We’d vowed to love each other ‘til death do us part...
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kristan Higgins’s new novel ON SECOND THOUGHT is a moving and emotionally raw tale of two sisters struggling to rebuild their lives in the wake of heartbreak.
Thirty-nine-year-old Kate has almost given up on dreams of love and motherhood when she meets Nathan—a man who is almost too good to be true—and marries him after a whirlwind romance. But before the blush of newly wedded bliss has had a chance to wear off, Nathan dies unexpectedly in a freak accident, and a shattered Kate finds herself more alone than ever before. Barely a bride and now suddenly a widow, Kate must reckon with survivor’s guilt and the revelation of her late-husband’s secrets while confronting her own fears and hopes for the future.
In the midst of Kate’s grief, her half-sister Ainsley is dealing devastation of a different variety after her boyfriend of 11 years dumps her on the night she was expecting him to propose. To make matters worse, his blog post detailing their break-up goes viral. With her perfectly-planned future of domestic harmony dashed in one fell swoop, Ainsley is forced to reevaluate her life and learn how to be alone for the first time in over a decade. As she navigates this new terrain, Ainsley takes solace in supporting Kate through her period of mourning and finds time to exasperate her seemingly heartless boss, who, Ainsley will discover, may have a pulse after all.
From the wreckage of tragedy and heartbreak, Kate and Ainsley will learn to lean on each other and discover a closeness and intimacy they haven’t previously known. Together, these two sisters will find the strength to start over and the courage to believe in second chances.
This story pulled all the emotions from me to the front and center and it mesmerized my mind. I was so connected to the characters I couldn't put the book down, reading it until the wee hours of the morning, and not being ready to let them go as 'the end' was in front of me. I know it is only the end of January but I believe this will be one of 'the' books for me this year because this story made me think, it made me evaluate, it made me feel, and it made me want to change some things. It lured its way to my heart and made itself comfortable there, and I know I will carry it with me for a long time.
The story is told in the first person (I know, not my favorite, but it really works here) from both of the sister's point of view. It also is written in a little retrospect at the beginning, giving away the tragedy about to hit the characters, yet it still comes as a sort of a surprise, that just telling you how well the story was crafted.
The constant flow of subconscious thoughts, the awkward thoughts, the forbidden thoughts, those thoughts that we are never going to act upon or say out loud, as the sisters fumble with life and try to survive, those are the once to carry the tale forward and made it so easy to relate to them, to understand them, to love them like they are your own sisters. The thoughts are morbid, sad, hysterical, humorous, loving, horny, and angry and everything else you can imagine and feel. They take the reader into the journey the ladies are on, the journey to learn about love, life, themselves, their family, their relationships, their destiny in life, their career goals, their friendships, everything that is important to grow to be you in the fullest sense of the word.
Kate's struggle to understand that the man of her dreams, whom she married only four months ago and has known less than a year, is dead, it is heartbreaking yet liberating in an odd way. Her relationship with her in-laws, the struggle to accept that most everyone in town knew more about her dead husband than she did, and would naturally, most likely, mourn for him much longer than she would, was an uphill battle filled with guilt, worry, and fear. The way the author paints the mind of a person in mourning was eye opening and intense, from the mismatched shoes to crying in the closet, the hysterical laugh at the most inappropriate times, to the moment when you finally are ready to let go and accept your grief, it is a raw and emotional road, but it is drizzled with such delicate and tender humor, the angst level doesn't eat you up but you end up smiling when life finally wins.
Ainsley has sought acceptance since she was a little girl. She never fit in with the family, so she made sure she would be unreplaceable part of her boyfriend's life. Or so she thought until the very public breakup after eleven years. She is lost, with herself, her career, her life, her direction, her family, life, in general, is a mess. Yet from that absolute zero moment in her life, she builds something solid, something beautiful, something that works for herself. She grows, she flourishes, she matures, she learns to accept herself and stand up for herself, and embrace the person she is.
The new chances with life, love, and family the sister get are beautifully twined into the tale, into their lives, from the ashes of their old life they thrive and gain something different, lasting, beautiful, and unexpected.
I am still in awe, and feeling a bit raw, with this story and from the life and love filled transformation it has on the characters, and on myself as I read it. From the effortless flow of the tale to every single feeling, the step forward and then three back, to the change and revelation of life, the story made a lasting impact. Definitely a book I wish every woman had a chance to experience!
~ Five Spoons!
New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award, Kristan lives with her family in a small Connecticut town that boasts a wonderful library, a great agricultural fair, a really good ice-cream stand and not much else. She is the mother of two lovely kids and the wife of a brave firefighter who is also (perhaps more important) a fantastic cook. Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. Writing, she found, was infinitely more satisfying than folding laundry, and so began her first novel. Kristan holds a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which means she can identify dangling participles, quote many great novels and play a mean game of Scrabble. Kristan is an award-winning baker, devoted fan of he New York Yankees and an avid reader. She and her crew spend as much time as possible at the family home on Cape Cod, where they shiver in the Atlantic, ride bikes, swat horseflies and don’t catch any fish.
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved and want to read again. The best of the best and not given lightly
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story that I enjoyed and connected with and will gladly recommend to readers
3 Spoons - A good story, not much that stood out but I was engaged enough to spend the time to read it through
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me