Monday, January 10, 2011

Book Review: "Family Affair" By Debbie Macomber

I received Family Affair by #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber unsolicited in the mail about a month or so ago and decided to sit down this weekend and finally read it.

I had never read anything written by Debbie Macomber prior to reading this book and will not allow my lack of enthusiasm for Family Affair to prevent me from reading other books that are written by this noted author.

Suffice it to say I was unimpressed.

Sure it is a light enough read, short, fast moving, so fast moving that the story line to me completely loses credibility and is totally unbelievable.

The premise and characters are nice enough. But they lack substance. There is nothing in this book that really makes me "get" why one of the main characters (Jack Walker...sorry but I couldn't get the liquor Johnny Walker out of my mind every time I saw his name and I am NOT  a drinker) was smitten enough to have fallen head over heels for his next door neighbor (Lacey Lancaster, who in my opinion is portrayed with zero personality) that he would patiently wait months and months to be noticed by her.

 There has been no character development of Lacey whatsoever other than she is recovering from a painful divorce and has her proverbial guard up, and refuses to allow Jack into her heart (or her life) due to her painful past and a misconstrued impression that is set straight early in the book.
Abyssinian Cat

The book's connection to cats? Lacey has an Abyssinian cat "Cleo" who is portrayed mostly as weaving in and out of Jack's legs with her butt and tail in the air and she greatly enjoys sitting on his lap.

One of the highlights of the book for me was when Jack's cat named "Dog", (Jack always wanted a dog but has a cat and decided to name it "Dog", now THAT is funny!)  gets into Lacey's apartment while Lacey is next door speaking to Jack and "Dog" proceeds to have  his way with "butt and tail in the air" Cleo. This was so ludicrous to me that it was highly laughable.

This story is predictable, formulaic, lacking depth and adequate character development and frankly one that had virtually no impact on me whatsoever.

Another highlight? Some cat treat recipes in the back of the book that were taken from, here is one I thought you might enjoy:


1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon soft margarine

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Combine chicken, broth and margarine and blend well. Add flour and cornmeal. Knead dough into a ball and roll to 1/4 inch. Cut into 1 inch sized pieces and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes. Makes 18 cookies.

If you have a hankering to read a "fluff" (pun intended) book that really barely features the two cats that are in it at all, like light romance novellas that don't require thought or involvement and have about two hours to spare to read it, then this book is for you.

If not? Put your "butt and tail in the air" and proudly pussyfoot on down the road away from this one.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 140 million copies of her books in print. Along with many other books to her credit, Debbie Macomber's Mrs. Miracle, based on an earlier Avon book by the author and starring Doris Roberts, was Hallmark Channel's most-watched movie for 2009.

FAMILY AFFAIR went on sale 1/4/2011 wherever books and eBooks are sold.
ISBN 9780061997129.


  1. I'm sorry you didn't like this one. I haven't read it, but I usually do enjoy this author's books. The thing with romances, they sometimes make you wonder why the hero and heroine are even interested in each other due to lack of character development. Eventually I will get to this one, but I have so many others I'm reading at the moment.

    Great review, though!

  2. This is one of her older books that was just released, and yours is the second less than stellar review I've seen of it. I got excited when I saw the cover, but I'm skipping this one. I've read some of her other books, and she's hit or miss for me. Some are nice, entertaining quick reads, and others are almost painfully bad.

  3. @Yvonne, there are some romance books that I have read that had me literally rapidly breathing with anticipation of the couples ultimately being together...not this one! :) Thanks for stopping by!

    @Ingrid King "Some are nice, entertaining quick reads, and others are almost painfully bad" summed it up EXACTLY. Don't get me wrong this is a "nice, entertaining, quick read" but as you said....for ME it was "almost painfully bad"....I put it down after the first half hour of starting to read it and went to play Family Feud on Facebook lol.

    @Lydia...I have the Dewey book on my shelf (I am embarrassed to say it has been there since long before I ever started this blog...unread)....have never read either book and I thank you! May have to check them both out! Thanks so much!

  4. Sounds like the pets were the highlight of the book. I haven't read that author either... Have a great day.

    pawhugs, Max

  5. Nice cover, but I don't buy books for the cover. Thanks for the review.
    Have a great day!

  6. I have sometimes picked up her book and usually enjoyed them. But every now and then I'd run into a klunker. Thanks for the honest review.

  7. I don't know anything about this author as I'm not a romance story fan, I find it is very hard for me to digest romance stories as they are usually 'once upon a time... they live happily ever after."
    So I guess I won't look for this author's books, anyway, I still have a pile of books on the shelf. Oops!!!
    By the way, the cat treat recipes look more interesting : ) May be I should pass the link to my neighbours.

  8. We don't know much about that book as The Mum only tends to read Terry Pratchett books or things about vets and animals but mainly cats.

    We will have to try that recipe!

  9. @Max lol! The pets were barely in the book and for me they were the highlight, get the point! :) Thanks for reading and you have a great day too!

    @The Paw Relations I am not familiar with Terry Pratchett (may have to check him/her out)...thanks!

    @Priscilla I am not a big romance story fan either, but on the occasion I may read one I would like it to have more substance and be more intriguing. Yes for sure pass the cat treat recipe on to your neighbor! Thanks for reading!

    @Mario you are welcome and thanks for YOUR honest opinion too about occasionally running into a "klunker"...this one was definitely a "klunker!"

    @Cherie yep the cover IS nice (and led me to think the cat was heavily involved in the plot)...I didn't buy the book. It was sent to me unsolicited. I agree, I don't buy a book for the cover either! Thanks for stopping by!

  10. I like your honest review!!Thanks for this and the info on the book. I've not heard of this author I'm ashamed to say but now I do!! Please please please get some Terry Pratchett cos he's just brilliant!! LOL!

    Take care

  11. Thanks for the review Caren. I don't know this author and, like others here, am now not in a hurry to check her out. Also have a gazillion books lined up to be read lol.

    I've read "Dewey" and would be interested in your comments on this when/if you get round to reading it. It is no doubt an amazing story, but ...... and for me there were quite a few buts!

    An author I would recommend is Deric Longden. I have links to some of his books on my blog. I think you would love him (well hope so :)

  12. Hey Caren... I just wanted to let you know that you won the $25 pampered chef giftcard giveaway I was hosting... Yeah you!

  13. I'm not a big Macomber fan, so I guess I'm not surprised to read your review! I'll stick to dog books! lol

  14. @Old Kitty you are the second person to mention Terry seems I need to check him out! Thanks so much for reading and I am thrilled that you liked this!

    @houndstooth, thanks for verifying Macomber...I may have to read another of her books just to be fair :)

    @Hilary...WOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I am sooooooo excited!! I cook like a MANIAC (I cook nearly every day of the week!) And am just thrilled!!! What do I do now? THANK YOU!!!!

  15. @Carolyn, when you mentioned "Dewey" which "Dewey" book were you referring to? I have the first one here (which I have yet to read) but don't have the second....I just officially put it on my blogging calendar to review on Feb stay tuned!! Thanks for bugging me to read it (finally! lol)
    I will have to check out your Deric Longden links...THANK YOU!!
    Stay tuned for the "Dewey" review on Feb 28...I am probably the last person to read it! :)

  16. I have liked a few of her books, but most of them I haven't even read. My favorite book of hers is an old one, called Between Friends. It's really different in the format it it told; the story is told through a series of letters they wrote to each other, and also things like telegrams and newspaper articles.

  17. My mom person says that her books tend to formulaic in general. She doesn't read them.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  18. I usually find this reading a bit tough to embrace, glad to see I wasn't alone on the island.

  19. Thank you for your love and care for us, we appreciate so much and lean on those prayers from all of our dear friends.

  20. Dear Caren,
    You are very patient person !!!! You can completed and can see the high light of the book " Recipe ! "...MOL ( sorry, I found that funny )

    My mom, if a few page can't grab her attention, She will have her own END ! Some time just two page : )

    PS : My mom read Carolyn's comment and she feel the same way about DEWEY . but mom read the second one. IF you have a chance with second one, My mom would love to read your review

    Mom bought two books from yr reviews and she love those books : The Zen of Max and The World is still your litter box. And we have the special page " Cat Lover Books " in our blog and we link your reviews for those books.

    Thank you so much for your all reviews !
    Puddy and Mom Boom

  21. Caren I didn't know there were two Dewey books! I meant the first one, it's the only one I've read. Will await your pronouncement with bated (or baited?) breath. lol

  22. @mom2acat maybe I will try and check that one out. It sounds as if I might like that better. Not sure though! :)

    @Carolyn...yeah I bet you are just waiting with (whichever spelling it is!! lol fill-in-the-blank breath!) lol Ok I only have the first one as well....I will do the review on Feb 28 :)

  23. @Mr.Puddy, I think you wandered into your Mom's life because you BOTH share the same personality (which I LOVE!) "if my mom doesn't like the book she will make her OWN end!!" MOL!! That works for me!
    I will read the first Dewey and then sometime down the road I will try to get my paws on the second one (it won't be for a while yet though!) So stay tuned! lol
    I am soooo flattered that you bought 2 books from reviews of mine. I am also thrilled that you enjoyed them! From the ones that you picked I KNEW YOU WOULD!
    That is so kind of you to link back to my reviews...I am serious that means the WORLD TO ME!!!
    Thank you!


  24. @Admiral need to say thank you!!! (but you are welcome...I so wish I were there to do MORE!!)

    (((((hugs)))) prayers and purrs!

  25. @Mrs.Tuna....nope!! You are definitely NOT "alone on the Island!" I am right with ya and you and I might be sinking fast! lol (((((hugs))))

    @Amin thank you! Hope you are having a great day!

  26. @Oskar well your "mom person" sure is right! Doubt I will read another that soon but I am tempted to give another one a try just to see if I feel the same.

  27. Hmm. Does this author actually KNOW any cats? It sounds like she is not all that familiar with actual cat behavior. Sounds like the equivalent of my human writing a book with some of the minor characters being athletes (she hates sports and doesn't know any sporty types).

  28. @Sparkle that is a super good question and I am inclined to agree. Your sports analogy is excellent.
    Even the way the main character (Lacey) relates to her cat in the book (being lost in thought and SUDDENLY remembering she hadn't fed her cat)...didn't sit will with me. A cat lover would NEVER mention that something else pre-occupied them to where they had "forgotten" to feed their cat! :)

  29. I love reading your reviews - I often find romances like that, laughable mostly..
    One romance author I do like is Marian Keyes, she's hilarious.

  30. I haven't read her stuff yet but will take a look. I wonder why badly crafted stories get by the editors.

    Hey, would you take a look at my romance, Blackmail Bride? It's at

  31. I must say, I really, really like...the cover!

  32. I'm sorry that the book was not so good... It happens, sigh... I have a lot of experience that I picked up a book which had a wonderful review and I was disappointed after finishing it. There are many books like that. Even if it is a number 1 bestseller, written by a famous writher, it does not guarantee it is the best book. I used to read a lot of books before, but now I read a lot of blogs :-) There are so many great blogs out there.

  33. @Ruth thank you!! (blushing!!) I am flattered! I sometimes like romances but I tend to like them with a little more depth. I should check out Marian Keyes.

    @Tamago I agree. I am usually like that with movies. When a critic likes a movie I hate it and when they hate it I love it!!

    @Brian, me too!

    @Au and Target, does your book have anything about cats (or a cat?) in it? I only review books about cats (or with a cat in it)on the blog but I am more than happy to check the book out!

  34. Oh it has been years since I read a really good romance novel..they are a mindless read as far as I am concerned..formula writers..happily ever after garbage. I would most likely not like this one either..thanks for the review! :)

  35. @Far Side, actually the same holds true for me! Being "older" I was more into them in my 20s and 30s. Glad you stopped by and glad you enjoyed the review!

  36. Thanks a bunch for sharing the recipe!!!
    Wish I had time to read a book, gosh work gets in my way..ha

  37. Hi Amy! You are welcome!

    I wish I had a job to get in my way so that I wouldn't have time for reading!! lol...well....sometimes not!
    Thanks so much for stopping by! I am a follower of yours! :)

  38. Aunty Caren,
    A cat named Dog sounds like a good title for a book by itself. How traumatic for the cat, eh? Guess the author won't write a sequel to this one.

  39. @Cat-In-Sydney, I soooo agree!!! OMG you kill me! xoxo

  40. I usually like books by this author, but this is the second less than favorable review I've seen on this book. It's a shame with such a great cover. Enjoyed your take on the book.

    Thoughts in Progress

  41. @Mason...I would be interested to see what you think if you read this. Maybe give it a go since you usually like books by this author. Yes the cover is great! Thanks much for reading, if you read the book I want to see your review! :)

  42. I'm not much of a romance reader. Paws crossed you like my book.

  43. I have not read Debbie M in a while; thanks for sharing this one with us.

    BTW...yes I've been doing WW, but you are doing way better than me. Way to go GIRL!!!

  44. Since the Human baked some chicken tonight, I think she should make me that recipe. Even though I usually ignore anything the smells of Human fudz, it sounds pretty good!

  45. @Fin, trust me, I KNOW I WILL! I had already started reading your blog (haven't started the book yet...I like to wait til the weekend before I review to read a book and then I write the review)....I already can tell by your writing style that I will! No worries!! There are just some books that you just "know" and yours is one of them!

  46. @Diane, if you read this I am super interested in hearing what you thought of it. Let me know!
    I forgot...when did you join WW? I am at 23 lbs off as of last week...I have a loooong way to go!
    I am hoping that when I reach goal and maintain that I can work for them part time, possibly as a group leader...(or anything!) I LOVE WW!!! It was a God-send for me!
    If you need encouragement email me and I can also give you my phone number then if you would like it! xoxo

  47. Spitty you are the FIRST cat I EVER heard of that isn't attracted to human food!!! I am stunned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. We can't read so we won't bother with this book...but those treats sound yummy!! Maybe we can get our mom to make those for us!!

  49. @The Island Cats "you can't read so you won't bother with the book" lol...that was funny! Let me know if your Mom makes the treats! xoxo

  50. Your highlights of the book really make me want to read it now even though you say it's bad and has hardly any cats in it :-)

  51. Hey Caren!

    Thanks for the cat cookie recipe . . . Willie will love them :)

    I'm a brand new first time cat owner . . . he just appeared around Christmas and we have taken him in as much as he lets us . . . he's got a mind of his own and already has the taste of freedom!

    He's one of the coolest Christmas presents I've ever received :)

    Have an awesome day . . . Gina

  52. @Peruvian Delicacy I am THRILLED that you are still going to read the book. Book reviews, like movie reviews etc are only someone else's opinion. It is important to make opinions for ourselves. I am like you. When someone gives a poor review of something I am almost MORE likely to check it out and decide for myself so kudos to you for independent thinking! Thanks for reading!

    @Gina so glad you are going to try the recipe. Let me know what Willie thought of it.
    I am sooooooo glad you FINALLY have a cat!! Woooo hooo! You found yours right at the time I found my Angel Bobo and he was the BEST gift EVER for the 18 yrs I had him.
    I wish you a lifetime of happiness with him and I want to see photos and hear updates!! (((((hugs))))

  53. Oh dear... I won this book as a giveaway and just finished reading it. Caren... boy, oh boy, you were on target with this one. A quick read is putting it mildly. The character development was shallow, unimaginative, and completely formulaic. Jack and Lacey were incredibly boring, the “sexual tension” was laughable, and the plot completely uninteresting. I hung in there hoping the cats would hold my interest, but that story line was completely glossed over and had no real authenticity to it at all. I can’t argue the point that she had an irresponsible litter of kittens, because so did I. But, I did at least learn from my cats and the book I wrote about them depicted the pregnancy and birthing process with charm, honesty, and the intent that I knew spaying and neutering was important. Plus, I was really off put that she depicted Lacey as not even having the coping skills to watch a kitten being born and calling them ugly, twice! Anyhow, I actually have read several of Macomber books that I have enjoyed, so I am not complaining! I just wanted to let you know that I loved the honesty of your review and have to agree with you 100%

    1. @Deb Barnes I had totally forgotten about my review. Now that I re-read it I became angry all over again. lol. I think you have fabulous judgment and if you didn't like it either I must have been on track! Thanks much! xoxo