ANY DREAM WILL DO: A NOVEL - Debbie Macomber
Ballantine  (Hardcover)
ISBN:  978-0-39918-119-1
August 2017
Women's Fiction

Seattle, Washington - Present Day

On a dark and lonely bus ride to Seattle in the wee hours of the morning, Shay Benson is finally free.  She spent the last three years in prison, convicted after embezzling money to help her no good brother escape the clutches of the mob.  With only a suitcase and some cash in her possession, Shay can't believe the irony when, after three hours on the bus, freezing to her bones, she is dropped off right across the street from a church in downtown Seattle.  A church?  With no other options, and no place to go this late at night, i.e. early in the morning, Shay enters the church which, mercifully, has been left open all night.  But what to do now?  She can't cry; crying is something she learned about quickly: don't engage in any sign of weakness while in prison.  She can't pray; she doesn't know how; all she feels is bitterness combined with a deep, cold fear, but maybe just a bit of hope?

Pastor Drew Douglas is struggling with the loss of his faith following the death of his wife, Katie, three years ago.  He has two small children who need him, and a flock of church parishioners, too, but his heart just isn't in his preaching anymore.  If he cannot help himself recover from his own dark grief, how can he help the people who depend upon him?  Wanting to help any local people who might need assistance, Drew always leaves the sanctuary doors open, much to the dismay of the Elders.  This morning, as he takes some time to offer prayers in the quiet solitude, he finds a lone woman sitting in one of the rear pews.  Drew introduces himself and offers her food, explaining that he might be able to help her find somewhere to stay.  And as luck would have it, there is an opening at the Hope rehabilitation center, and if Shay is willing to enter their program, and is accepted, she will receive training, counseling and help during the next twelve months before she transitions into living life totally on her own.

For so long, Shay has been afraid to dream or to hope for a future.  But now, ANY DREAM WILL DO while she works her way through the twelve month program at the Hope Center.  She's nearly made it to graduation; she has a job at a local cafe and her own small place to live.  She's befriended Richard, a homeless veteran who comes to the cafe for coffee, and she has made friends at the center.  And along the way, as the days go swiftly by, Shay and Drew see each other from time to time.  Before long, she begins to attend Drew's church and interact with his children, Sarah and Mark.  But as their friendship develops, and little things go wrong at the church, Shay finds herself the one blamed, as Drew's parishioners are the first to point fingers her way for the slightest wrongdoing.  Drew learns that he can put his wife's death behind him as he begins to enjoy spending time with Shay, then finally, he realizes he is in love with her.  Shay is afraid to think of loving Drew; she fears they have no future with the baggage she carries.  Together, they both overtake hurdles and learn to depend upon each other, their faith, and their love.

ANY DREAM WILL DO is a heartwarming romance full of the lessons of forgiveness and starting over.  With lots of romance, and a little mystery, this book is just perfect for those ending days of summer.

Diana Risso