Review: Megan’s Way, by Melissa Foster

Megan's Way by Melissa Foster

Megan’s Way
Melissa Foster

Description (from

What would you give up for the people you love?

When Megan Taylor, a single mother and artist, receives the shocking news that her cancer has returned, she’ll be faced with the most difficult decision she’s ever had to make. She’ll endure an emotional journey, questioning her own moral and ethical values, and the decisions she’d made long ago. The love she has for her daughter, Olivia, and her closest friends, will be stretched and frayed.

Meanwhile, fourteen-year-old Olivia’s world is falling apart right before her eyes, and there’s nothing she can do about it. She finds herself acting in ways she cannot even begin to understand. When her internal struggles turn to dangerous behavior, her life will hang in the balance.

Megan’s closest friends are caught in a tangled web of deceit. Each must figure out how, and if, they can expose their secrets, or forever be haunted by their pasts.

I was introduced to Megan’s Way when it was included in a daily mailing of free kindle books. Some of those free offerings are fabulous, some not so much, but this one is definitely in the first category. It’s warm, human, and really well constructed. The characters sing. Their environments feel three-dimensional. Had I actually paid full price for this, I would be equally happy with the purchase.

At the heart of this book is a mother-daughter relationship, between the title character Megan and her teenaged daughter Olivia that hits all the right notes to feel real, even though a sense of magical realism is overlaid upon the entire story. This woman and this girl are completely believable – Megan, the free-spirited artist who embodies the concept of “spiritual, but not particularly religious” and Olivia, the girl who hasn’t quite come out of her shell, and who is as much a friend as she is a daughter to Megan. Their relationship reminded me very much of my own relationship with MY mother, who remains my closest confidante even now.

But vignettes of mother-daughter moments do not a novel make. Foster has crafted a lovely story of friendship, intrigue, love, and truth in Megan’s Way. Megan’s best friend Holly, who gave birth to a baby we’re told didn’t make it, at the same time that Olivia was being born, finds herself unable to have children at the same time that Megan’s cancer returns, and it is their intertwining stories that balance the sweetness of the mother-daughter scenes.

The men in this novel aren’t given as much page-time, but their presence is felt, even so. This book won an award for being a beach book, and I can’t help but notice that Holly’s husband Jack (a long-time friend of both women) and their other friend Peter both live on the page in ways that the men in Elin Hilderbrand’s (probably the queen of beach reading) books never do. These are real men, with distinct emotions and opinions.

Yes, there is a fair amount of drama, yes there is emotional intrigue lacing the book, but there’s nothing soap-opera about the story. Instead, Foster has painted a picture of a plausible family-by-choice, made more vivid by hidden truths, human imperfections, everyday magic, and tons of love.

Goes well with: a strong cup of tea, and New England clam chowder, with oyster crackers.

Megan’s Way
Melissa Foster
304 pages, Outskirts Press, July, 2009
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