Leaving Haven: A Novel

( 11 )

Overview

Getting what you want is just the beginning. Now you have to discover what you truly need. . . .

Georgia Bing and Alice Kinnaird have always been there for each other. Eager to help her best friend have another baby after several miscarriages, Alice donates one of her eggs. When Georgia learns she's going to have the baby boy she's always wanted, she's thrilled—until a devastating discovery destroys her dreams.

While Alice is happy to help her ...

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Leaving Haven

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Overview

Getting what you want is just the beginning. Now you have to discover what you truly need. . . .

Georgia Bing and Alice Kinnaird have always been there for each other. Eager to help her best friend have another baby after several miscarriages, Alice donates one of her eggs. When Georgia learns she's going to have the baby boy she's always wanted, she's thrilled—until a devastating discovery destroys her dreams.

While Alice is happy to help her friend get pregnant, she also feels a twinge of disappointment that her own life is missing something . . . something she desperately craves. On the surface, Alice has everything—a busy social life, a great job, a faithful husband, an amazing teenage daughter. But her well-ordered world is knocked off its axis when she's tempted by a forbidden passion that threatens the bonds of friendship, marriage, and motherhood that sustain her.

As the safety of their past is shattered, Georgia and Alice must embark on journeys of self-discovery—odysseys filled with surprising challenges that will test them and force them to confront the truth about their lives . . . and the choices they've made.

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Editorial Reviews

Nichole Bernier
“What would make a mother walk away from a hospital without the child she fought so hard to carry? This suspenseful family drama circles eloquently around truth, loyalty and commitment - a complex examination of temptation and choices, and of facing the repercussions of our actions.”
Catherine McKenzie
“In Leaving Haven McCleary deftly explores themes of love, marriage, family and its rupture in moments that are so well told they feel like you are living them. I couldn’t put it down.”
Kirkus Reviews
Georgia and Alice have seen each other through the tribulations of marriage and motherhood, becoming the best of friends, but can their relationship survive the deepest betrayal? McCleary's (A Simple Thing, 2012, etc.) novel opens with Georgia Bing abandoning her newborn son in the hospital. The events leading to that act are told in multiple flashbacks, alternating between Alice's and Georgia's perspectives, a strategy that unfortunately slows the action to a sluggish pace. A successful baker, Georgia is happily married to John, a brilliant chef, whose smoldering eyes caught her attention at first glance. Raised by a vivacious but neglectful single mom, Alice found love and security with Duncan, a lawyer who recently quit his posh partnership to work for a nonprofit. Desperate for a second child, Georgia has tried every fertility treatment. Alice is keenly aware of the sad irony that Georgia, a woman so perfect for motherhood that she could be a baby whisperer, cannot conceive. After learning that Georgia's younger sister is pregnant and cannot donate an egg, Alice offers Georgia her own eggs, a gift that sets a course for joy and heartbreak. Meanwhile, Alice's and Georgia's teenage daughters are embroiled in a bullying incident, which Duncan does not worry about and Georgia (with her high-risk pregnancy) should not worry about. So, Alice begins to navigate the murky waters of teenage drama, and she finds herself confiding in a man who offers a sympathetic ear. Supportive conversations lead to irresistible attraction. Soon, Alice has put everything in jeopardy, and she can't even turn to Georgia for help. Nor can Georgia turn to Alice when she discovers something that challenges her ability to love the child she tried so hard to conceive. McCleary's richly drawn characters face intriguing challenges, yet the tale lacks momentum.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062106261
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 356,816
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen McCleary is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Ladies' Home Journal, More, and Good Housekeeping. Her second novel, A Simple Thing (2012), was recently nominated for the Library of Virginia Literary Awards. She has taught writing as an adjunct professor at American University and now teaches with Writopia Labs. She lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

    excellent read

    This book will have your emotions all over the emotions spectrum,dont pass this one up.

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  • Posted December 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Alice, a school teacher, is always so put together, in control,

    Alice, a school teacher, is always so put together, in control, and health conscious. She didn't have a very good role model for motherhood growing up, so she feels inadequate as a mother, and is happy with her one daughter and desires no more children. Her husband, Duncan, is reliable, dependable, calm, patient. He's a good man, but has perhaps become a little too predictable.

    Georgia is Alice's best friend. A cake maker, she is more easy-going and creative and free-spirited. She had a wonderful mother that she lost at a young age, and then became a substitute mother herself to her younger sisters. So she is confident in her role as a parent. However she yearns for another child and has been struggling to have one for years. Her husband John is a chef and restaurateur. He is passionate and unkempt, and seems perhaps a little uninvolved in the life of his daughter. (You later realize it isn't that he is uninvolved, but that Georgia is such a good mother and so in control that there really isn't anything left for John to do for his daughter but love her).

    Alice and Georgia met when their daughters were babies, and they have been best friends ever since. After years of Georgia attempting to have another child, and failing, Alice offers up her eggs to help her friend achieve her dream. But shortly before the birth of the child, a shocking revelation rocks Georgia's very foundation, and everyone is left trying to navigate the confusion and pain in the aftermath.

    This story is really character-driven. From the slow building of Georgia and Alice’s lives, and the dynamics between them and their husbands and with each other, to additional characters like Georgia’s sisters. The characters are what really make this story.

    The story is psychological in nature, delving into the complexities of friendship, of lines crossed, of families fracturing. It really shines a light on a fascinating concept, which I don't want to divulge, for fear of giving too much away. But this story actually had twists that took me by surprise, and that is rare.

    Told through alternating points of view, switching back and forth between Alice and Georgia, as well as through alternating times, from present to months before and back to a year before, you do need to pay attention to keep track of what is going on.

    The book is divided into three parts. First the Prologue, which is present day.Then Part One, which flips around from present day to past, building up the storyline and characters a bit at a time. Then Part 3, which moves on from the present day.

    My final word: This story was fresh and original. Like a bread crumb trail, it shares little tidbits, allowing the story to slowly build incrementally. Absorbing and emotional, I loved this one! It was able to reach deep within me on occasion and touch someplace precious, but perhaps more importantly, it was able to surprise me. That is something even more special. This is one of those books bound to be a favorite of 2013!

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  • Posted December 11, 2013

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Two women that

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    Two women that are best friends and would do anything for each other end up twisted up in drama and controversy, but it is the way this story is told that was unique and special.  Georgia and Alice are both happily married, but Georgia has been trying to have a second child for years and years.  Alice will lend her friend an egg, so Georgia can have the one thing she has been yearning for for years.  

    The way this story was told was fantastic.  The first part had Georgia and Alice each telling their stories in their own chapters, but one was going back in time and one started later and was going forward.  They eventually converged on a monumental date and the second part had them both moving forward from that date - it was awesome!  I wouldn't recommend reading this on an ereader because I had to go back a few times just to check my dates.  

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  • Posted November 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Leaving Haven is a wonderful novel about friendship, family and

    Leaving Haven is a wonderful novel about friendship, family and marriage. Georgia is married to John, a sexy, hardworking chef, and they have teenage daughter Liza. Georgia has been trying for years to have a second child, but she has suffered many miscarriages and has just about given up all hope when her best friend Alice offers to donate a egg.
    Alice is married to Duncan, a practical, hardworking lawyer who provided a safe haven for Alice, the only child of a single woman who would frequently leave young Alice on her own while she worked and socialized. Their daughter Wren is best friends with Liza.
    The novel opens with Georgia, having just given birth to her son, abandoning him at the hospital. John is frantic and calls Alice to help him with the baby, who won't stop crying. Why has Georgia left the baby and her family behind? She had postpartum depression when Liza was born, but what would make her leave this baby whom she so desperately wanted?
    The chapters alternate between Alice and Georgia, as well as back in time, as we learn the story behind Georgia's disappearance. Alice and Georgia have two very different personalities. Alice describes Georgia as " open, honest, direct." She was "the quintessential earth mother, with her rambling old Victorian house and the bright colored skirts she wore (which she sewed herself) and her tendency to call everyone "darling" or "sweetie".  She even bakes cakes for a living, a nurturing profession.
    Georgia lost her mom when she was twelve and became a mother figure to her younger sisters Polly and Chessy. Polly is mom to four youngsters and Chessy is the youngest, still trying to find herself, and the relationship among the sisters was my favorite part of the book; it was the one relationship that rang most true to me. I would love to see more of the sisters, maybe in a later book.
    Alice was, according to Georgia, "all the things that Georgia wasn't- confident, organized, practical. Georgia felt reassured by Alice's steadiness, her unflappable common-sense approach to everything." Alice taught economics part-time at a local college, matching her personality.
    While Georgia is on bedrest for the baby and going stir crazy, a problem arises between Liza and Wren. Alice would normally go to Georgia with this, but Georgia can't be upset right now. Duncan quit his job and took a much lower paying one without talking it over with Alice, and Alice's unreliable mother is moving to Argentina. All these things combine to make Alice feel unmoored and she makes a bad decision.
    I have to admit to having a hard time understanding Alice and what she does, but this paragraph helped."I've never done anything out of passion in my whole life." Alice said. "I've been mature and responsible since I was four. And the bullying with Wren- it made me so angry; I didn't know what to do with all that feeling."After reading that, I had a better handle on Alice and I'm sure that there will be more than a few people who read that and understand where she is coming from.
    I enjoyed the locales that appeared in the book- the Amtrak train to Albany, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware and Kramerbooks in Washington D.C. are all places I am familiar with, and I got a kick out of seeing them here.
    The book could have become a little nighttime soap-opera-y, but McCleary makes the reader feel for the people and root for them to work it all out. I liked that the ending is open, as this is a situation that can't be resolved overnight or in a month or a year.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Let me start with, go buy this book! No joke! Go buy it! I absol

    Let me start with, go buy this book! No joke! Go buy it! I absolutely loved LEAVING HAVEN! I am going to try very hard to not giveaway any spoilers.




    During the novel, the reader is given both Georgia and Alice's perspective--which really really allow you the reader to relate to both women and this makes things trickier. You need to pay attention to the chapters because you get back story and forward moving story. I love this and it doesn't bother me, but I like to mention it.




    On a personal level I related in a number of ways to Georgia. She wants to build her family, but has suffered miscarriages and has been for some time obsessing about a baby. This really hit home for me. I could relate to her struggle and even how she really wanted to let the idea of a baby go, but just couldn't bring herself to let it go. I really think McCleary did a wonderful job of really sharing Georgia's pain and desire. On the flip side, I didn't really relate much to Alice. But I know Alice types. I see the appeal in having a friend like Alice and as I got to know her more, I felt like Alice herself was slowly learning more about herself. The further I read the more I felt for Alice, she had clearly never dealt with the issues she had with her mother. I found her story complex and Georgia's story heartbreaking. Seriously, go buy it.




    From the very first page I was hooked. I wanted to know...needed to know what the heck! Every time I put down LEAVING HAVEN I was thinking about it! I'm still thinking about it! There are a number of surprise twists to the story, I was shocked! Have you ordered it yet? What are you waiting for? I absolutely loved LEAVING HAVEN and I am highly recommending!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2013

    Good read

    Enjoyed it,easy read & good story

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Crookedkit and lostkit

    Theu run there.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Nightdazzle

    How pretty. I like it. She meowed. Well lets go back to camp. Picks up cage in mouth and pads back.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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