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"The kind of book I enjoy the most—sparkling characters, fast-moving plot and laugh-out-loud dialogue. A winner!" —New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips on If You Only Knew
New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins welcomes you home in this witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family
One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.
Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.
With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two atypically affectionate children, a neurotic rescue mutt and an occasionally friendly cat.
Read an Excerpt
The first thought I had after I died was: How will my dog cope with this?
The second thought: I hope we can still go with open casket.
Third thought: I have nothing to wear to my funeral.
Fourth: I'll never meet Daniel Radcliffe now.
Fifth: Did Bobby just break up with me?
Let me back up an hour or so.
It was a quiet night at Boston City Hospital — for me. It usually was. While I worked at New England's biggest and busiest hospital, I was a gastroenterologist. Most of our patients were diagnosed in the office before things get too critical — everyone freaks out if they can't eat or poop, after all. So aside from the occasional emergencies — hemorrhages or burst gallbladders — it's a pretty mellow field.
It's also a field with a low mortality rate.
I had just checked the four patients my practice had on the unit — two elderly women, both impacted, sent in by their nursing homes for enemas, basically; one small bowel obstruction, resolving nicely on a clear-liquid diet; and one case of ulcerative colitis which my colleague would operate on tomorrow.
"So more fiber, Mrs. DeStefano, okay? Lay off the pasta and add some greens," I said to one of the impacted patients.
"Honey, I'm Italian. Lay off the pasta, please. I'd rather die."
"Well, eat more greens and a little less pasta." She was ninety-six, after all. "You don't want to get all bound up again, do you? Hospitals are no fun."
"Are you married?" she asked.
"Not yet." My face felt weird, as it always did when I fake-smiled. "But I have a very nice boyfriend."
"Is he Italian?"
"Can't win them all," she said. "Come to my house. You're too skinny. I'll cook you pasta fagiole that will make you cry, it's so good."
"Sounds like heaven." I didn't point out that she no longer lived in a house. And that no matter how sweet the little old lady might be, I didn't visit strangers, even strangers who thought I was skinny, bless their hearts. "Get some rest tonight," I said. "I'll check on you tomorrow, okay?"
I left the room, my heels tapping on the shiny tile floors ... I always dressed for work, having come to my love of clothes later than most. I adjusted my white doctor's coat, which still gave me a thrill — Nora Stuart, M.D., Department of Gastroenterology stitched over my heart.
I could do computer work, I supposed. The nurses would love me for it. My rounds were finished, and I was just killing time, hoping that for once, Bobby would be ready to leave at the end of his shift. He worked in the ER, so the answer was usually no.
But I really didn't want to go home alone, even if Boomer, our giant Bernese mountain dog mutt, would be there. Boomer, the bright spot in my increasingly gray life.
No. My life was fine. It was great. Best not to navel-gaze right now. Maybe I'd call Roseline, my best friend here in Boston, an obstetrician. Even better, maybe she'd be on call and I could help deliver a baby. I texted her, but she immediately responded that she was at her in-laws' for dinner and contemplating homicide.
Too bad. Roseline understood the grayness. Then again, maybe I'd been leaning on her too much. I wrote back suggesting various ways to dispose of the bodies, then stuck my phone in my pocket.
I ambled over to the nurses' station. Ah, lovely. Del, one of my favorite CNAs, was sitting there, lollipop in his mouth, going through a pile of papers. "Hey, buddy," I said.
"Dr. Nora! How's it going?"
"Great! How are you? How'd the date go the other night?"
He leaned back in his chair, a huge smile coming over his face. "She's the one," he said smugly. "I knew it the second she smiled at me."
"Really. I mean, she looked up, and I practically got down on one knee. It was like we'd known each other forever. Like we were made for each other, special order, you know?"
"Sure!" I said, a bit too emphatically. "Same with Bobby and me."
Del's smile faltered just a little.
Just then, an overhead page went off. "Attention please, attention please, Dr. Stuart, Dr. Nora Stuart, to ER 11, stat."
I jumped. "Oh! That's me!" A GI call to the ER was rare enough to still be thrilling. "Off I go, then. Bye, Del!"
I ran down the hall, feeling very badass, one hand over my stethoscope so it wouldn't bounce, wondering what the call was. Foreign body in esophagus (choking, in other words)? Hemorrhagic lower GI bleeding, always exciting? More common in a city ER would be esophageal varices due to alcoholism or hepatitis — blood vessels in the throat that burst and can cause the patient to bleed to death.
I loved going to the ER. Gastroenterology was just as important as emergency medicine, but no one wrote shows about my specialty, did they? The ER was where the cool kids hung out, and my boyfriend was their king. Bobby often said there was little the emergency department couldn't fix — but if they'd paged me, well, then ... I was the captain now.
I ran down the stairs into the ER, over to the triage nurse. Ellen looked up and said, "Twelve-year-old with bellyache, looks sick, number 11."
"Thanks, Ellen!" She failed to smile back. Bobby loved her, but to me, she was as charming as the Dementors in Harry Potter, always looking for some happiness to smite.
To Exam Room 11 I went, walking briskly but not running. The ER was fairly quiet tonight; the usual suspects — the elderly, a few kids, a few addicts, a guy with a bloody hand who smiled as I walked past.
Gastroenterology ... well. Someone had to do it, right? And I liked it, mostly. Ninety percent of my patients got better. The colonoscopies ... believe it or not, there was a Zen to them. But yeah, it didn't make the best party chatter. I couldn't count the number of flinches I got when I told people what my field was, but they sure cared when they had an ulcer, didn't they?
Jabrielle, one of the newer ER residents, stood outside the exam room. She was a little too infatuated with Bobby, as demonstrated when she gazed deeply into his eyes at the last party we'd gone to, one of those we can't break eye contact because this conversation is so intense situations. Jabrielle was also irritatingly beautiful.
"Are you the GI consult?" she asked, failing to recognize me. Again.
"Yes," I said. "I'm Nora. We've met. Three times." She still looked blank. "Bobby's girlfriend?"
"Oh. Right. Anyway, I suspect appendicitis, but his pain is a little more midline. We're waiting on labs. I was going to scan him, but the attending wanted the consult to see if we can avoid the CT."
The patient looked young for twelve, his skin ashen, face drawn with pain. We didn't want to expose him to radiation from the CT scan if we didn't have to. "Hi, bud," I said. "We're gonna take good care of you, okay?" I smiled at the mother as I washed my hands. "I'm Dr. Stuart. Sorry your son is having trouble." I glanced at the chart. Caden Lackley, no trauma, eating mostly normally until today, acute abdominal pain, fever, nausea and vomiting. "Any diarrhea or mushy poop, Caden?" Like I said, not the best party chatter.
"No," he answered.
"Okay. Let's take a look."
I felt his stomach, which was tight, one of the signs for appendicitis. But the pain wasn't in the expected place; in fact, it wasn't anywhere near McBurney's point in his lower right abdomen. "It's not his appendix," I said.
Jabrielle pursed her perfect lips, irritated that she'd been wrong. All the ER docs were this way, hating when we specialists disagreed with them.
The kid sucked in sharp breath as I palpated just under his ribs on the right side. There was no pain on the left. I rolled him to his side and tapped on his back to check for kidney problems, but he didn't react.
He was probably too young for gallstones. Pancreatitis, maybe, but again, given his age, it was a bit unlikely. It wouldn't be Crohn's without diarrhea. "How long has your stomach been hurting, Caden?" "Since Sunday."
That was a nice specific answer. Today was Thursday, so five days of stomach pain. "Has it stopped and started?"
"No. It's been there the whole time."
I thought a second. "Did you eat anything different over the weekend?"
"We went to a party at my sister's," the mom said. "There was a lot of food, but nothing he hasn't had before."
"Anything with small bones in it? Fish, chicken?" They looked at each other. "No. Nothing with bones," she said.
"How about a toothpick?" I asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Those scallops wrapped in bacon."
Bingo. "Did you maybe swallow a toothpick?" I asked.
"I don't think so," he said.
"He was eating them like popcorn," his mother said.
"Well, they are fantastic." I smiled. "Sometimes people can swallow things without noticing it, Caden, so I'm going to do an endoscopy. Basically, you get some nice relaxing medicine, I slip a tiny camera into your stomach and look around, and maybe I'll see a toothpick. Sound like fun?" It did to me.
I told Jabrielle to give him some Versed to relax him, then sprayed his throat with Lidocaine to numb it, so he wouldn't gag. His mom sat next to him, holding his hand.
"This won't hurt a bit," I said, then I got to work, sliding the scope into his throat, talking quietly through it, looking up at the screen as Caden's esophagus and stomach were revealed. Healthy tissue, the beautiful web of blood vessels, the grayish walls of the stomach pulsing and moving with life.
And there, in the lower part of the stomach, I saw the toothpick, now black from stomach acid, sticking out of his duodenal wall. Using the endoscopy forceps, I gently grabbed it and slowly pulled it out. "Ta-da," I said, holding it up so my patient could see. "We got it, Caden. You'll feel a lot better tomorrow."
"Good call," Jabrielle murmured.
"Thank you," I said. "I'll order up some antibiotics, but he should be right as rain. In the future, big guy, eat more carefully, okay? This could've done a lot of damage. It could've slipped through into your liver, and that would've been really bad."
"Thank you so much, Doctor," the mom said. "We had no idea!" "My pleasure," I said. "He seems like a great kid."
I pulled off my gloves, shook her hand, tousled Caden's hair and went out to write the prescription.
Felt a little heroic.
If left untreated, that toothpick could've caused sepsis. It could've been fatal. Though it didn't happen too often, I think I could firmly say I'd saved a life tonight.
Just then the doors to the ambulance bay burst open, and a pack of people ran down the hall next to a gurney. "Drive up gunshot to throat" barked someone — Bobby, it was my honey! "Extensive blood loss in vehicle, get the Level One infuser running with four units of O positive. Call the blood bank for a mass transfusion pack, and call Trauma Code for Room One, now! Stop sitting on your asses, people! Move!"
The place exploded with action, people running in every direction, doing as their lord commanded. I inched toward the room where the action was, hypnotized. Good God. It looked like half the man's throat was missing, a meaty hole about the size of a fist, Bobby's hand inside it.
"I'm clamping his carotid with my fucking fingers!" Bobby yelled. "Where the hell is the surgeon?"
Indeed, Bobby's arm was drenched in blood, his scrubs sprayed with arterial spatter. The rest of the team buzzed around the patient, cutting off his clothes, inserting lines.
"No, you can't intubate, idiot!" Bobby barked at an intern. "Can you not see my hand in his throat? Bag him, you moron!"
I sure didn't miss residency. The ER doctors had been brutal.
Dr. McKnight from Surgery burst in, pulling on her gloves, a face shield already in place to protect her from blood-borne diseases. Someone draped her in a gown. "Clamp," she snapped. "Now!" If there was anyone more, ah, self confident than an ER doc, it was a surgeon. "Keep your hand there, Bobby, and don't even breathe. You lose your grip, he bleeds out in five seconds. How the hell did he make it here with a pulse?"
Then a nurse saw me gaping and closed the door. I wasn't ER staff, after all.
I snapped out of my awestruck stupor and closed my mouth. Janitorial was already mopping up the trail of blood, and half the residents — including Jabrielle, who shot me a dirty look, since I made her miss the good stuff with my boring endoscopy — hovered at the exam room window to see if the guy would make it.
The other patients in the unit were quiet in their exam stalls out of respect, it seemed — a TV-worthy trauma had just passed through their midst.
I wandered back to the triage desk. "Hi again, Ellen," I said. "That's some —"
"You done with that consult?" Ellen asked.
"Oh, yeah. Um ... he swallowed a toothpick. I did an endoscopy and —"
She gave me the stink-eye and picked up her phone. Right. She was busy, and I was an irritating doctor who made her life harder ... which was true for a lot of nurses, especially in the ER. All the more reason I bent over backward to make sure they knew I appreciated them. But Ellen wasn't the type to drink in the milk of human kindness, so I slunk to the computer and entered the report.
Just as I finished, the door to Bobby's exam room opened, and out came the team again, heading for the elevator up to the surgical floor. I could hear the beeping that indicated a regular heartbeat. Somehow, they'd saved his life, or at least given him a chance.
Dr. McKnight got on the elevator with the transport team, and as the doors closed, she called, "Nice work, people. Bobby, awesome job!"
The doors closed, and applause broke out throughout the department.
The next shift of ER staff was coming on, already aware that there'd been a good save, already jealous it hadn't happened on their shift.
Bobby and his team were in no hurry to pass the torch, either. They high-fived, made much ado about their bloody clothes, their part in the drama, Dr. McKnight's speedy and delicate end-to-end anastomosis.
Bobby didn't say much — he didn't have to, because it was clear he was their god.
Finally, his eyes stopped on me. I smiled, proud of him, even as that little irritating voice said it was about time he'd seen me.
"Oh, hey," he said. We'd been together long enough that I could tell he'd forgotten I was working tonight, too. "Uh ... we were gonna order a pizza and stick around to see how the patient's doing."
"Sure. Of course. Hey, Bobby, that was amazing. I saw a little bit."
He shrugged modestly. "Were you waiting for me?" he asked.
The irritation flared again. "No, I was on a consult. Twelve-year-old ate a toothpick. I scoped him and it doesn't look perfed. Think we caught it before he gets septic, too."
"Cool. Well, you want to hang out with us?"
I suppressed a sigh. I didn't. I wanted to go home and take a walk with Bobby and Boomer and get pad Thai. If we stayed here, I'd have to call Gus, our dog walker. I wanted to tell Bobby about my good call, my instincts of guessing what had caused the pain, which was what separated good doctors from mediocre.
But he was the one who'd had his hand in a man's throat.
"Sure," I said.
"Cool. Just let me get washed up." He left, stopping so the janitor could shake his hand.
Five minutes later, we went into the staff lounge, where the rest of the team was already in full adrenaline-junky chatter mode. More congratulations were given. More high fives. More jokes.
"Who's gonna get the pizza?" Jabrielle asked.
Everyone looked at me, the outsider. The boring gastroenterologist (who had also saved a life tonight, though that story wouldn't get aired).
"I'll do it," I said. "What would you like?"
Despite a magna cum laude degree from Tufts, a medical school at the same and a profession in which I earned a third more than my boyfriend, it seemed I was back in the days of waiting on customers at Scupper Island Clam Shack.
"Thanks, Nora," Bobby said. A couple other people paused in their self-praise to echo him.
"You bet." I walked through the ER, trying not to sigh.
In the hallway was a gurney. A young woman in a neck brace lay there, holding hands with a young man about the same age, also in a neck brace. College kids in a car accident, I'd guess. He leaned down so his forehead touched hers, and her hand went to his hair. They didn't' speak. They didn't have to. Their love was that palpable.
Bobby and I had been like that once, right after the Big Bad Event.
But not for a long, long time.
It made me feel ... gray.
Excerpted from "Now That You Mention It"
Copyright © 2017 Kristan Higgins.
Excerpted by permission of Harlequin Enterprises Limited.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Had some laugh out loud moments, and wasn't overly sweet
This was the most enjoyable book i have read so far from this author. It captivated from the beginning when she was hit by a van to the end when she defended her bully. I cried, cheered, and laughed. I would recommended this book highly, I couldn't put it down. It was absolutely a joy to read. It captured my heart and reminded me of my own family struggles and triumphs.
This story had everything: heart, humor, love, forgiveness, strong relationships. The characters grew through the story and changes. It was as much about the love between lovers as it was about a daughter and her mother, and aunt and her niece, and the protagonists past and current self. This was great and I didn't want it to end.
At times funny and at others, so very touching. Kristan Higgins weaves a wonderful tale of every day people living everyday lives. No need to stretch your imagination, to imagine billionaires disguising themselves. Her characters are relatable, anyone of us could be them.
I love any story by this author. However, the story was not as intriguing as the last two stand alones. I laughed so hard during the dinner scene and my heart broke for a few of the characters. I will read this again.
Home is where the heart is, the place to put to rest old fears and to heal newer wounds. Nora Stuart's journey home is filled with all the tenderness and angst from being a teen who didn't belong to now being a successful doctor. As she confronts a painful past, she heals not only herself, but her niece and, surprisingly, her mother. A long the way, she finds unexpected love, as well. The perfect escape during our turbulent times.
A wonderful summer read. Interesting, amusing and a great pace. A heroine you want to befriend.
This was not a Romance story. Higgins writes well and that kept me reading but I won't read any more of her books in this series. Some parts were depressing and some parts too violent hence, not a Romance story.
I love Kristan Higgins books. The protagonists are human, flawed and funny. This book addressed some very difficult and emotional topics, I had to stop reading a few times, but she handled them well. I loved the characters and Sully is a wonderful love interest. The teens were spot on and real. I recommend this book, it is now second to my favorite K Higgins Book, ‘Catch of the Day.’
I enjoyed the book and didn't want to put it down. The characters came to life and felt like old friends after a while. Always look forward to reading anything Higgins writes!!
Nora Stuart was a good character, I enjoyed her, but for me the story was just a little all over the place. I love Kristan Higgins stand alone books, so when I was pitched this book to read, I didn't even have to read the synopsis, I knew I was going to read it and was pretty sure I was going to love it. And yes, I didn't love the plot, but I was at least along the ride with a good character. For me, the plot went all over the place. It almost felt like she was trying to include way too many things. There was back and forth in time and drama all over the place and it was over the top drama, so I just couldn't get into it and enjoy the ride. I am huge fan of Kristan Higgins, so although this book won't be in my top five of hers, not loving this book won't keep me from reading her over and over again!
Wow just...wow! Kudos to Kristan Higgins -this is a book I highly recommend and will be put on my comfort bookshelf to be read and re-read. I am so sorry that I waited so long to read this book. Sometimes Ms. Higgins books are hit or miss -this book hit it out of the ballpark for me. This had everything that an avid chick lit reader could want, sans the ultra-descriptive sex scenes. What our protagonist, Nora went through in her life would have sent most people off the deep end, but Nora is a Downeaster. Stolid and solid to the core. This book gives us a look back at Nora's growing up years (and they were not especially pretty) right through many...well we could call them tragedies but I won't. I'll call them for lack of a better term, learning experiences -because that is what Nora treats them as. This book is written with younger characters, and most likely a younger audience in mind. However, the characters are also written with a thought to maturity that keeps a reader like me very intrigued and interested. This book has tragedy, mystery redemption and love going for it. There seems to be something for everyone in here. Sometimes Nora can seem to be a 'goody-two-shoes' type, but she really isn't she is just hasn't let the New England stolidness over-ride her sense of hope and her efforts to make things better and to help people. *ARC supplied by the publisher.
Loved the book. Love Ms. Higgin's writing. Laugh out loud, and tears. Didn't see the Mom situation coming, so was also surprised.
A beautifully written story, filled with drama, life lessons, and deep emotions. It has such a naturally continuing flow that it pulled me right into Nora Stuart's mind and life and held me there until the end. This story is one of those all-nighters, unputdownable until the very end. I loved Nora and admired her. I looked up to her, though she was inspirational, such a beautiful person, tough, resilient, capable and fierce. But it was a long journey she had to go through to get to this point in her life. All the adversity Nora has faced during her 35 years of life, and especially in the past year, left me gasping for air. How could one person attract that much drama and trouble? Why did all the people surrounding her turn out to be nasty? Why her own family turned their backs on her? The story touches different social, criminal, and medical issues abundantly. From eating disorders to mental disabilities to physical attacks against women to attempted rape, murder, stalker, serious life-altering car accidents, bullying, repressing a young girl by the actions of the whole town, including her family, and so forth. I felt for Nora, there were several times when I was in tears, cheering her on, wishing I could stand up for her and protect her during those brutal high school days. Her journey to find her true self, to be comfortable with the person she is, to accept herself, and to be proud of the person she is deep inside without any pretention or pleasing anyone else is filled with challenges and diversity, tragedy and disloyalty. I'm little uncomfortable with the solution to happiness, success, and finding meaningful relationships equaling to losing weight, this is brought up with two characters in the tale. That's one of the points in the story that I am still processing, trying to balance its importance to the characters and their lives. Reading this book was a very personal experience to me. There are several matters in the story that I noticed I had a very private reaction to, things that Nora went through that echoed in my mind and heart. For me, this book is one of those that after reading it you have that famous book hangover because the events and issues of the story keep playing in your mind. I loved the story yet I struggled with some events in the tale. I connected with the strong heroine on an emotional level. I adored the relationship Nora developed with Sullivan over time, and the honesty, tenderness, and sincerity that was in that relationship that had been missing in the other interactions Nora had with the people surrounding her. While showing the beauty that is found in the world, from the joy of love, loyalty, peace of mind, and feeling secure with true friends and people who love you, the author shows the other side of the coin as well with the ugliness of jealousy, mobbing, threats, and feeling superior, putting others down to make yourself feel assured. The honest look of the human condition in today's world might not have been what I expected from the novel, but it was clearly drawn with definite lines, both the light and the shadows evident in the tale. Some books are entertainment, some books are a pure escape. Then there are the ones, like this one, that touch your heart, makes you ponder, and stop for a minute and think a little deeper. Books that give you an a-ha moment, that encourage and inspire you...
What can I say? The writing is exquisite as always. This book was much more emotional for me than her other books, but some very funny moments, too. A wonderful story, all around.
I’ve always been a fan of Kristan’s books. This was one of my favorites. Made me laugh. Made me cry. Made me angry, sad, frustrated, and happy. Definitely made me want to go back and re-read all of her other stories!
This is my first Kristan Higgins read and I absolutely loved it! It's funny and heart-warming. I connected with the main character immediately. She was determined to heal herself both physically and emotionally. I'm always pleased when I find an author who is new to me that I enjoyed this much. ARC from Harlequin via Netgalley
I liked this book. Loved the small town it was set in. I hope she writes more stories surrounding a couple of the characters especially her niece and sister. Aways enjoy her books.
Just finished this very late last night...just started it on Tuesday and couldn't put it away. Probably one of my favorite Kristan Higgins books! I literally cried at times and also laughed out loud (sorry, Tweety!). A great read with a nice reflection of how people change and as how we grow & mature, our self awareness makes us look at our past interactions with others differently. The main character, Dr. Nora Stuart, comes back to her hometown for an extended stay after a car accident. She hadn't been home in many years & people who she did know as a child and teen barely recognize her. And she soon doesn't recognize herself as she realizes she actually missed being home. Nora has survived a lot--the disappearance of her father, her teenage insecurities & body issues, the fleeing of her hometown to escape her demons, an estrangement with her mother & her sister, a cheating boyfriend, a car accident, and an unspeakable personal attack. But home is where she needs to be to heal, along with her best friend and constant companion "Boomer", and picks up a great living space and a part time job at the local clinic. Nora seems to live a life of two steps forward and one back. For each great event she encounters, there always seems to a be set back. But she is determined and gets back on her feet when she is knocked down, ready to take on the next challenge...including a teenage niece, a town with a long memories, the mean girls & guys from high school, and an uncertain future. For every person who has experienced angst in their teen years, overall difficulties in life, unanswered questions, but an unrelenting hope in the future, "Now that You Mention It" is a MUST READ!!!
Excellent book. This book moves right from the start and is very hard to put down.
A witty journey of self-discovery! With recovery in mind, a broken woman makes the decision to fight her demons and return home to the place where sunshine once lived before turning into darkness and despair. She sets out to follow her memories of the times when she felt like life was rosy and fun and puts forth a huge effort to reconnect with her family and the community. Meeting glares and resistance at every turn, she has to dig deep and find answers within herself that leave her pushing forward and overcoming the adversity she faces to find answers and a brighter future around the bend. The characters are well-developed, the turmoil is strife with tears and a smidgen of laughter as Kristan Higgins throws in her signature snark and sass to bring a laugh to life in the most awkward of times … and overall, it’s a very entertaining read! When Dr. Nora Stuart woke up from being hit by a car to find her live-in boyfriend flirting with another woman at her bedside, she realizes it’s time for some time apart! After having her life flash before her eyes during her unconsciousness, she’s not sure what to make of the fact that she envisioned so little affected by her “death”. She decides to stop avoiding the little island she was anxious to flee all those years ago and go home again. It’s not all puppies and rainbows when she arrives. Her cantankerous mother seems to care less that she was injured, her sister is in prison leaving her surly teenage daughter in their mother’s care and desperately seeking a way out of this one-horse town, the community still blames her for the demise of the town golden boy simply because she was smarter than him, and her ex continues to try to woo her back home … just another day in paradise I guess! Finally learning the answers to why her family fell apart all those years ago is enlightening and brings with it a peace at finally knowing that it wasn’t anything she had done wrong. Hard work and dedication leads to rediscovery of memories that squeeze her heart and make her more forgiving of times she was wronged, and finding a special guy on the Island with an equally special daughter who both think she’s got potential, makes for an interesting trip!
Few things brighten my day like a new Kristan Higgins book :) Nora's story, like just about everything else Kristan writes, is at times laugh-out-loud funny. Seriously. I don't know how she comes up with some of the situations she puts her characters in (some of them I probably don't want to know...) but ohmygoodness, they are hysterical. She also hits the nail right on the head with regards to relationships--whether it's family or friends, Kristan's writing always rings true. And then you throw in the romantic elements...swoon... I do have to say, though, that though she's been drifting more in the direction of women's fiction with her last few books, that this is the first one where the romance really felt like it took a back seat to the rest of the story. Nora and Sully's relationship moves really sloooowly...and at one point looks like it's going to be a non-starter...until it isn't. Almost at once they go from "we'll be just friends, because this isn't going to work" to wallbanging good times, which had me wondering if I'd missed something there...still, I wanted them to get together so it's hard to be terribly upset. More relationship page time, though, would have been awesome. Ultimately, though, it's a Kristan Higgins book--and still one heck of a good read! Xe Sands did her usual fabulous job of narration, capturing Nora's voice perfectly and ayah, doing a wicked good Mainah accent along the way. :) Rating: 4 stars / A-