Emotional and satisfying, Kerstin March’s novel Branching Out is a skillfully written love story that will truly touch the heart of readers. This isn’t a story about a perfect marriage, and that’s what makes it so very lovely in its deeply moving journey of love between two people. This is a story about loss, love, and forgiveness that readers will not want to put down until the very end.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Written as a sequel to March’s novel Family Trees, we join Shelby Meyers and Ryan Chambers at their wedding, which is right where readers want them to be, but this stage of their journey may not be the happily-ever-after they have been dreaming about.

Shelby and Ryan couldn’t come from more different backgrounds, and the complexities ofnavigating two vastly different worlds forces them to traverse issues that will test their relationship just as their marriage is getting started. A down-to-earth orchard farmer’s granddaughter, Shelby is ill-prepared for a life among Ryan’s celebrity family in Chicago. No matter how hard she tries, she knows she doesn’t truly fit in.

Image courtesy of amazon.com

Meanwhile, Ryan struggles with a secret he is sure could rip Shelby away from him. When heart wrenching circumstances arise, Shelby knows that the only place she can go is far away from Chicago and back to the family orchard in Bayfield where her grandmother is. There, Shelby is confronted with new secrets that she must deal. Author Kerstin March uses this part of Shelby’s journey to examine the intergenerational relationships between a mom who has failed in every way, and a grandmother who has been a true mother to Shelby.


Ultimately, Shelby and Ryan must each deal with their own secrets and tragedies before they can deal with their own marriage. An unforgettable love story of two very real people that will compel the reader to hope deeply for a happily ever after, even as the poetically-written story will move them to tears, Branching Out is well worth the read.


After graduating from St. Olaf College, Kerstin March built a career around writing. During her start as a small town newspaper reporter, and as a public relations professional later on, she always enjoyed bringing out the personal side of news stories. Kerstin lives in Minnesota with her husband and their three children. When her family isn’t scrambling with work, school, and errands, they can often be found up north, braving ice-cold swims, fish boils, and bear scares on Lake Superior’s shore. Family Trees is her debut novel. The sequel, Branching Out, was released in December 2015.