Leaving Haven: A Novel

Leaving Haven: A Novel

by Kathleen McCleary


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Leaving Haven: A Novel by Kathleen McCleary

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062106261
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/01/2013
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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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Leaving Haven 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
nfmgirl More than 1 year ago
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!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
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.  
bookchickdi More than 1 year ago
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.
anovelreview_blogspot_com More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will have your emotions all over the emotions spectrum,dont pass this one up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it,easy read & good story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How pretty. I like it. She meowed. Well lets go back to camp. Picks up cage in mouth and pads back.