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All booksRomanceHow to Walk Away
How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away

by Katherine Center

Quick take

A heartwarming story of a young woman forced to reckon with what—and who—truly matters in life.

Good to know

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

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Why I love it

Taylor Jenkins Reid
Author, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I picked up How To Walk Away with the intention of reading the opening paragraph, just to see what it was all about. One hundred pages later, I realized I had missed six emails, two phone calls, and lunch. I never miss a meal. But Katherine Center's voice did what great fiction is meant to do: It pulled me in so immediately and completely that I forgot about real life.

How To Walk Away begins where most romances end—with a marriage proposal. When Margaret Jacobsen’s amateur pilot boyfriend wooes her in the cabin of a high-flying small plane, the concrete foundation of her future perfect life—a fancy career, a loving husband—is at last beginning to set. But only minutes later, a freak accident occurs, and everything Margaret’s worked so hard to build comes crashing down.

After the shock of the first few chapters wore off, I settled into the story like a fly on the wall, watching our endearing and slightly neurotic Margaret come to grips with the (literal and figurative) wreckage of her life while managing a rotating cast of family members, caregivers, and a temptingly-moody physical therapist. This generous story about family secrets, love in sickness and in health, and the resilience of the human spirit has serious Nora Ephron vibes.

I loved it and I think you will, too.

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Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: A new dream job, a fiancé she adores, 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 a brief, tumultuous moment.

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Maggie must confront the unthinkable. First there is her fiancé, Chip, who wallows in self-pity while simultaneously expecting to be forgiven. Then, there's her sister Kit, who shows up after pulling a three-year vanishing act. Finally, there's Ian, her physical therapist, the one the nurses said was too tough for her. Ian, who won't let her give in to her pity, and who sees her like no one has seen her before. Sometimes the last thing you want is the one thing you need. Sometimes we all need someone to catch us when we fall. And sometimes love can find us in the least likely place we would ever expect.

A masterpiece of a novel, How to Walk Away is both hopeful and hilarious; truthful and wise; tender and brave.

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Member thoughts

All (10374)
All (10374)
Love (6634)
Like (3394)
Dislike (346)
10527 ratings
  • 63% Love
  • 32% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Watauga, TX

    Such an inspirational read!❤️ my favorite quote: “It’s the trying that heals you!” And “Love happens all the time!” And always remember “...there really are all kinds of happy endings!” ❤️

  • Nipomo, CA

    I broke my ankle and was told I wouldn’t walk for 4 mo’s when I got this book. I was devastated. I didn’t know the story’s plot at that time. It was entertaining and inspiring just when I needed it.

  • Carlsbad, NM

    This book reminded me of Me Before You with a more uplifting message. You WILL fall in love with Ian. I confessed my love for him to my husband last night ????❤️ don’t settle for a chip, find your Ian.

  • Allen, TX

    I really enjoyed this story. I had to get the tissues out! (Update:originally, i clicked “like”, but months later, i still think of this book and push it into people’s i’ve clicked loved!

  • Hesperia , MI

    I absolutely loved this book. From the first chapter it just grabbed me and i literally couldn’t put it down. I loved the sort of “trouble in paradise” feel it gave off and i just had to keep reading.

  • Lancaster, PA

    It was everything that “Me Before You” wanted to be. Don’t discount it because you think you know the ending based on the description - it doesn’t matter. The process of getting there is wonderful.

  • Murfreesboro , TN

    Been awhile since I’ve read a romance. This didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t put it down and read it in a day and a half. Not an easy task as a mother of 3. Easy, funny, romantic, inspiring and perfect!

  • Monroe , WA

    One of the sweetest reads I’ve had in a long time. This was my 1st BOTM, and I was not disappointed! A story packed with so much character growth, romance, self discovery, and triumph through loss. ❤️

  • Aberdeen, WA

    This was a movie-like Book I couldn’t put down. If you liked Me Before You, you’ll like this even more! “The greater our capacity for sorrow becomes, our greater capacity for joy”-Katherine Center

  • Capitol Heights, MD

    I loved this book! I’ve been really into romance novels lately and this definitely hit the spot. I think I already predicted an ending once I was halfway thru the book, but it wasn’t what I expected.

  • Charlotte, NC

    The realism throughout this novel is so refreshing. Is there a dramatic love story? Yes. But that’s not the heart of this novel. It centers around one’s strength and courage in the face of hard times.

  • Fort Valley, GA

    A predictable romance, but in the best way! Balancing the complexity of life’s tragedies, sorrows, was inspiring but with an addictive love story I didn’t want to end. Perfect beachside read!


    This book hooks you in from the start. Watching Maggie's journey from the start to where she finishes is breath-taking. You see someone struggle but then strive, become strong, & learns a new way of life

  • Elko New Market, MN

    Truly amazing! One of the best romance novels I’ve ever read! I flew through it in 4 days, and as much as I wanted to slow down and enjoy it I was too invested in the characters and story. ♥️♥️

  • Kinnelon , NJ

    The courage that Margaret had to never give up and the twist and turns in her life since the crash. The novel is both hopeful, truthful and wise, tender and brave. “It is the trying that heals you.”

  • Groves, TX

    Such a good read. Katherine writes in a such way that makes you feel like you’ve known these characters your whole life. I honestly did not want this book to end. Wonderful from start to finish ❤️

  • Marysville, WA

    Best book I’ve read in a long time.Comical reality check to find the good in every situation and not dwell on what could/should have been.Most would have given up when the fight was worth the struggle

  • Powell , WY

    I wasn't sure I would like this book but something told me to make it one of my monthly picks & I'm sure glad I did! Started reading it & couldn't put it down & there were​ times where I literally LOL

  • Wilmington, DE

    A quirky, tragic, beautiful romance that shows the importance of seeing the positivity in life. I enjoy including Katherine Center‘s books in my reading choices to add lightness and romance to the mix

  • Midland , TX

    As an ortho/neuro nurse, I live in Margaret’s world; I watch people live the real life version of her story. I appreciated her perspective because it’s not a side I get to explore often. I loved it.

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