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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

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Emotional


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Inspirational


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama


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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Why I love it

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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Member ratings (13,310)

  • Nikki S.

    Harrison Twp, MI

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5! It only took 1 chapter for me to become invested in this book. Maybe it was the healthcare tie or the story itself but I was rooting for a happy ending for Maggie from the beginning!

  • Rhea J.

    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!” ❤️

  • Deborah B.

    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.

  • Jessica A.

    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.

  • shana m.

    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 hands....so i’ve clicked loved!