us, supports us and guides us. The romances are slow burn, clean and realistic with all the baggage that comes with dating later in life. Macomber really pushed her characters outside their comfort zones and made them look past their preconceived notions of what the perfect partner should be. The romance also didn't completely take over the story, so much of the story is focused on friendships and family dynamics as well. I really appreciated the little peek into the struggles of letting your adult child make their own decisions and how the relationships shift as they grow up. My Rating: I really appreciated how this story was so full of various plot lines and that it wasn't solely focused on the romance. It was a nice reminder of what a great friendship looks like. I thoroughly enjoyed it and give it a rating of Four Paws!
Anonymous 6 months ago
I enjoyed every quickly turning page. Thank you.
Anonymous 6 months ago
Loved the story of two college friends, now single mothers and all their problems, love included.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Love the book read it in two days
KrisAnderson_TAR 7 months ago
Window on the Bay is the latest novel by Debbie Macomber. I thought the story was well-written with steady pacing. I enjoy Debbie Macomber’s writing style. She manages draw the reader into her world and hold their attention. I like that the main characters are two women in their forties who now have empty households. Jenna and Maureen are likeable and relatable women (which Ms. Macomber is known for creating). It is great that the two women are close friends and are there for each other. Both women are divorced and have spent the last twenty years taking care of their kids. Now is a chance for the two women to “spread their wings”. Jenna wants them to finally take the trip to Paris that they had to postpone after college plus she is thinking about taking a painting class. We also get to see a different perspective with Jenna’s eighteen year old daughter, Allie. Jenna is making changes at home, which upsets Allie. Allie may want to live on her own and discover who she is, but she does not want things to change at home. This provides balance to the story and a different outlook. Maureen and Jenna have dated sporadically over the years. But they have been burned by their husbands, and it is hard to open themselves up to love and to trust another man. Dating is not easy as we see with Jenna and Maureen. Each person learns something about themselves through the process. It is never too late to grow and change. The path to happily ever after is bumpy, but well worth the effort. I admit that I related more to Maureen with her love of books and dislike of sports. I enjoyed the light humor sprinkled throughout the story and I appreciated that is a clean story (no foul language or intimate relations). Jenna’s favorite spot in her home is her window seat with the view of Elliott Bay. I could understand how she finds peace from looking out at the water. It was nice there was an epilogue to wrap up the book. Window on the Bay is a heartwarming book with a happily-ever-after that will please readers and reading it is a lovely way to spend a leisurely afternoon.
JamieS 7 months ago
The book starts with the story of Jenna and Maureen, who have been friends since college. The dream in college was to go to Paris after graduation. Maureens surpise pregnancy changed plans and soon they were both married and mother. We join them in their life after their divorce and the kids are all gone to college--they wonder if they will finally get to go on the trip or if they will ever find love again. When Rowan and Logan enter their lives, it shakes their world up and the going isn't always smooth. This was a sweet story about a lifelong friendship, becoming empty nesters and hoping to find love again. I've always love reading Debbie Macomber books, the blossom street are my favorite. I enjoyed this immensely and had a hard time putting it down--I wanted to see if happy ending was in story for these friends! I highly recommend! Thank you NetGalley for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
TarynLee 7 months ago
Jenna's is trying to figure out how to deal with the changes that have entered her life. She has been divorced for a lo g time but her two children have always been her main priority. Now that her youngest is off to college she has become an empty nester and wants to make some changes. The problem is she doesn't know where to begin, her dating life has been non-existent and while raising her children she hasn't had time for much else. Her best friend Maureen is happy for her friend a d looks forward to planning a trip that they never got to take in college. They both have always dreamed of going to Paris and it looks like it might actually happen. When Jenna's mother breaks her hip the trip gets pushed back but the two still both want to put themselves out there. They both end up meeting new people but life has A way of mucking things up. Will the two ladies find love with the men they have met or will they have to continue to look for their special someone? Will they ever make that trip to Paris or will something always get in the way? Follow along as these women look for love and manage the minefield that shows you that love might not be easy but it's worth it in the end.
iiiireader 7 months ago
This is the story of two women who are starting over in life as middle age approaches. Jenna is an intensive care nurse who divorced her surgeon husband decades earlier. She has spent her life, since then, focusing on raising her two children, Paul and Allie. Now, both children are off to college, though her ties to both are still deep. Maureen is a librarian and married while still in college when she she became pregnant with her daughter, Tori. The marriage didn’t work out and she has been single ever since. The women dreamed of going to Paris when they were in college but life got in the way and so it got postponed. They are thinking of going again but life reared its head once again. The women haven’t dated that much but developed a code for dates called green light/red light. This is exactly what it sounds like, green go, red stop, and even yellow, proceed with caution. Both women meet new men whom they would never have expected to date. They have to decide whether it is time for a green light even though the new men in their lives are completely different from what they expected to find at this point in their lives. Life, by way of their grown children, steps in to divert their attention either from or to these new men (depending on which Jenna or Maureen is involved.) The two confront new facets of themselves during this journey. The window on the bay is a place where Jenna goes to seek comfort and solace and to unwind. Debbie Macomber has written another lovely tale. It speaks of life with its ups and downs. Her books are always a lovely adventure and one that is believable and uplifting. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Debbie Macomber never fails to satisfy my reader's soul when I am looking for a gentle, kind, sweet and satisfying read. I have read so many of her novels that I know what to expect but I never know how to expect it. She writes about ordinary people, ordinary looking people, leading ordinary lives. No glitz, no riches, just normal people, whom you might meet anywhere, which is so refreshing to me in this day of bodice ripping novels with glamorous heroines and dashing princes or pirates, and extreme erotica. Window On The Bay is the latest book by Debbie Macomber and one that my heart will hold forever. It's a book about second chances and learning that it's ok to start over, no matter where your life has taken you so far. Jenna and Maureen have been BFFs since their college days. They have seen each other through broken relationships and broken marriages; both are raising their children as single moms and putting the needs of their children first every day and in every way. Now in their 40's they both find themselves as empty nesters and decide to revisit their college dream to visit Paris in the Spring; a dream which was way sided when Maureen announced an unplanned pregnancy. All these years later, they decide to embark, finally, on their big adventure, but life intervenes again. Jenna's 74 year old mother falls and breaks her hip, forcing the friends to, once again, postpone their long dreamed of trip. However, due to this delay, both women have amazing men walk into their lives: men they were not looking for but had every quality they needed: men who also needed them. Of course, misunderstandings, dispute, distrust and other baggage issues intervene on all sides and cause breakups for both couples. Will either find their "happily ever after"? How will their children react? Will Jenna and Maureen ever get to Paris? Interlaced in this tale we discover the lives of not just Jenna and Maureen, but the complicated lives of their children in this confusing age, trying to find their own way in life: trying to decide what to do with their lives; making mistakes and searching for their own answers. Truly satisfying, this is one of Debbie's richest novels yet. It is a vacation for your soul as it is gentle, kind, normal and sweet. You close the book, not wishing for more, because the book is as satisfying as a 7 course meal, but glad you were an unseen visitor in the lives of two ordinary women who don't want or need a prince, they just want a true, everlasting, satisfying compassionate relationship they can trust to last as long as they all shall live. And isn't that what we are all searching for, or glad we have found?
Anonymous 12 days ago
Great book
melissacab6 16 days ago
I really enjoyed the book Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber. It was refreshing to have a story concerning two middle age women (Maureen and Jenna) who are best friends and the trials they are facing with empty nests. The romances in the story were realistic that people think who the perfect person is for them is not always who it should be. Thanks for the great read! You won’t regret if you purchase this.
Anonymous 22 days ago
Nice story, love the characters and the difference between best friends.
lovestoread17 29 days ago
Jena and Maureen met in college and have gotten closer thru the years. When in school they made plans to visit Paris when they graduated but an unexpected pregnancy forces them to postpone the trip. Thru the years both friends have married, had children and divorced but the friendship has gotten stronger than ever. Now that they are both empty nesters they will once again plan that much-awaited trip to Paris. Unfortunately, once again a surprise pregnancy gets in the way. Maureen is a librarian and a very quiet and reserved person so how could she be dating a plumber? Each shows the other things they have never experienced before. Jena starts dating her mother's surgeon and then learns some shocking news. Can both these women open their hearts again for love after painful divorces? Will they ever get to Paris? I usually love Ms Macomber books but this is much too predictable ending. kind of disappointing.
cjp0 4 months ago
Fantastic story. This is a keeper to be read over and over.
Anonymous 4 months ago
What a wonderful story! It had great characters and they felt real to me, Having kids leave for college and feeling alone is exactly how it feels, I loved the ending!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Great love story! It was intense at times, but couldn't wait to keep reading to find out what happens next.
LEH0644 4 months ago
An excellent story of two women who met in college and remained best friends through the breakup of each one’s marriage and subsequent raising of their children as single mothers. Although both dated sporadically, they were leery of being hurt again and neither had found anyone. One had been married to a surgeon and swore she would never get involved with a doctor again. But when she met the surgeon who operated on her mother, sparks flew. The other woman met a construction worker and found herself falling in love with his honesty and laugh. Both pulled away but it took the wisdom of their children to wake them up and not miss out on a good man. Can't ever go wrong with a Debbie Macomber book!
Anonymous 4 months ago
Debbie Macomber has been writing women's fiction for many years. She has a keen sense for what her fans want; this includes a family story, a romance, something heartwarming and nothing that is rated above PG...and she delivers. In this story two single moms, Jenna and Maureen, have children who are growing up, leaving home and facing some adult, leaving college, having a baby. The empty nest looms for both, especially Jenna who struggles as her daughter leaves home. Jenna, a nurse, and Maureen, a librarian become involved in romances with Rowan, a surgeon and Logan, a plumber/construction worker. Each couple has their ups and downs but the ending of the novel is never in doubt. If you are looking for a comfort read, nothing too taxing but a gentle escape, Debbie Macomber could be just the author you need. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous 4 months ago
The story fulfilled all of my expectations of a Debbie Macomber novel. That it featured older women was even better. I love young love, but, yes, older people deserve to have love, also. Thanks from one Debbie toanother!
Susandyer1962NC 5 months ago
Keep the tissues close by as you are reading WINDOW ON THE BAY by Debbie Macomber. She will have your emotions all over the place. Once I started reading, it was very hard to stop! The twists and turns made it impossible to put down, as I had to know what was going to happen to Maureen and Jenna after so much heartache! What an awesome story. All of Debbie’s characters feel genuine and relatable and put your emotions on one heck of a roller coaster ride. As you are reading, you will find yourself cheering for all of them, praying they can work out their problems and be happy once again. You will also wonder how much heartbreak a person can stand before they completely break down and shatter. WINDOW ON THE BAY is all about family and the past and the secrets that come out are heart tugging. It had me flipping through the pages like a woman on a mission. Jenna is a single mom to two after a nasty divorce. She has turned into a complete helicopter mom and is driving her kids crazy! Maureen is the single mom of one daughter and they are both empty nesters now. They decide to finally plan their trip to Paris that they have wanted to go to since they were in college. But life has other plans for them. Neither one of them is looking for love, but doesn’t it always seem to find you when you aren’t looking? WINDOW ON THE BAY is a heart tugging story that will hold you hostage until the very last page. Once you start reading, it will be very hard to put down! WINDOW ON THE BAY is without a doubt one of the most memorable books I’ve read in 2019 so far. I was instantly emotionally invested in all of the characters. Debbie Macomber really knows how to write about family drama, heartbreak, and forgiveness. I will admit that Maureen drove me crazy with her silly way of thinking. I loved Logan and felt bad for him when Maureen kept pushing him away for the stupidest reasons. I mean, come on, these are grown women not teenagers! I can not wait to read more by this wonderful and heart tugging author. I have many of her older books to read and that brings me so much joy and happiness to know they are waiting for me! I received a complimentary copy of this book from Ballantine Books through Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.