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Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
“My one goal,” Molly Dolan sums up, “is to find a guy ... who really loves me.” Molly is an ordinary young New England woman in the early 2010s—smart, nice-looking, thoughtful, and exquisitely human, yet ordinary. This novel is an in-depth look into the everyday life of regular people who, like all of us in that category, struggle with extraordinary hopes, dreams, disappointments, and victories. Yeah—LIFE. Molly is well-educated, attractive, funny, and at odds with her world. We meet her people, particularly an elderly fellow who lives across the street and devotes most of his time to his ham radio pals. Then there’s Jeannette, an erotic novel writer, upstairs. And Molly’s man-interests, but especially her desire to be a good person. There’s even a murder mystery in the background. Will Molly find her guy?
I loved It Doesn't Have To Be That Way, and as in most books, behind the plot, the setting, the fictional characters, it’s really the author that we learn about. And Mary Rowen is a jewel. What shines through the writing—besides her literary skill—is her empathy, her compassion, and her deep knowledge of the souls of her characters. Hey, ordinary people, like you and me, who make mistakes and seek redemption, who grapple for understanding and even for happiness in our complex world. This book is not to be missed. But before you start, it might be a good idea to put on your Jim Croce album—the chapter titles are his songs. This book is simply ... well ... fabulous!