Window on the Bay: A Novel

Image of Window on the Bay: A Novel
Release Date: 
July 16, 2019
Ballantine Books
Reviewed by: 

Many people go through the empty-nest syndrome when their children leave home. Some look forward to their newfound freedom, but some become depressed. How can they deal with an empty house, the lack of music playing, the phone ringing, or constant noise when they've been used to it for so many years?

Divorced from her cheating husband 20 years ago, Jenna Boltz dedicated her life to her two children, Paul and Allie. She envisioned a quiet home and being able to do as she wanted without one of her offspring demanding her time or anything else, but now Allie is in college as is Paul, and she's at loose ends. Alone, she doesn't know whether to be happy or to cry. Her nursing job keeps her busy, and her friend, Maureen Zelinski, also divorced, is always available, but it's not the same as knowing someone is always around. 

Jenna met Maureen at the University of Washington, and they have been best friends since. Their biggest dream after graduation was to travel to Paris, which did not come about. Maureen got pregnant and married her husband, Peter, and Jenna, worked as an ICU nurse with Dr. Kyle Boltz, whom she later wed. 

Though the women's bond has always been close, it becomes more so when they find themselves single parents. Kyle's roving eye caused the split with Jenna, and though he paid child support he doesn't bother with his children, making Jenna sad and upset. 

Maureen's ex Peter is still in contact with their daughter Tori which makes her happy, but both women still feel pangs of loneliness. They dated over the years and concocted a plan to evaluate the men they went out with:
"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 as, not happening. No way. No how." 

The two chuckle over their comparisons and often wonder if they are to be alone forever. Now they are both "free" so they make plans to take the much-wanted trip. But Jenna's mother unexpectedly takes a spill and needs surgery to repair a severely broken hip. 

While visiting her, Jenna welcomes Dr. Rowan Lancaster, her mom's orthopedist, who demonstrates special concern to Jenna's mom. Jenna knows him through the hospital grapevine and is impressed by his bedside manner. The scuttlebutt about this handsome and unattached physician is that he is aloof and introverted; however, Jenna can't help but be wowed over by his compassion and caring ways. She finds different and exciting scenarios about him race through her mind, yet she vows never to date another doctor.  

Meanwhile, Maureen is a long-time librarian who is somewhat straight-laced and conservative. She becomes captivated by Logan, a plumber who is working on a construction site nearby and comes to her for book recommendations. He is the complete opposite of what she normally finds attractive in a man, but she is thrilled by his attention. When he returns the novels she suggests, they converse about them in a lively and competitive manner making Maureen laugh and feel happy for a change. Their exchange continues for weeks, making Maureen anticipate his visits.

The two friends are courted by these two unlikely candidates for their affection, and when they compare notes they give them both the "green light." But will anything come of their new romances? 

A quick and engaging read in true Debbie Macomber fashion, Window on the Bay accurately examines the female psyche revealing the nuances of middle-aged women with their feelings about motherhood, their sexuality, and of learning how to be truthful in their wants and needs to attain the happiness they rightfully deserve.