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On Second Thought

On Second Thought

4.1 14
by Kristan Higgins

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From the New York Times bestselling author of If You Only Knew comes an irresistible look at the affection and the acrimony that binds families 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 being


From the New York Times bestselling author of If You Only Knew comes an irresistible look at the affection and the acrimony that binds families 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 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.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Emotional depth is seared into every page along with wry banter, bringing readers to tears and smiles. Another hit for Higgins."
– Library Journal STARRED Review for On Second Thought

"[An] emotionally compelling story [and] perceptive study of love, marriage, sisterhood, and loyalty. A powerful, emotionally textured winner.?" -Kirkus Reviews on If You Only Knew

"The kind of book I enjoy the most-sparkling characters, fast-moving plot and laugh-out-loud dialogue. A winner!" -Susan Elizabeth Phillips on If You Only Knew

"Poignant, funny and richly entertaining." -NPR on If You Only Knew

"Higgins's ability to delve into the gut-wrenching, nitty-gritty of marriages going off the track is staggering. This nail-biting novel speaks to the heart of infidelity and the pain it causes, while proving no one is exempt from heartache." -New York Journal of Books on If You Only Knew

"This emotional journey of two sisters is filled with drama, laughter and tears and squeezes the heart. It should be on every bedside table in the country!" -Robyn Carr on If You Only Knew

"Oh, what a satisfying and delicious read! I admired the writing, the wit, the keen eye at work here. Thank you, Kristan Higgins." -Elinor Lipman on If You Only Knew

"Higgins' tender, heartfelt If You Only Knew bridges the gap between romance and women's fiction." -BookPage on If You Only Knew

"Hilarious... Kristan Higgins is spot on with her dialogue and characters. A fantastic story." -Fresh Fiction on If You Only Knew

Library Journal
★ 11/01/2016
Half sisters Kate and Ainsley aren't as close as they could be, considering they live in the same town of Cambry-on-Hudson, NY. Photographer Kate has been married to architect Nathan for four months and is spending a fortune on pregnancy tests. Ainsley writes for Hudson Lifestyle magazine after an unfortunate incident at NBC and has been dating Eric for ten years. Ainsley thinks tonight is the night Eric will pop the question. It's his postcancer celebratory party after all, a time to focus on living life to the fullest. What better way to move forward than with an engagement? Just as Eric is about to make Ainsley the happiest woman he knows, a terrible accident changes everything, especially for the O'Leary sisters. VERDICT Higgins (If You Only Knew) has perfect pitch when it comes to her upstate New York protagonists and their expanded worlds that even extend to Brooklyn. Emotional depth is seared into every page along with wry banter, bringing readers to tears and smiles. Another hit for Higgins.—Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

Product Details

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6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

Meet the Author

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA TODAY bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The New York Journal of Books and Kirkus.

Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two atypically affectionate children, a neurotic rescue mutt and an occasionally friendly cat.

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On Second Thought 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous 18 days ago
I loved this book! I didn't understand the title until I finally realized that both sisters were getting a second chance with true love, even though Kate had loved her dead husband of three months, and Ainsley had thought she loved Eric. The interaction of the characters was great, as the sisters dealt with uninvolved parents, friends who really weren't, colleagues who became more, and a grandmother who made me laugh out loud as she tried to date. I love all of Kristin Higgans' books and look forward to the next one.
Anonymous 21 days ago
I have read all if Kristan Higgans books, some i liked, some i loved and some i did not like st all. This book fell between like and love. I had a difficult time with Nathan's family and his ex-wife. I also had difficulty remembering who was who with so many characters. Having said that, I think this is a wonderful, enjoyable read. I felt Kate's pain at losing her husband and I laughed at her jazz hands to turn on lights. I read this book in one day and am looking forward to reading the authors next book.
Anonymous 22 days ago
I usually love Kristen's books, the snappy repartee the enter connections between the characters, the great laugh out loud and good feelings spits, but something was lacking here. It took me sometime to like the characters, to not want to shake or smack them into revealing some true emotions. No true fun here like her Blue Heron series, more heart wringing emotion, good the sisters were able to connect more, but sections such as when Nathan's family are told of Kate's condition and react badly, I was disappointed the way Kate handled that and her letting Brooke be so rude to her. I also read the excerpt from the next of her books and I have to say it was the first time I wasn't ready to run out & pre-order. Seems pretty dark!
Anonymous 22 days ago
Pre ordered this month's ago and was so excited. Not what i expect from KH.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Classic Kristin Higgins -- funny, sweet, well-drawn characters and a great underlying story.
BK1980 9 days ago
It's been a while since I've read a book that I can't put down! This book gutted me! It was sad but hysterical - true Kristan fashion. It makes you take a deep look at your own life and teaches you to not take anything or anyone for granted.
Dianne57 15 days ago
Have you ever read a book that you just knew right from the very beginning you would be best of friends with these characters if they were only real? This is how I felt once I was about 25% done with this book. This book was almost everything I love in a book - it was filled with realistic characters, realistic situations, some happiness (at the end) and a lot of sad...the one thing, and an important thing, it was lacking was humor. Not that there was totally none, but it just wasn't there in big enough doses to make this a 5-star rated book. But this was definitely a 4.5 star book. I read to escape the realities and traumas of everyday life -this book just left me dazed through most of it. The love of the sisters for each other was plain to see (again, once you have read about 25 to 50% of the book) …but the heart-aches just took a bit too much out of me and out of this book. I did love how things did take a turn with the sister’s and their feelings and actions towards each other developed. Getting to the 'happily-ever-after’ was almost too painful to get to and didn't last long enough to satisfy me or to make up for all the other trauma. I am glad that each did find their HEA even if one was a little iffy and not very traditional in the romantic novel sense. Seeing two such smart women mess up their lives for one worthless man and one that was less than forthcoming, was astounding to me. What is even odder for me is even with all that said, I could not put this book down -even though it was a painful journey through the sister’s lives, it was fascinating and so well written that I can look beyond my own petty problems with this book and see that the author was trying to tell us - that we as women are so much more than just being a shadow to the men in our lives. We shouldn't forgive lying out of hand, we need to have a spine...and I'm happy to say that each of these women did learn this lesson. It was a difficult and rocky path, but they learned. Most of Ms Higgins other novels may have the sadness, frustrations, and problems of everyday life that this one had, but they also usually include a good dose of humor. Yes, the humor is mostly the self-depreciating kind, but it is humor nonetheless. You need to really look closely to see the humor interspersed with the pain in this book. It really was a satisfying read for me, even with the issues I had with it. *ARC supplied by publisher
bazzlec 21 days ago
I loved it. Would like it if she continues on with the sisters. Do they both get married,does ainsley find out her true job. please keep the sisters going
Deb-Krenzer 22 days ago
*TISSUES NEEDED* I loved this story. It had everything. Any emotion you can think of was included in this book. My heart truly bled for some of these characters. My favorite lines: Lunch is on me, oh, no, lunch is on you. Ha!!! And, will you please forgive me? I forgive you. Pow, sucker punch and a walk out the door. Loved these lines. Now those of you who haven't read the book have no idea what I'm talking about. Well you will just have to wonder until you do. Poor Kate she only knew Nathan a total of nine months and now she's a widow. Ainsley was with Eric for 11 years before he broke up with her. Both sisters thought they had the rest of their lives set and were going to be happy forever. Well, that was not the case. I don't know how long this book was, but I became a part of these sisters. That definitely had to be the writing. The author made them seem so real, the town, everything. I've read several books by this author and I have to say I think this one touched me the most. Huge thanks to Harlequin for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
ytcruz 22 days ago
This book reminds us that life is NEVER simple, black and white, dull , uncomplicated, or predictable. That family, though they can drive us crazy, and sometimes antagonize us, is still family and is ours forever. That we should never assume what others think or feel and that we should not judge, especially our family. In this case two sisters that are worlds apart , yet unite and “ discover” each other. There are moments when you will want to cry, or laugh. You will cheer seeing that these sisters, who once upon a time, couldn’t stand each other, are now true sisters. Yes , this book by Ms Higgins seems deeper and more introspective than others, and for that ,more thought provoking. I was gifted this book. The opinions expresses are solely my own.
CharlotteLynnsReviews 26 days ago
It’s official… I am a Kristin Higgins fan. She is now a must read author for me. I loved everything about this book. I started it in the early afternoon and stayed up half the night having to read it. Even when I woke up I was still thinking about the story and the characters. Her first book, If You Only Knew, blew me away. Now she follows it up with another amazing standalone of On Second Thought. The family dynamics and the friendships stick out to me. The relationships, the friendships are so real. They are not easy, fun, and no worry relationships. They are tough, flawed, and need work to make them be successful. There are families, friends, lovers, husbands, and in-laws to be dealt with. Even the characters that you didn’t really like you understood and appreciate the impact that they made on the others in this story. If you are looking for a emotional, sometimes humorous story I recommend getting your own copy of On Second Thought. It has everything I love. Romance, friendships, and family.
Anonymous 17 days ago
Could have been good if not so sappy and preditable
LeighKramer 22 days ago
I’ve always been drawn to stories about sisters, probably because I wished so badly I had one. Whether it was watching Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen sing Sisters on White Christmas or watching my mom and aunt interact, there was something so magical about that particular relationship. And yet it can be a complicated relationship as well and that’s what we find in Kristan Higgins’s latest novel. It started out a little slow- it takes about 10 chapters to move us through the synopsis- but once both Ainsley and Kate have experienced their respective losses, they find themselves looking at each other in a new light, in part because they need each other in ways they never have before. I was mesmerized by Kate’s experience as a widow. She and Nathan hadn’t been married long before he died and I haven’t encountered this particular kind of grief in a novel before. There’s no one right way to grieve but it’s even murkier with a new marriage and a layer of fertility issues. (Kate is older when they marry so they start trying to get pregnant from the start.) I didn’t know what to make of Ainsley at first, mostly because her boyfriend is so awful. Like douchecanoe awful. You cannot put lipstick on that particular pig and she couldn't see his very obvious true colors and that made me think much less of her. But once Eric breaks up with her, she has to figure out what to do with her life, both literally and figuratively, and this is when her character came alive. I loved watching her grow and take more ownership of her life decisions. At the center of the story is how Ainsley and Kate relate to each other. And how they don’t relate to each other. They never had a smooth relationship as sisters and it certainly isn’t smooth sailing at first. But I loved seeing them both try. Try to be vulnerable and take a risk on a closer relationship. It is hard won but this was the best part of the book for me. It was so true to life! Their efforts spilled over to their relationship with their parents as well and this made for some touching moments. I also really enjoyed watching the sisters have a second chance at love, even if I was a little irked at first that Ainsley got a second chance when she’d picked such an awful person the first time around. In any case, Jonathan and Daniel were absolutely lovely to read about and I liked how well they took care of their women. Neither are perfect and there are obstacles to dating. I liked how the new relationship wasn't a magic cure-all for either woman. This was different from what I expected. I’ve read Kristan Higgins’ contemporary romance Blue Heron series and this was firmly in the Women’s Fiction camp. I thoroughly appreciated her exploration of the ups and downs of being sisters, as well as how to move on after loss or the end of a relationship. I hope she’ll write more in this vein. Disclosure: I was provided an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Candace-LoveyDoveyBooks 22 days ago
On Second Thought is the first novel by Kristan Higgins I have ever read and I am impressed! Not only does she tell a good story, but she invokes lasting emotions from her readers. This heartwarming story reaches down to the depths of your mind and finds a place to rest. You will not be able to get it out of your head once you've finished reading. Kate's husband suddenly dies at a party celebrating her half-sister's boyfriend's cancer free status. It seems like she waited for a long time for someone like Nathan and they had hardly even began their time together before it ended. In the aftermath, Kate struggles to deal with the grief and Eric breaks up with Ainsley. The two half-sisters find their way to each other and end up helping each other through the pain with surprising results. Though it took tragedy and heartbreak for the sisters to overcome the chasm that kept them from truly knowing each other, their blossoming bond set the tone for the novel. There's a sense of hope that permeates the plot and keeps you looking for the bright side of the characters' situations. Kristan Higgins is clever in a way that brings a story to life and makes it feel like you're reading someone's personal account. The characters are down to earth and so eager to jump off the pages of the book. They're all so vibrant even when life doesn't look good for them at the moment. There is absolutely no reason to miss out on reading On Second Thought. It will make you rethink your idea of romance for the year to come, and I guarantee most other books will pale in comparison. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review*