April 11, 2017

Book Review: ON SECOND THOUGHT by Kristan Higgins

Book:  On Second Thought
Author:  Kristan Higgins
Genre:  Women’s Fiction
Publisher:  HQN Books
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 being blindsided by a breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her older half sister, Kate, who's struggling with a sudden loss of her own.
Kate's always been the poised, self-assured sister, but becoming a newlywed—and a widow—in the space of four months overwhelms her. Though the sisters were never close, she starts to confide in Ainsley, especially when she learns her late husband was keeping a secret from her.  
Despite the murky blended-family dynamic that's always separated them, Ainsley's and Kate's heartaches bind their summer together when they come to terms with the inevitable imperfection of relationships and family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.
My Review:
Life is never what we expect them to be.  More often than not, we fight against change especially when it means leaving what’s comfortable and familiar to us.
All her life, Ainsley has only ever loved one man.  Blindly supportive of Eric no matter what, she is just waiting to marry and start a family with him. 
After 40 years of singlehood, Kate is finally in love and married to the perfect man.  All they need now is to conceive the child both have always dreamed of.
After 4 short months of wedded bliss, Nathan dies in a freak accident and Kate, the always poised and together Kate, can’t get past her shock to grieve.  Enter Ainsley who needs to stay with Kate as she had been kicked out of her conjugal home by her almost fiancĂ© Eric who decided that he had to get rid of the “corpses of his old life”…… by that he means Ainsley, his job and everything else that mattered.
Kate and Ainsley have never been close.  Their age difference and the fact that they are stepsisters with parents who obviously preferred one over the other damaged what could have been a close relationship.  But now they are forced to be together and help each other heal and move on as they navigate a life they never expected, but would, if faced together, be even better than what they had.
I have always loved novels by Kristan Higgins.   Ever since I read Just One of The Guys and the Blue Heron series, I knew I would keep coming back to read and reread all the books that she would put out.
This is heavier than most of her other books as it deals with grief in much of the chapters in quite a slow pace.  So much so that I didn’t feel the pull to keep reading until about halfway through, but once I did though, it was hard to put down. 
An interesting point is that Higgins used a two character narration so it’s so much clearer for the reader what exactly these two main characters are going through.  Both Kate and Ainsley are grieving for different reasons that they are dealing with in such different ways, and we as readers go through this slow and painful journey with them.
Heartbreaks aside, the buildup of their sisterly relationship and their new appreciation for each other comes across clearly.  And it is wonderful to see their realization that no matter what, it is family that ultimately helps you through everything that life throws your way.
Of course there is romance in this book.  It is a Kristan Higgins novel after all. The romance that both sisters develop is an important part of why this book works so well, however, it is NOT the main point of their healing and moving forward.  It does add so much humor and lightness to the book itself though.  And I love the extra storyline that is Jonathan’s life.

This is not as funny nor as romantic as other Kristan Higgins’ books but it is as well written.  And if you want to take a breather from heavy romance and instead read something about family, then pick up this book.