Thursdays at Eight
Debbie Macomber’s latest hardcover brings readers another entry in the women’s fiction category. It also brings another entry into the women’s fiction category that seems to be very popular right now: stories about a group of friends. Thursdays At Eight is not a bad entry, but it’s nothing special, either.
Clare Craig, Liz Kenyon, Julia Murchison and Karen Curtis are the Thursday morning breakfast group. Their Thursday morning meetings at the Mocha Moments coffee shop are a holdover from a journal-writing class where they met each other. Each woman continues to keep a journal, and a journal entry begins almost every chapter. Each woman has issues to deal with. There is Clare’s divorce, Liz becoming content with her life and letting a man in to it, Julia’s unplanned pregnancy, and the career choices and family issues facing Karen.
I found that I liked something about each of the women. I liked that Liz was in her fifties and her love interest was about a decade younger. She learns that her life did not end when she became a widow. Julia seemed to deal realistically with an unplanned pregnancy. Clare had a tough time getting past her divorce and she is forced to deal with her ex-husband when he becomes ill. And Karen, the youngest of the group and closest to my age, has familiar career issues. Readers will identify with her when she has to figure out what she wants to do with her life.
Despite the fact that I liked the characters, their stories still fell flat. There are no ups and downs, and the plot goes along at pretty much the same pace throughout the story. Time jumps around between the chapters of the book, which becomes annoying. For instance, when Karen’s sister, the perfect Victoria, faces a major family crisis, the chapter ends without resolution. The next chapter focuses on one of the other women’s stories, many weeks after this crisis. We don’t find out what happened with Karen’s sister until the subsequent chapter, and then we learn about it from Liz’s journal entry. Not only do I want and need more continuity with my storylines and my timelines, but I needed in this instance a closer connection than the third party I got.
There wasn’t much about this book to distinguish it from the rest of the latest books in the field of women’s fiction in that sub-genre of friends. Reading it did not propel me to run out and search for Macomber’s backlist. If I had to do a one word review for Thursdays At Eight that word would be “eh.”