A Reason To Be Norman McCombs

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An epic tale beginning in 15th-century Scotland and flowing through time to modern-day New York, A Reason to Be is a tale of loss, hope, and the transcendent power of the love that bind us to one another.


Douglas McCombs is an accomplished engineer and recent widower driven to discover the truth of who he is by studying the people and places he comes from. After losing his wife to a battle with Alzheimer’s, Douglas is left devastated until a chance encounter with a sharp, compassionate librarian named Suzy Hamilton on the steps of the New York Public Library shakes him from the throes of grief.

With Suzy’s help, Douglas takes up genealogy and begins an investigation into his Scottish lineage that takes the reader on a sprawling journey through time and the remarkable lives of Douglas’s ancestors—from legendary highland clan chiefs and American war generals to humble farmers and family men. As he traces his ancestry through the generations, Douglas manages to discover not only the roots he was searching for, but also a brand-new reason to be.

A Reason To Be is a fantastic historical fiction story that brings to life a man’s journey to define himself after his wife passes away from Alzheimers. The story weaves together generational lines from historical Irish vikings to modern day sojourners in a beautiful, honest portrayal of what it’s like to deal with a serious disease and growing older.

Dougie’s character is not only realistic, but heartfelt. From the very early chapters we mourn with him at the loss of his wife. Then we laugh and cry with him as Dougie learns to love again.

The pace of the story is slow and easy. It allows you to embrace emotions as the characters embrace them and live through the mind of the characters through the good and the bad.

The plot weaves together beautifully from beginning to end and wraps up all loose ends nicely. There were no noticeable mistakes in formatting or grammar. I even loved the different chapter titles, which I really miss from books.

This book definitely reads like a Hallmark or Lifetime movie with a little bit more substance under its wings. I can see it being a movie, rather than a TV Show and turning into something family friendly film.

Overall for story and plot I’d give this book a 5 out of 5 stars for a fantastic, realistic read. I think men and women alike, thirty and older will enjoy this story.

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