Author: Kristan Higgins
Narrator: Xe Sands, Amy Rubinate
Published: January 2017, Recorded Books, HQN Books
Length: 13 hours 4 minutes / 480 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible / Publisher via Little Bird Publicity
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 thoughts: I am a big fan of Kristan Higgins' books and was thrilled to hear she had a new one out!!! She does such a great job blending family dynamics with romance, comedy and real people.
This story deals with some heavy issues but blended with Kristan's trademark sense of humor - not too light, not too heavy - it doesn't come off as a downer of a read. Rather, it is one that inspires hope and a sense of finding yourself after what may seem to be the worst thing to happen in your life.
And let's talk about the characters - these are always the highlight of Kristan's books for me! She creates such real, richly drawn, yet highly relatable characters. They are complex and flawed, yet ones you would hope to have as friends and in your corner should the need arise. I loved the relationship that grew between Ainsley and Kate as the story progressed. Having two sisters, I could totally relate to this bond between them and how it isn't always roses, but when the situation arises, they are there for you. And then there's Gram-Gram - everyone needs a grandmother like her! She is spunky and always good for a laugh!!!
While this is a stand-alone book, if you've read Kristan's previous book, If You Only Knew, a few characters might be familiar as this book is also set in Cambry-on-Hudson, NY. But, rest-assured, if you didn't read that book - no worries. They are not connected in any way - though I do recommend it, as it was also an enjoyable read!
Kristan Higgins is always a favorite author to read and I cannot wait to see what comes next from her...will it be another book set in Cambry-on-Hudson or will it be something entirely different? I guess only time will tell!
Audio thoughts: I have to admit that I had every intention of reading this book - I had both a print copy of this book and an e-galley via Netgalley, but when I saw who was narrating it - Xe Sands and Amy Rubinate - I couldn't pass up the opportunity to listen to them tell this story. And I'm so glad I didn't - they did such a great job with the narration!
This was such a delightful story to listen to, despite the heaviness of story at times and the narrators just brought it to life! Xe Sands did the narration for Kate's chapters and was just perfect for her - a little more reserved and quiet. Amy Rubinate did the narration for Ainsely's chapters and she was just right for her - a bit more bubbly and upbeat. Both, in my opinion, were perfectly cast in this case!
I'm so glad I listened to this book - it really was very well-done and the humor, and even sadness, was all delivered perfectly. Both these narrators are favorites of mine - I love listening to them and am glad I saw that they were narrating this book!!!