Published by HQN on December 26th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
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With a tough islander mother who's always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter--a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was--Nora has her work cut out for her if she's going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.
But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event 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.
~~Reviewed by Evelyn~~
NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT is the first book that I have read by Kristan Higgins and now I have to ask: Where have you been all my life Ms. Higgins? There is so much to love about this book. The realistic characters are wonderfully written and the often humorous storyline has many “wow, I didn’t see that coming” moments.
I was hooked right away when I saw that our heroine, Nora Stuart, was not the typical drop dead gorgeous, extremely confident and successful woman that we find in many romance novels. Instead, she was a chubby, bullied teenager that grew up in a dysfunctional home. In spite of the fact that many people thought she cheated to get it, she won a very prestigious scholarship. She uses the money to escape her cold mother, crazy sister and the small tourist island where she grew up.
Nora blossoms in college, loses weight and becomes a doctor. It seems she finally has it all when everything suddenly comes crashing down on her. She is hit, literally, by a van and is seriously injured. If that weren’t bad enough, while in the hospital, she overhears her doctor boyfriend flirting with another doctor. Now homeless and needing time to recover, she does something she never thought she would do: She returns to the island and to her mother. Will she be able to come to grips with her problems there or will old memories be too much for her to handle?
In addition to Nora, there are many wonderful characters in this book. There’s Sullivan (Sully) Fletcher who is partially deaf due to a car accident that Nora feels partly responsible. Sully and his daughter Audrey, a chubby, awkward teenager, could be anybody’s neighbors and friends. Nora’s niece Poe is a teenager in search of herself after being brought up in a very unstable environment. Despite her tough exterior, she is just looking for someone to love her. These and the other supporting characters are wonderfully written and add depth to Nora’s story.
The often intense storyline often brought me to tears, but there were also many very humorous moments to balance it out. One scene with a pet bird had me laughing so hard it brought tears to my eyes.
What a great introduction for me to Ms. Higgins’ books. Needless to say, I can’t wait for the next one.
I voluntarily read an advanced reader’s copy of this book.