Title: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 448 pages
Book Rating: A
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Following in the footsteps of her critically acclaimed novel If You Only Knew, multi-bestselling author Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters together
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 she learns that 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.
On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins is a sad but witty, heartbreaking yet uplifting novel about two sisters whose bond is strengthened after they experience life altering events.
At thirty-nine, Kate O’Leary has finally come to terms with her single status so she is somewhat bemused and wary when Nathan Coburn asks for her phone number. Convinced she’ll never hear from the handsome architect, she is pleasantly surprised to find herself in a whirlwind relationship. Married just a few months after they begin dating, Kate is barely used to being a wife when she is widowed after a tragic accident.
Unlike Kate, her thirty-three year old half-sister, Ainsley has been with her boyfriend, Eric Fisher, since college. Ainsley has been anxiously awaiting for Eric to pop the question and after discovering an engagement ring, she is chomping at the bit for his proposal now that he is fully recovered from testicular cancer. So imagine her surprise, when Eric asks unceremoniously dumps her then publicly humiliates her on his blog. With no place to go, Ainsley temporarily moves in with Kate which turns out to be a huge blessing in disguise for both women.
Kate’s struggle to grieve Nathan’s loss is surprisingly complicated since they were only together such a short time. She treasures her precious few memories of them as a couple but she cannot help but wonder if she would have been better off never marrying him since he died so soon after their life together begins. After hearing other people’s memories of the man she is just realizing she barely knows, Kate begins questioning their entire relationship. It certainly does not help that Kate’s friends from her single days are not exactly supportive although she is pleasantly surprised by the one person who does make an effort to be there for her.
Ainsley first comes across as an empty-headed ninny but behind her unfailingly cheerful and positive facade, she is unexpectedly intuitive and insightful. She certainly has blinders on about her self-absorbed, selfish boyfriend and even after Eric uses their break up to find his fifteen minutes of fame, she still wants to reconcile with him. Which is why Ainsley is a little confused when she begins to notice her uptight, seemingly emotionless boss is an attractive man with a surprising amount of depth.
Between their age difference and their complicated family dynamics, Kate and Ainsley were never overly close even though they genuinely care about one another. Kate is quite shocked at how much she appreciates Ainsley once she moves in with her. Although some of their interactions are somewhat awkward due to Ainsely’s uncanny ability to put her foot in her month, Kate appreciates her sister’s emotional support. Equally surprising is Ainsley’s no nonsense advice as she gently coerces Kate to return to “normal” life. Both sisters discover new and surprising things about one another and to the delight of both women, they finally close the gap in their once distant relationship.
On Second Thought is an emotional novel of love, loss and new beginnings. The characters are beautifully developed with relatable flaws and true to life issues to overcome. The touching storyline will resonate with anyone who has experienced a break up or loss of someone they love. Kristan Higgins deftly balances the more sorrowful elements of the plot with wry humor, witty banter and laugh out loud scenes. Fans of contemporary women’s fiction are going to laugh, cry and ultimately rejoice as Ainsley and Kate forge a close bond while helping one another recover from their personal tragedies. A poignant, yet heartwarming novel that will touch reader’s hearts and linger in their minds long after the last page is turned.