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Leaving Haven: A Novel Paperback – October 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062106260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062106261
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #620,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Georgia Bing and Alice Kinnaird have been friends for most of their adult lives. Georgia operates her own baking business, while Alice is a respected college professor. Both are raising teenage daughters and have established marriages. So when Georgia becomes desperate to have a second child, Alice is more than willing to donate her eggs. But as Georgia’s pregnancy is nearing its end, she discovers that her ­husband, John, and Alice are having an affair. The news turns Georgia’s well-ordered life upside down, and she is left to sort out not only the state of her marriage and her friendship with Alice but her role as mother to newborn Haven. McCleary (A Simple Thing, 2012) again skillfully examines the intricacies of love, marriage, friendship, and parenthood. Her smooth, clear prose allows readers to climb easily and fully into the lives of well-crafted characters. Leaving Haven is a deeply engaging story of two families navigating tricky emotional waters and making surprising discoveries along the way, a gentle reminder of the strength and flexibility of the family. --Carol Gladstein

Review

“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.” (Nichole Bernier, author ofThe Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. )

“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.” (Catherine McKenzie, international best selling author of Arranged and ForgottenCatherine McKenzie, international best selling author of Arranged and ForgottenCatherine McKenzie, international best selling author of Arranged and Forgotten)

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More About the Author

Kathleen McCleary is a journalist and author whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Ladies Home Journal, More, and Good Housekeeping. She has written three novels: "House and Home" (2008); "A Simple Thing" (2012), which was recently nominated for the Library of Virginia Literary Awards in fiction; and "Leaving Haven" (Oct., 2013). When she's not writing, Kathleen teaches writing. She has taught as an adjunct professor at American University, and is an instructor with Writopia Labs, a non-profit that teaches creative writing to kids. She has also worked as a barista in an independently owned coffee shop, and as a bookseller for Barnes & Noble. She enjoys crafting things and over the years has learned how to knit, hook rugs, sew, carve wood, make dovetail joints with hand tools, blow glass, and make butterscotch pudding from scratch. She is fascinated by remote places and has visited Scotland's Outer Hebrides, Alaska, the San Juan Islands, the Appalachians, and the Adirondacks. She currently lives in northern Virginia with her husband and two daughters.

Customer Reviews

There are a number of surprise twists to the story, I was shocked!
Laura Kay
Friendship, betrayal and how to overcome the rough patches in life make this a book that most can relate to, even if you haven't had the same experiences.
Sandie White
It was a very good book. written well, kept you involved in the characters..
marcie L. Courville

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By SW TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This story of marriage, friendship, infidelity, infertility and what it really means to parent, is told in flashbacks. The story comes together in disjointed fragments, mirroring the main characters--best friend Alice and Georgia's--own mental states. It starts when Georgia abandons her much-wanted baby boy at the hospital and disappears. The tale then twists and turns through the lives of Georgia, Alice and their friends and family, to show why Georgia came to such a devastating decision, not to mention delicate mental state.

The tale twists and turns wildly, but always manages to maintain a core of veracity for its large cast of characters. The ins and outs of their daily lives jumps from minutia to major life moments, but always feels grounded and believable, even through the more dramatic twists of fate and friendship. I left the story feeling slightly shaken, but always engaged.

The last 1/3 of the book, when the story switches from flashbacks to present tense, was more predictable and less tensely drawn than the first 2/3, but still held up fairly well, all considered.

A fast-paced and intriguing read, this is an easy recommend for those that enjoy family drama.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By nfmgirl on December 24, 2013
Format: Paperback
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.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on October 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
Oscar Wilde wrote that “true friends stab you in the front.” Because friendship and trust go hand in hand, when trust is destroyed by a friend, it is all the more surprising and painful. LEAVING HAVEN, the latest from writer Kathleen McCleary, explores marital infidelity of the worst kind: an affair with a trusted friend.

Georgia and Alice have been best friends for years, since their now-13-year-old daughters were just babies. The two women are very different, but those differences only make their friendship stronger. Georgia is the nourishing earth mother living in a colorful and cozy Victorian house: a baker married to a chef named John and mom to Liza. Alice, on the other hand, is a professor of economics who has built her life to be the opposite of her chaotic and lonely childhood. She is married to the reliable Duncan, and her daughter, Wren, is sweet and sensitive. However, LEAVING HAVEN is not merely the story of two friends. The first pages of the novel are heartbreaking as readers find Georgia, having just given birth, leaving the hospital and her baby boy behind.

The story unfolds in fits and starts, and McCleary works backwards and then forward again, following Georgia and Alice and the disintegration of their friendship and their marriages. For years, Georgia tried to have another baby. After years of tests, in vitro fertilization and miscarriages, she had just about given up. Her life with John was good, and her daughter Liza was healthy and wonderful. Still, she held out hope that she could find the right egg donor and complete her family. Then Alice offered her eggs. Neither couple took this offer lightly, but Alice and Georgia were so close, and even Liza and Wren were the best of friends.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karazme on February 18, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was an awesome thought provoking tale weaved in such an intricate way that just left me speechless.... What would I do in that situation? Feelings all over the place.... Could not stop reading this had to finish in one sitting and I am still just in awe. Definitely worth the read!!!!!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Southern Mississippi VINE VOICE on February 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Not to be a spoiler here...

This is a complex story, with people who don't do the expected thing and aren't even sure exactly how they got off the straight and narrow path. That's just like real life--when we make mistakes that ripple outwards, we may be at a loss how we ever even got there.

I found the characters believable, if not always endearing. The plot was twisted and fates are uncertain.

I liked the story and I definitely think it was a worthwhile read.
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