Not By Design

A Getting To Mr. Right Series

By Carol Balawyder

Not Byy DesignBook Blurb

Not By Design: A Feel Good Novel
In a life turned upside down, Felicity finds joy is sometimes just around the corner.
Ever since she first appeared in Getting To Mr. Right, Felicity Starr has been struggling to find her own kind of contentment. Now, at thirty-five and living in Rome, Felicity is about to break into the world of fashion design, and caught in a flurry of plans for her wedding when calamity strikes.
Her father’s sudden death brings into question the whole meaning of success. Then Marco, the man she’s about to marry, leaves her when he learns of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis.
Forced to return to Montreal, Felicity finds her life thrust into unexpected turns. As she confronts the on-going challenges presented by her disease, she gains the strength to let go of old beliefs and face her inner truths.
Love, friendship, and rewarding work come in different forms and Felicity finds it all in ways she never imagined – in a life that’s not by design.

My Review

When I began reading Not By Design, I expected it to be a twist on a traditional romance novel but was delightfully surprised to find it was much more than just a variation of the conventional romance.  Felicity left her father’s company in Montreal and moved to Rome to pursue her career in art causing a rift between Felicity and her father that could not be healed.  While in Rome, she found love and a proposal of marriage, along with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. When Marco, her fiance, learned of her diagnosis, he said, “Arrivederci.” Frightened about what was in store for her in the future, Felicity decided to move back to Montreal where she could have health insurance and be near her life long friends Missi, Suzy, and Campbell. But what frightens her the most is whether or not with her diagnosis, will she ever be able to find true love.

The characters were true to life, and as much as I loved Felicity from the start, I equally disliked Marco.  Felicity had a love-hate relationship with her mother Nicole in the beginning, but I was happy to see some of the walls between them torn down and a much better mother-daughter relationship take hold.  I love characters that serve to lift up a friend or family member. Missi, Suzy, and Campbell convince her to get a puppy and a cane. Her friend Eduardo, who ran an art gallery, and her new found friend Jeff who walked his dog Clyde at the same dog park where Felicity walked her dog Bonnie, all figure into Felicity’s acceptance of her multiple sclerosis and her outlook on the future.

The book was well researched, and the story took us through Felicity’s depression and hopelessness for future happiness to learning to lean on friends for the love and support they so willingly gave, and finally to acceptance of what her life with MS would be, and making the best of it.

I don’t often read a book straight through, but I couldn’t put this one down.  I honestly can’t find anything I didn’t like about it, other than Marco.  It was a heartwarming story of a person learning to accept and live with a debilitating disease.  There is no reason for me to not award Not By Design five stars.

File Size: 2161 KB

Print Length: 164 Pages

Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited

Publication Date: January 31, 2016

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Language: English

Genre: Contemporary Romance

About the AuthorCarol Balawyder

Carol Balawyder holds an undergraduate degree with a major in English Literature and a graduate degree in Criminology. She has taught English in various colleges in Montreal, Concordia University and Ho Chi Minh University of Technology in Vietnam. During this phase of her teaching career, she developed teaching material including Open For Business (Harper & Row), Windows on Sci-Tech (Thomson Publishing) and Pour Etre Ganganat (Beauchemin Publishers).

In the second half of her teaching career, she taught criminology in Police Technology and Corrections Programs. She helped set up and animate a writing workshop for women in prison and has worked in halfway houses and drug rehab centers.  She has self-published Mourning Has Broken (a memoir on grief) and her Getting to Mr. Right Series. Her short stories have appeared in Room Magazine, The Canadian Anthology of Fiction,, Between the Lines, Carte Blanche and she was given an honorary mention for a play submitted to The Canadian Playwright Competition.

Connect on Social Media Links

Amazon –

Goodreads –

Smashwords –

Website –


39 thoughts on “Not By Design

  1. I enjoyed reading your review on Carol’s blog, and then I hopped on over here to meet you. I read Carol’s Mr. Right book and enjoyed it, and have just downloaded Not by Design. Another important thing to mention is what we bloggers/ readers do for each other – not only in reading each other’s books, and then in reviewing or mentioning them on our blogs, but also in writing reviews on the author’s Amazon page. Carol and I read each other’s books around the same time. I think we simultaneously (again, not planning it) wrote reviews on each other’s books’ Amazon page. We independent publishers need those reviews, so readers find us and enjoy what we have to offer! SO glad I found your blog – I’m a follower now….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the follow and the wonderful comments. I checked out your wonderful blog and have followed you back. I’m looking forward to reading both future and past posts.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You are so very right about supporting each other and how much we need those reviews because they feed our motivation and provide incentive to keep going. It’s true that most of us would never think of quitting writing but we also want to be read. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. you’ve presented me with a dilemma. This is not the kind of book I would pick up for a casual browse but now your review has intrigued me

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A great review of what sounds like a fantastic book. Already my heart goes out to Felicity, her trauma dealing with the diagnosis as well as the inner turmoil of finding love. Glad Marco is out of the picture – do Eduardo or Jeff offer new possible romantic entanglements? I’m hooked and this is on my TBR list!!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sounds like an interesting story, Michelle. It would be difficult to come to terms with and live with MS. Sounds like it sensitively and honestly told.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Thank so much Michelle for your wonderful review. I pressed it on my blog. It also comes at an excellent time as May is Multiple Sclerosis awareness month. I am very, very grateful! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  6. This is probably not one for me but I’m impressed the book grabbed you and didn’t let go until the end. It’s challenging themes will be a good hook for fans of the genre looking for something different.

    Liked by 3 people

Comments are closed.