I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Published by Mira on January 31, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Fiction
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Ainsley O'Leary is so ready to get married—she's even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn't anticipate is for Eric to blindside her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half sister, Kate, who's already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.
Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan's death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren't the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.
Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.
Kate O’Leary Coburn is a 39-year old photographer who after four months of marital bliss finds herself a widow after her husband Nathan’s sudden death. Her half sister, Ainsley has lived with boyfriend Eric Fisher for 11 years and is excited about getting engaged only to find herself unceremoniously dumped. Surprisingly, Kate and Ainsley turn to each other for support, even though they haven’t ever had a close relationship.
I’m used to Higgins creating quirky, interesting characters and this story is no different in that respect. However, Kate and Ainsley’s journey through their respective heartaches is one of substance as we see their relationship with each other deepen and strengthen while coming to terms with their grief and family issues.
The story is presented in the two alternating narratives of Kate and Ainsley, which really worked for me as you captured contrasting perspectives of the same events. At times, I thought that some of the minutiae presented was just that but over the course of the book, it became apparent that when combined, those details were important in the character development and to the story. Both women were so different and I liked each, especially Ainsley with her kind spirit and wonderful outlook. Their insights were revealing not only about themselves but the people important in their lives.
I really enjoyed this story and am loving Higgins’ shift to contemporary fiction. There are definitely romantic elements in the story but they are not the primary emphasis. It’s a rich and textured exploration of family and relationships, how they influence our choices as adults. It’s a long journey (almost 500 pages) but I was sorry to let these characters go when I reached the end.
(FYI, this story is loosely connected to If You Only Knew, both set in Cambry-on-Hudson, New York.)
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