Book Review: Leaving Haven

Leaving Haven
Published By: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Page Count: 352
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher
Audience: Adult - Contemporary

Leaving Haven was a difficult novel for me to read. I've never truly understood infidelity and I often don't relate to characters who commit adultery. Since this is one of the dominant topics of this book, I had to force myself to suspend my disgust and keep reading. I strongly feel that if a relationship isn't working, it needs to be dissolved, but people should have the decency to end things before they become romantically involved with someone else. Time to get off my soapbox... I was happy that I gave this one a chance. Leaving Haven is well written and thought provoking.

Georgia and Alice have been best friends since their teenage daughters were infants. Georgia is a natural mother and she wants to add to her family, but problems with infertility have made her dream unattainable. Georgia's focus on having another child has put a major strain on her family - particularly her relationship with her husband. She throws herself into her cake making business and into raising her daughter, Liza. Georgia never stops to consider how her preoccupation is interfering with her present.

On the other hand, Alice has never truly seen herself as a good mother. She doesn't know what to do and she read how to books in order to raise her daughter, Wren. Alice is the opposite of Georgia in so many ways, but the two women's friendship is one that I admire. In fact, the women are so close that Alice becomes an egg donor to help Georgia have the child she craves.

I haven't read a ton of novels that deal with the issue of infertility and its effects on the couples who experience it. I was sympathetic to Georgia's plight. We can all relate to wanting something, but not being able to obtain our goal. I also could understand how the sadness that resulted from so many unsuccessful pregnancies could take its toll on a woman.

All in all, I did enjoy this one and it provided a lot of topics for me ponder. I was frustrated with some of the decisions made by the characters - particularly those made by John and Alice. I also was slightly frustrated by the time shifts. Eventually I settled into the alternating perspectives and time jumps, but it did take me awhile. The nonlinear timing of the plot added mystery and tension; I did end up finding this complex narrative style to be intriguing once I settled into it. 

One Last Gripe: I've already mentioned my complaints within the body of the review.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I liked watching the complexity of friendship unfold.

First Sentence: Georgia sat up in her hospital bed, holding her baby.

Favorite Character: Georgia

Least Favorite Character: It switched between John and Alice.

In Leaving Haven, Kathleen McCleary, author of A Simple Thing, explores the intricacies of love, friendship, and parenthood.

Georgia longs for a baby, but she's had miscarriage after miscarriage since her daughter was born more than a decade ago. Through a miraculous egg donation, Georgia is thrilled to find herself pregnant—until she makes a startling discovery that changes her mind about how much she really wants the baby…

Georgia’s best friend, Alice, has a happy teenage daughter, a faithful husband, and a perfectly organized life. But her world spins off its axis when she falls for a man who is everything she knows she doesn’t want…

Leaving Haven is a provocative and touching novel that will appeal to readers of contemporary fiction and fans of Jodi Picoult, Luanne Rice, and Kristin Hannah.

About The Author

Kathleen McCleary teaches writing at American University. A former columnist for, Kathleen's writing has appeared in numerous publications, including theNew York Times, Washington Post, USA WEEKEND, Good Housekeeping, More, Health, and Ladies' Home Journal. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

Check out the Other Great Blogs on this Tour:

Tuesday, October 1st: Sweet Southern Home
Wednesday, October 2nd: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Thursday, October 3rd: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, October 7th: Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, October 8th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, October 9th: BookNAround
Thursday, October 10th: Seaside Book Corner
Monday, October 14th: bookchickdi
Wednesday, October 16th:  A Novel Review
Tuesday, October 22nd: Reading Lark


  1. I love books that can make me look at topics in another way. I'm glad you enjoyed this one! Thanks for being on the tour.


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