Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Leaving Haven” as Want to Read:
Leaving Haven
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Leaving Haven

3.71  ·  Rating Details ·  728 Ratings  ·  115 Reviews
In Leaving Haven, Kathleen McCleary, author of A Simple Thing, explores the intricacies of love, friendship, and parenthood.

Georgia longs for a baby, but she's had miscarriage after miscarriage since her daughter was born more than a decade ago. Through a miraculous egg donation, Georgia is thrilled to find herself pregnant—until she makes a startling discovery that change
ebook, 352 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published September 3rd 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Apr 08, 2014 boogenhagen rated it it was ok
Shelves: betrayal
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Catherine McKenzie
Aug 09, 2013 Catherine McKenzie rated it it was amazing
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this wonderful novel. The novel starts with a punch - a new mother abandons her baby at the hospital. Why would a woman do this? Told out of sequence over the course of a year, her actions become understandable, if difficult, and the ties that bind herself to her family and her best-friend unravel. Highly recommend.
Sep 28, 2013 Vox rated it it was amazing
Oh, faithful readers. I really liked this book, and I'm still a bit annoyed that it ended.

The titular Haven in question is a newborn infant whose parentage is somewhat convoluted. His forty-year-old gestational carrier is Georgia, who has a teenage daughter with her chef husband John. Georgia and John always wanted more children, but years of lost pregnancies and failed in vitro procedures left her ready to forsake another attempt. Ready, but not quite willing. When Georgia muses out loud to bes
Jamie MacDonald
Oct 08, 2013 Jamie MacDonald rated it it was amazing
Leaving Haven is a great, humane book full of moral complications by a fine novelist. Deep empathy, gentle humor and graceful narrative marks Kathleen McCleary's writing. She reminds me of Richard Russo, John Casey and Richard Ford in those regards (sorry that I have no female points of reference; I was introduced to McCleary by happenstance and seldom read women's fiction). These seasoned middle-aged novelists show a non-judgmental, affectionate understanding and acceptance of human weakness, f ...more
Oct 26, 2013 Laurel-Rain rated it it was amazing
Georgia and Alice have been best friends for so many years that their lives seem irreversibly entwined.

They are more like sisters, and their families are bound together as well. Daughters Liza and Wren have been in each others' lives since birth.

So when Georgia's attempts to have another baby meet with severe challenges, like a series of miscarriages and failed IVF efforts, it seems only natural that Alice would offer to donate one of her eggs.

Was that the beginning of the end for them? Or would
Carrie Ardoin
Sep 29, 2013 Carrie Ardoin rated it really liked it
I am a mother, first and foremost, so I was definitely intrigued by a book that had a mother leaving her baby the day after giving birth. When I read how much the woman, Georgia, wanted the baby, it made even less sense to me that she would abandon him. But as the book delved deeper into the reasons for Georgia's actions, it became clear to me that she was a very broken woman indeed.

Georgia and Alice have been best friends for 13 years--until something happens that shatters both of their familie
Laura Kay Bolin
Aug 02, 2013 Laura Kay Bolin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews

Let me start with, go buy this book! No joke! Go buy it! I absolutely loved LEAVING HAVEN! I am going to try very hard to not giveaway any spoilers.

During the novel, the reader is given both Georgia and Alice's perspective--which really really allow you the reader to relate to both women and this makes things trickier. You need to pay attention to the chapters because you get back story and forward moving story. I love this and it doesn't bother me, but I
Kate Moretti
Oct 01, 2013 Kate Moretti rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel. The characters were perfectly drawn to be both likeable and flawed. There was no happily ever after, and I strongly suspect McCleary isn't done with Alice and Georgia based on the ending (which would be fine with me).

The only part of this novel I struggled with is the backward AND forward timeline. I don't mind working for the plot a bit, but I did have to keep flipping back and forth to understand who was in what point in time. The story lines of the two main characters are
Sarah Flanagan
Aug 08, 2013 Sarah Flanagan rated it it was amazing
Loved this! It is dying for a sequel! How can you like all of these characters when they are in such a messy situation?
Nov 08, 2013 Patty rated it it was amazing
Leaving Haven
Kathleen McCleary


This is a book about families and friendships that take a really wrong turn!

My thoughts after reading this book...

Georgia and Alice are best friends. They vacation together, they both have daughters the same age, they talk daily. Georgia is something of a baby whisperer and unlike Alice has been trying to have a baby for the last ten years...unsuccessfully. She needs an egg donor and Alice decides to do that for Georgia.

Once this happens it seems as
Oct 16, 2013 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Physical infidelity is the signal, the notice given, that all fidelities are undermined. - Katherine Anne Porter

"Leaving Haven" was a difficult book for me to read. Excellently written but difficult. I tend to place myself in character's roles (as most of us do, I think) and I found myself pondering what I would do in the many different situations found in the book - from all the characters points of view.

The storyline is a bit convoluted with varying non-linear timelines and I found myself real
Oct 17, 2013 Sandie rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!

It's mostly the story of best friends Georgia and Alice. They are both mothers with daughters the same age. Both are married, but live totally different lives and had radically different backgrounds.

The first half of this book jumps around in time, but by part two you understand the backgrounds of both women and their husbands and daughters.

Both Alice and Georgia make choises that will forever change their lives and the lives of their loved ones.

Friendship, betrayal and how to
Dec 11, 2013 Janice rated it liked it
I have mixed feeling about this book. I had great hopes with the unique twist in the story line. The book had the opportunity to be so much more than it was - a soap opera of a story. I could not connect with the characters. I don't know if I buy that one of them would have an affair with her best friend's husband just months after doing a selfless act for that very friend. I think the feelings for the baby and each other and their marriages were believable but lost that believability in trying ...more
Oct 03, 2013 Maxwell03 rated it it was amazing
Drew me in from the first paragraph, and I couldn't put this book down. Told from the alternating persectives of two women and bouncing from past to present , McCleary examines the most complex relationships (mother and daughters, husbands and wives, best friends) with emotion and empathy. Although this is each woman's individual and connected story, the dialogue and narrative reveal the supporting characters' motivations and feelings, too. Didn't want this book to end. Highly recommended!
Jul 09, 2013 Laura rated it it was amazing
Love love love this story. I'm hoping we will see these characters again in another of Kathleen's novels. I would enjoy seeing how Haven grows up with this interesting family situation. I laughed and cried my way through this uniquely presented story. And I wish Georgia and Alice lived in my neighborhood!(
Melinda Lang
Feb 22, 2015 Melinda Lang rated it it was amazing
Loved it! This writer reminds me of T. Greenwood, who is one of my favorites. The writing is great and she developed the characters perfectly...they could all be people in one's everyday life. One of the best parts about the story is that it doesn't have a sappy, spoon-fed ending.
Jul 22, 2013 Anita rated it it was amazing

Loved this book. Nothing all pretty and tied up with a now in this book. A story of friendship, family, betrayal,loss, and forgiveness...or at least the attempt to forgive. So good!!
Mar 08, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I really hope for a sequel to see Georgia and John try to heal their marriage. so many unanswered questions and it would be enjoyable to read how they can get past the cheating I am not a fan of Alice!

I highly recommend this book,and hope to read more!
Oct 02, 2013 Erin added it
I can't wait to talk to Kathleen McCleary about Leaving Haven at our next book club!
Nov 06, 2013 Diane rated it really liked it
Leaving Haven is a wonderful novel about friendship, family and marriage. Georgia is married to John, a sexy, hardworking chef, and they have teenage daughter Liza. Georgia has been trying for years to have a second child, but she has suffered many miscarriages and has just about given up all hope when her best friend Alice offers to donate a egg.

Alice is married to Duncan, a practical, hardworking lawyer who provided a safe haven for Alice, the only child of a single woman who would frequently
Sep 26, 2013 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Georgia and her husband have hit a rocky spot in their life. They have only one child. Georgia has struggled with many miscarriages. She wants to try for one more child but her biological clock is ticking fast.

Alice and her husband are also experiencing troubles in their marriage. When Alice hears that Georgia is in need of some eggs, she offers up some of her's. Then the unexpected happens...Georgia gets pregnant and Alice starts an affair with her husband.

As soon as you pick up this book to
Oct 14, 2013 Becky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not usually a big fan of books that involve cheating. However, I found myself unable to put this book down and when I did, I was still thinking about the characters. McCleary's writing got me very quickly involved in the story and wanting to know what happened. I think it may be because this book starts with meeting best friends, Alice and Georgia, and Georgia abandoning her newborn son in the hospital. I quickly found myself wanting to know why. As the story unfolds it is quite a complicate ...more
Aug 28, 2013 Nancy rated it really liked it
This is the story of best friends Georgia and Alice. Georgia desperately wants another baby and Alice donates one of her eggs. The story begins with Georgia abandoning her baby in the hospital. Kathleen McCleary does an excellent job building the story of what has transpired in the lives of the main characters. Georgia and Alice's characters came alive for me and while their actions at times were selfish and wrong, the story was told in a way that built empathy for these women and their families ...more
Apr 14, 2014 Susan rated it it was ok
This is a family drama, and I do mean drama! The characters are cookie cutter, approaching stereotypical. The author provides us with characters who basically marry themselves. So much narcissism, so many pages and no real resolution. If you are going to drag the reader thru the muck of the tiresome lives of Alice and Georgia, then at least write a better developed resolution. Perhaps its me. I read this to escape from crazy, busy life I am in right now, and found myself wading in the inauthenti ...more
Sep 11, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
Leaving Haven is a story of female friendship, marriage, infertility, and betrayal. This is a good choice for book clubs because it offers a a lot of topics for a lively discussion. Georgia struggles with infertility. Alice, her best friend offers her egg. The book opens with Georgia abandoning her longed-for baby at the hospital. What could drive a woman to such despair? Readers are immediately hooked. McCleary’s characters are women you will care about. Recommended for fans of Jodi Picoult &am ...more
Lori Van Buskirk
Aug 24, 2013 Lori Van Buskirk rated it really liked it
I really liked this book! Loved the way the author wrote too! There was a way about how she made you "get" the characters that I really liked. And the characters and the way they did things were real, you could actually see yourself acting/reacting those ways. I was dying to find out what happened at the end but I didn't want their stories to end. I really loved how it didn't end perfectly, it was real, it made you want to know more but it wasn't fake!
Readerly Magazine
Oct 06, 2013 Readerly Magazine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: october-2013
After repeated miscarriages, Georgia is finally able to become pregnant. She’s thrilled that her dreams are coming true. When a devastating secret destroys all her hopes, Georgia is forced rethink her choice to become a mother. An emotional novel of self-discovery and the weight of the choices we make in life.
Mona Johnston
Aug 08, 2013 Mona Johnston rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the book and think it would make for a superb book club discussion. The story is extremely well crafted in how the plot unfolds and in its examination of the motivations and perspectives from each character's point of view.
Sandra Heinzman
I read this in one sitting as I couldn't put it down. Now I can't stop thinking about it. I liked the story, how it was written (two POVs), and the character development. I will definitely look for more books by this author.
Oct 17, 2013 Jodi rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. It delves into layers of friendship & families, betrayals & love. There are so many things that happen in this book I'd hate to give them away. I was drawn into this story from page 1.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
52 weeks, 52 books: Week 2014.11: Leaving Haven 11 75 Apr 17, 2014 02:32PM  
Sequel? 2 25 Mar 09, 2014 07:07AM  
  • The Fable of Bing
  • Studio Saint-ex
  • The Moon Sisters
  • The Theory of Opposites
  • The Blessings of the Animals
  • Empress of the Night: A Novel of Catherine the Great
  • The Shortest Way Home
  • Saving Us (Paradise Taken, #2)
  • The Pull
  • The Shadow Queen
  • The Woman He Married (A Magic City Duo Book 1)
  • Sea Creatures
  • Alice Bliss
  • Carly's Gift
  • Not To Us
  • A Perfect Marriage (Silhouette Intimate Moments, #621)
  • Whatever It Takes
  • The Whole Golden World
I've worked as a journalist, bookseller, bartender, barista, and college professor—all great fodder for fiction. My non-fiction articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, More, Health, and other publications. I'm currently working on my fourth novel, teaching creative writing to kids with Writopia (a non-profit), and hiking the Appalachian Trail in small ...more
More about Kathleen McCleary...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »