On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
Published by HQN Books on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Chick-Lit
Format: Kindle Edition
Buy on Amazon
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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 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.
It’s been a really long time since I have read a Higgins book, but when this was brought to my attention, I knew I had to get my hands on it.
On Second Thought was a book that not only surprised me, but blew my expectations out of the water. To date, I think this is the best book Higgins has ever written.
The story is told from the POV of two sisters, Kate and Ainsley. Kate is the older half sister from their father’s first and current marriage, and she is also a 39-year old widow. For twenty years Kate never thought she would have a chance to marry with her bad luck and a string of bad relationships, she gave up hope – until Nathan came over into her life.
I became Nathan’s wife. One hundred and two days later, I became his widow.
Nathan was sweet, talented, came from a wealthy family and wanted to have children. They dated for a few months before quickly getting married and not too soon after their marriage, Nathan dies, leaving Kate to pick up the pieces.
Ainsley is the younger half sister, who comes from a woman that the girl’s father was actually in love with. Kate’s mother took her in, and for the longest time Ainsley felt a little alienated. She was in a relationship with Eric for 11-years, up until after he recovered from his cancer, watched Nathan die at their life party and decided to cut ties with Ainsley with a very ugly public blog post to top of the hurt.
This book was everything, it had everything. I had my reservations at first, Nathan dies getting a glass of wine for Kate and it is mentioned several times as the guilt sits heavy on her chest. At first I was a little worried that this was going to be a very to shame anyone who drinks wine, but as the story went on, it was proven otherwise and I relaxed a little.
The story pulled on my heartstrings, squeezed my heart, broke my heart and cemented it back together with love and warmth.
It was frustrating, shocking, sad, heartbreaking, but at the same time it was wonderful, full of love and just downright realistic. There were moments that made me really feel for the two women, but Higgins hands the entire situation not only with wit and charm, but with humor cleverly woven in.
The story was about death, grief, moving on after, love, heartbreak, and family all the good, the bad and the ugly. I loved how the heartbreak and the events in both of the sister’s lives bought them together and formed a stronger bond. I liked learning about their family, and how Candy (Kate’s mother, Ainsley’s step-mother) felt about having another woman’s child trusted upon her. For a long time, I didn’t know how to feel about her, but Candy redeemed herself tenfold by the end of the book.
Kate’s story was rough. I couldn’t even begin to understand how she felt being widowed so fast, but I also had to take into the account that Kate didn’t even know her husband for a year, so the experience must have felt different to other widows who knew them for years.
I loved the romance, especially between Ainsley and her boss Jonathan. When Jonathan appeared more and more in the story, he won me over quickly. He isn’t your typical love interest, which was so refreshing. He is awkward, he doesn’t wear his feelings on his sleeve, his interaction with Ainsley is amusing. She calls him Captain Flatline for a reason, he is hard to read and she often compares him to an alien. But I loved that, I loved that Jonathan wasn’t like the rest of the alpha males in the books, it made him so much more endearing and memorable.
Daniel the hot Fire Fighter was also an awesome addition to the book, and I loved the way he treated Kate and pulled her out of her funk.
The entire story was just great, but I think I already mentioned it. It was well over 400 pages and I was sad that it was over, I will definitely miss Jonathan. I liked both of the sister’s voice and their sarcastic witty humor, I never found a dull moment.
If you want to give Higgin’s a try, I strongly recommend this book.
“Are you crying?”
“Oh…I just…I’m a little, uh premenstrual.” Shit.
He gave me a long, unblinking look. Strange pale blue eyes, like an alien. “Will that be a problem during this interview?” he asked.
“Let’s hope not. But those first two days can be murder.” I smiled. He did not. I felt my uterus shriveling, as if his disapproving gaze was bringing on menopause.
Finally, he blinked. “I’m Jonathan Kent. This way.”
Inside the grocery store, it was as cold as a morgue. Poor choice of words.
I couldn’t remember what I’d come for, Vegetables? Why not? Whole Foods did have the prettiest produce in the entire world, even if it did cost a million trillion dollars.
I was dying to know what my stick-up-the-colon boss did in his spare time. Taxidermy seemed about right.
I pulled into Kate’s driveway, once again doing the walk of shame (though damn proud of it), went into the kitchen and screamed
A very large man was there.
“Hey,” he said. “How’s it going?”
“Who are you and why are you wearing my sister’s shirt?” I yelped..
He smiled. I smiled. The cat smiled.
He had a cat!
“You have a cat!” I said. Maybe shouldn’t have had that second glass of wine. Too late now.
I could seriously go on with snips and quotes forever. Go read the book!