From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.
About The Book
Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.
In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.
How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.
bestelling author nina george
"If you just read one book this year, read How to Walk Away"
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
bestselling author Jill santopolo
"A heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
BESTSELLING AUTHOR ELINOR LIPMAN
“I couldn’t put this book down and didn’t want it to end."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
#1 bestselling author jenny lawson
"I can't think of a blurb good enough. My favorite Katherine Center ever."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
bestselling author nina george
"A beautiful and strong survival novel for the soul."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
pamela klinger-horn • excelsior bay books
“Delightfully refreshing. An absolute charmer. Your next great read.”
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
#1 bestselling author emily griffin
"Reads like an intimate conversation with your best friend."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
AUTHOR CATHERINE NEWMAN
"I laughed a lot and cried a little. But mostly? I wished Katherine Center would move in next door.”
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
bestselling author NINA george
"If you have friend who is lost in life, do them a favor and hand them this novel."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
#1 bestselling author Jenny Lawson
"Poignant and funny and heartbreaking and joyful . . . so human and relatable."
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
bestselling author Karen White
"A book that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.”
on HOW TO WALK AWAY
Praise for How to Walk Away:
“Center knows how to keep the pages turning, ensuring readers will be completely swept up in Margaret’s story. With its appealing characters and wisdom about grappling with life’s challenges, Center’s sixth novel has all the makings of a breakout hit.”
—BOOKLIST / STARRED REVIEW
“Center’s characters . . . leap off the page with their unique voices, and their relationships evolve slowly and satisfyingly. Although this is largely the story of Margaret learning to make the most of her life, it’s also a touching and believable love story with plenty of romantic-comedy flourishes. A story about survival that is heartbreakingly honest and wryly funny, perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Elizabeth Berg.”
—KIRKUS / STARRED REVIEW
An Indie Next Great Reads Pick for May!
“How to Walk Away deals with a tragic situation evoking emotions of despair, humor, pity, and love. This is a heartwarming and sensitive story that captivated me from beginning to end.”
—Fran Duke, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA
“Center explores the limits of hope and love in this bittersweet tale of a young woman suffering from a devastating injury who learns to care about others when she can’t figure out what to do for herself . . . Transforms the story of a family tragedy into a heartfelt guide to living the fullest life possible.”
““Inspiring and romantic… A touching and truthful novel that shows how people can find comfort in the most unexpected places.”
“In How to Walk Away, Katherine Center masterfully weaves together the wonderful, horrible, funny, painful, messy parts about being human to create a heartbreak of a novel that celebrates resilience and strength. Through her characters, she shows readers that no matter what happens, hope and love are more powerful than tragedy and loss.”
―Jill Santopolo, bestselling author of The Light We Lost
“If you just read one book this year, read HOW TO WALK AWAY. Katherine Center has written a beautiful and strong survival novel for the soul. If you have friend who is lost in life, do them a favor and hand them this novel.”
―Nina George, NYT bestselling author of The Little Paris Bookshop
“Warm, witty, and wonderfully observed . . . Katherine Center’s HOW TO WALK AWAY reads like an intimate conversation with your best friend. I wish I could go have coffee with Margaret now!”
―Emily Giffin, #1 NYT bestselling author of First Comes Love
“Novel immersion—that rare and wonderful state where I couldn’t put this book down and didn’t want it to end. I SO rooted for narrator Margaret, for her wit and courage, and applauded the sweet cynicism that was all at once earned, sympathetic, and refreshing! I highly recommend HOW TO WALK AWAY, and I thank Katherine Center for this reading pleasure.”
―Elinor Lipman, bestselling author of The Family Man
“I can’t think of a blurb good enough. My favorite Katherine Center ever. Poignant and funny and heartbreaking and joyful all wrapped up in messy details that make this story so human and relatable. Clear your schedule because you won’t be able to put it down until it’s done.”
―Jenny Lawson, #1 NYT bestselling author of Furiously Happy
“Center has a sharp eye for social dynamics and the comedy they produce and knows how to keep the reader engaged.”
—Graeme Simsion, bestselling author of The Rosie Project
“In How to Walk Away, Katherine Center shows a unique talent for writing flawed, wounded characters who are so well-crafted and multi-dimensional that the reader can’t resist cheering for them. In the face of life-altering tragedy, the author deftly tackles fraught family relationships and the ups and downs of a life unwillingly blown off course while offering no easy answers. Laugh-out-loud funny while simultaneously deeply moving, How to Walk Away is a book about survival, resilience, strength and forgiveness. A book that will resonate with readers long after the last page is turned.”
—Karen White, bestselling author of The Time Between and On Folly Beach
“Don’t start How to Walk Away if you’ve got somewhere to be. It’s a cancel-all-plans kind of book, a call-in-sick-to-work kind of book, a just-one-more-chapter kind of book, even if your family is milling around starvingly, wondering aloud about dinner and whether it is going to get made. (Spoiler alert: No.) I fell in love with Margaret; I had a huge crush on the romantic lead; I laughed a lot and cried a little. But mostly? I wished Katherine Center would move in next door.”
—Catherine Newman, author of Catastrophic Happiness
“Center’s characters will make you laugh, cry, and want to slap them, but How to Walk Away is going to be your favorite novel of May 2018.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, EXCELSIOR BAY BOOKS
“How to Walk Away is going to be the summer’s big hit!”
—Nancy Simpson-Brice, BOOK VAULT
“I have only just started reading How to Walk Away and am having to remind myself to breathe.” #pageturner
—Mary OMalley, ANDERSON’S BOOKSHOP
“Katherine Center comes up with her best novel yet, with funny, snappy dialogue and a smart, sympathetic heroine.”
—Cynthia Kuhn, BLUE WILLOW BOOKSHOP
“A heart-warming and sensitive story that captivated me from beginning to end.”
—Fran Duke, WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS
“Just plain fun! I couldn’t put How to Walk Away down. Witty and entertaining.”
—Pamela Mellor, MACDONALD BOOKSHOP
"This beautiful story is more than just a book about physical healing... it's about resistance, perseverance, determination along with heartbreak, loyalty, and trust all mixed in with love, family and, most of all, hope. Dedicate time to read this because you will not be able to put it down."
"Wow! I don't know how to describe reading How to Walk Away by Katherine Center without sounding like a major fangirl. I picked it up in the afternoon thinking I could just read a chapter or two and get on with my day... never happened. This is one of those novels that will become a part of my "desert island library"—books I read and reread over the years because they are comfort food to my soul. I HIGHLY recommend this one."
"This truly is one of the best, most romantic novels I have ever read. And I've read a lot. This book is a marvel! It's funny, romantic, tear-jerking, and profound."
"The story is clever, unpredictable, devastating, and ultimately unforgettable. Clear your schedule before you start it, because you will not be able to put it down."
"Prepare to be blown away by How to Walk Away, just one of Katherine Center's beautifully, often comically written, bittersweet novels of overcoming tragedy and persevering. I was hooked on the first page, and everything else had to wait while I delved, completely absorbed, into this fantastic book."
"I am sorry the rest of the world has to wait until 2018 to read HOW TO WALK AWAY because it is truly a ray of sunshine in dark days."
"Wow, this book is inspirational! The story is mesmerizing. I couldn’t put it down. This is a book for everyone."
"Absolutely stunning work! I adore the main characters, the story is well developed and fascinating."
"I really loved this book. The story is one that grabs you from the get go,the ending is superb with the writing inspiring, upbeat, and filled with subtle humor. I didn't want to put it down."
"This story is tender and bittersweet most of all hopeful. I devoured it in one sitting and I can't wait to tell all of my friends to read it!"
"To say I loved this book is an understatement. It's everything you could want in a book and more. It's intense and emotional. You will be cheering for Margaret from the beginning up until the very end. Make sure that you leave plenty of time to devote to this book because I read it in less than a day."
"I can't recommend this book enough. It is sad, sweet, hopeful, and beautiful."
"Wow, I think this is going to be one of my favorite novels of the year. I couldn't read quick enough. This is a story of strength, courage, and overcoming."
"HOW TO WALK AWAY is like meeting a friend for coffee, but then coffee turns to wine and you both stay up all night catching up. Such a poignant, funny and ultimately hopeful read."
"Wow. I don't know where to begin. I didn't want to put this book down but at the same time I didn't want it to ever end. I know easily this will be one of my favorite books of 2018."
"You will know the characters from page one. You will love Margaret and relate to her and her situations. Katherine Center writes as if she is telling you a story that is truly happening while gulping down some strong coffee with close friends or sisters. I highly recommend this beautiful book. I savored it and look forward to reading more from this talented author. 5 STARS!!"
"I adored this book, and it is one of the few five star ratings I have given this year. I found myself highlighting passages as I read and even taking iPhone pictures of some of the heartfelt writing so I could go back and remember it."
“I started this book late one afternoon and finished it before midnight in one sitting. From cover to cover, I remained ensnared in the web of a story I simply couldn’t stop reading. Katherine Center’s brilliantly written book engages a range of human emotions – the giddy highs of hope, anticipation, and happiness to the dark lows of despair, utter hopelessness, and uncontrollable grief and loss. From tears and an aching heart to smiles and a ray of hope, this book moved me. I can never ask for more than that from a book or author.”
“The book is beautifully written, it’s an emotional roller coaster ride that will break your heart at first and will mend it back together by the end. If you are looking for an incredible story of courage and resilience that will make you cry and laugh from one page to next, pick up How to Walk Away immediately.”
“To say I loved this book is an understatement. It’s everything you could want in a book and more. It’s intense and emotional. You will be cheering for Margaret from the beginning up until the very end. If you haven’t discovered Katherine Center’s book yet my advice is that you run to pre order this book so that it’s waiting for you on release day and then do what I did which is to download all her previous books. You will not be disappointed. This is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished it. I call that a well deserved book hangover. Make sure that you leave plenty of time to devote to this book because I read it in less than a day.”
“Katherine Center has a wonderful style. Her descriptions, character development and story lines draw you in from the opening paragraphs! The writing is as lovely as the covers and the pages in between. Thank you for another great book!”
“This is the most feel-good book that I have read this year, and maybe ever. The book has some parts that left me tearing up and other parts that had me laughing aloud. The characters are so realistic that it is like watching a movie of a life that really happened. The sympathy that I felt for Maggie was real: the anger I felt at those who hurt her was just as real. I can’t say enough good things about this book except that you just have to read it to believe it! It is insanely well-written!”
“OMG, I must have told five friends about this book within five minutes of finishing it. When the offer to read an ARC came from St. Martin’s I almost deleted the email after reading the blurb. This line right here is what had me hesitating, ‘Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment.’ I mean that sounds like a tissue box or two kind of read, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but did I want to put myself through that kind of emotional turmoil? Then I kept reading and the answer was yes, and I’m so glad. I’ve read a lot of great book lately, but this has been my favorite.
Maggie and Ian are still with me even though it’s been a couple of weeks (I wanted to let the story settle before I wrote this review). I miss her crazy sister and I want to read it all over again — something I never do.
This was the first book of Katherine Center’s that I’ve read; it most certainly won’t be the last. Do yourself a favor, read this story. It will break your heart a little, maybe even curse at the fates, but it will make you smile and laugh and be awed by the strength of the human spirit.”
“Wow! I don’t know how to describe reading How to Walk Away by Katherine Center without sounding like a major fangirl. I picked it up in the afternoon thinking I could just read a chapter or two and get on with my day… never happened. The story of Margaret Jacobsen, a recent business school grad on the fast track to the perfect life with a dream job and a boyfriend who’s going to propose, as she navigates life after a horrific tragedy. Center’s books always seem fluffy and light on the surface, but go so much deeper than that. Her writing is absolutely gorgeous and she tucks great truths within the story that just stick with you for a long time. This is one of those novels that will become a part of my ‘desert island library’—books I read and reread over the years because they are comfort food to my soul. I HIGHLY recommend this one.”
“One of the best books I’ve read!!!! Get this book! Read this book immediately! Beautifully written, straight from the heart, touching, amazing, brilliant!!!”
“Yes, this is a sweet touching love story about a woman and a man but it is also so much more. There is a story about a daughter and family and all the messiness that is involved in being a family. But even deeper than the stories about the characters, there is so much wisdom in this book. The author has a way of writing a rich and eloquent story but there are nuggets of truth and wisdom given.
I didn’t want to put this book down but at the same time I didn’t want it to ever end. I know easily this will be one of my favorite books of 2018.”
“This is a uplifting, unpredictable story about a young woman whose life is turned upside down in an instant; but who perseveres with such courage and conviction you will cheer from your seat on the couch. I love books that don’t end with all the ends tied neatly in a bow and this is one of those books. Truly inspirational, uplifting, powerful, a book about loving yourself and mending families, and what happens when the life you had planned is not to be.”
“What an unexpected surprise this book gave me! I, typically, do not read these types of romancey, feel good, lovey-dovey types. WELLLLLLL, this really isn’t any of that. It is a story about a woman that must do a lot of hard work to get back to what she is meant to have/be. I laughed right out loud and cried without shame (sometimes at the same time).”
“Katherine center writes a beautiful novel How To Walk Away. Emotional, lovely and comical even in the reality of tragedy that could change her entire life with a family that has it’s own secrets and emotional charged ties. You will know the characters from page one. You will love Margaret and relate to her and her situations. Katherine Center writes as if she is telling you a story that is truly happening while gulping down some strong coffee with close friends or sisters. I highly recommend this beautiful book. I savored it and look forward to reading more from this talented author. 5 STARS!!”
“Loved this book! A total and utter page turner!
What happens when your perfect world falls apart and you have to face the unimaginable? Told with humor and sympathy, the character development was superb and each scene vividly portrayed. I was devastated when it ended!”
“How to Walk Away is an excellent book. I couldn’t put it down. It begins with a lot of tragedy. Margaret, who is on the cusp of having her dream life, traumatically has it all taken away. She has to reconfigure her life. Along the way, her family dynamics shift, and everyone has to adjust. It’s a great story about learning how to live from different angles, The ending was so good, I slowed my reading, to make it last longer. Don’t walk away from this read.”
“I received an early copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway, and I was SO excited when I got it! I knew I would at least like it – I read Katherine Center’s novel Happiness for Beginners a couple years ago, and it quickly became one of my favorites. How to Walk Away did not disappoint—in fact, it exceeded my already high expectations. I absolutely LOVED it, and would highly recommend it to anyone who may be considering it (and to anyone who isn’t!). It’s not the easiest topic to jump into, but Katherine Center manages to write in such a beautiful, powerful way, making you fall in love with every character, flaws and all, and injecting moments of humor amid great tragedy. I am sorry it’s over, but feel so much better having read it. 5 stars, for sure. :)”
“I loved everything about this book! It had a storyline that drew me in immediately, wonderful characterizations of both the people you were meant to love and those you were meant to hate, a realistic portrayal of a young woman dealing with devastation and change that affected every aspect of her life. It combined humor with tenderness as Maggie sought to find her new normal, to learn how to live a life totally different from the one she had anticipated. I found inspiration in her conclusion: ‘Carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savor the joy when we can.'”
“Oh, I loved this…all the stars!!! I won’t give too much away, but there’s tragedy, all the gamut of emotions toward recovery and at the end love, life and hope. Tears…check, humor…check, growth…check. The heart of this story is about life not being perfect and being OK with that and making the best out of what you’re given. It’s also about family, its messiness, its struggles and ultimately its unwavering support. ❤ Highly recommend.”
“Prepare to be blown away by How to Walk Away, just one of Katherine Center’s beautifully, often comically written, bittersweet novels of overcoming tragedy and persevering. I was hooked on the first page, and everything else had to wait while I delved, completely absorbed, into this fantastic book.
This is a book I will not soon forget. It’s one I am likely to read again in the future—there aren’t too many of those. I think I may have found another favorite author. This book is an absolute must-read.”