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Read the book that has book clubs everywhere falling in love! From the New York Times bestselling author of If You Only Knew comes an irresistible, heartbreaking novel.
Praise for On Second Thought:
“Higgins 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.”—Library Journal, starred review
“A captivating read about two sisters dealing with love, loss and new beginnings. What sets this book apart is how one event changes both women's lives. Kate is refreshingly frank in her inner monologue, and Ainsley is charmingly self-aware and wry.”—RT Book Reviews, *5 STARS* Top Pick!
“Higgins' complex, witty characters will seem like close friends, and readers will savor each and every page as they find that love comes in many different flavors and forms. Demand will be high for the latest from this women's-fiction star.”—Booklist, starred review
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.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful.
My second thoughts.
I started reading this on the fortieth anniversary of my husband's death and just finished a while ago. At first I was somewhat put off by the beginning of Kate's story in the first chapter. However, knowing my Kristan wouldn't suddenly write something that would let me down (unless she was truly taken over by aliens) I persevered. Please believe me when I say this is one of Kristan's finest and most mature books and you will love it. Kate and her sister Ainsley's stories will take you through all the emotions, including plenty of LOLs. It's not a book for sissies. I'll be 70 in a couple of months and loved the stories of women who lost and then won in the world of love at about the age that I did not. I never found my "second thoght" but it was nice to read about two women who did. Thanks, Kristan. You made me smile, again.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
On Second Thought
After the unexpected death of her new husband, Nathan, Kate is unsure of her path. She's starts to question the idea of what it meant to be married to a man for only a few months, and to have actually only known him for less than a year, to now be his widow. She knows she loved Nathan, her heart tells her that, but how well did she know Nathan? And with his death it seems people are coming out of the woodwork reminding her that she knew him barely at all, but does that negate their relationship?
Then we have Kate's half sister Ainsley. She's been in a relationship with the same man for eleven years, and when she believes he's finally ready to propose, he pulls the rug out from under her and tells her to move out. Tells her that he's ready to "live life large" and tastelessly chronicles everything from their break up to his new-found dedication to find himself out in the wilds of Alaska.
Both women cut adrift from the plans they had made with their lives, they come together and become the rock for each other to lean on. Helping each other to heal enough to figure out that it's ok to move on and find love, even in the most unexpected ways.
Kristan Higgins continues the trend she started in If You Only Knew in that On Second Thought, obviously, revolves around two sisters. It also takes place in Cambry-on-Hudson, the same setting as the first book, and I loved that we got to revisit main couple Jenny and Leo and see how they're doing, and see how Leo's circumstances give a bit of perspective to Kate on her journey.
Now, with that said, I feel like One Second Thought really brought the sister relationship home a lot better than the previous book. I felt the initial disconnect between Ainsley and Kate. They never loathed one another, but they weren't as close as some sisters due to the fact that Ainsley is Kate's half sister and quite a bit younger than her (among other reasons I'll not delve into here). But I loved seeing their connection grow. I loved that Kate didn't shut Ainsley out, but instead welcomed her into her home with open arms. And I loved that Ainsley didn't pressure Kate to begin feeling one way or another after the death of her husband, she was just there for Kate in any and every way, which is exactly what was needed at the time.
The main relationship between Kate and Ainsley is truly what the story is about, the men that have come and gone in their lives are secondary in this story even though they are very prevalent as well, as they've shaped the lives that the women now find themselves living. And while I loved every scene with Kate and Ainsley together, I thought that Kristan Higgins did a great job of showing the women on their own as well. Trying to move forward, or just stay upright as the case may be.
I felt as though the topic of Kate's husband's death was handled very well. I have to applaud Kristan Higgins for making Nathan and Kate's relationship so sweet and strong in the little page time they were together. It makes you wish, as Kate does, that they had more time together because you could tell they'd be a couple to last. I think the book could have quickly spiraled into a maudlin sobfest, and while I'll admit there were plenty of tears to go around, I was happy that the book didn't get too dark in dealing with the death of the man Kate loved.
Ainsley, on the other hand, suffers a loss as well, not quite as tragic as Kate's of course, but breaking off an eleven year relationship is pretty major. But Ainsley's character is ever the optimist. She of course is saddened by what can be considered a betrayal by her long-term boyfriend, but she doesn't let it bring her down. It does make her question what she thought she wanted to do with her life though, and she begins to see things (and maybe a certain person) in a new light.
Overall, I really enjoyed On Second Thought. While I think the tone / direction of these two newest books from Kristan Higgins are a bit on the somber side, they are still enjoyable and still have the same wit and humor sprinkled throughout.
*ARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
A solid 3.75 stars
By Amazon customer
I love Kristan Higgins and have read every single one of her books. I'm enjoying her foray into women's fiction and am glad that she hasn't left her sense of humor behind. There's definitely a need for more humor in women's fiction to offset the weepy "sagas" we're often subjected to. Higgins is a master at combining humor with pathos, and her talent for that is on full display in On Second Thought.
This is a funny, touching read that gets better as it goes along. It starts out slowly, with long, blow-by-blow histories of the two main characters, who are half-sisters, from their childhood up to the present. Perhaps this history could have been folded into the narrative a little more instead of being a grand "telling" to fill the reader in; those chapters felt like a slog, and I started to worry that I wouldn't enjoy the book. But once the story returns to the sisters' present, things pick up. I finished the book quickly because I was eager to find out what happened.
And it turned out that the book didn't feel long enough to tell the complex stories of both sisters and their new romances. I ended up wanting more. The sisters' relationship was given a lovely amount of time, which was nice, but I also wished more time was spent on the men in their lives, their interactions with them, and the development of their relationships. Ainsley and Jonathan in particular are so mismatched that, while I'm all for "opposites attract," I wondered how they'd overcome the big differences in their personalities. Would they take the edge off one another? It would have been nice to see more of that, as well as more of Kate and Daniel together during the story instead of shunted to the epilogue.
Things I loved:
- Eric the self-absorbed douche, a character who was so much fun to hate
- Jonathan often being described as an alien observing humans (HILARIOUS)
- Gram-Gram competing with the other senior citizen women for the rare senior man to date
- Daniel the hot firefighter (more please!)...even though he always seemed to miraculously turn up whenever Kate needed him, despite the fact that he didn't live in the same town
Things I wasn't that thrilled about:
- Nathan's ex-wife, who seemed way too cartoon-villain-ish
- Not enough time spent on the girls' parents, who had quite a story of their own
- Kate's frenemy, who seemed to be a last-minute add-on or perhaps a remnant from a previous version of the story who got edited down too much; her motivations were never explained (jealousy?), and in the end didn't really need to be in the story at all
- Ainsley's sudden change of career at the end of the book
One last concern: It's *yet another* story about sisters. I know it's women's fiction's bread and butter, telling stories of women in one family, especially sisters, but this could end up being repetitive for Higgins. Her previous book focused on two very different sisters, just like Kate and Ainsley (from the same town, even!), now there's On Second Thought, and at the end of this book there's an excerpt from Higgins' next story, which is about...two very different sisters. I'll still read it, because it's KH, but... (Also, Higgins seems to be getting into "difficult, frosty mothers"--there are two in On Second Thought and another in her upcoming book). My guard is up, but I'll read it anyway, because...Kristan Higgins.
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