On Second Thought
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Following in the footsteps of her critically acclaimed novel If You Only Knew , multi-bestselling author Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters 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 for Eric to blind side her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half-sister, Kate, who’s already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.
Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan’s death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren’t the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.
Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.
I was so impressed with this book. Not because I haven’t always loved Kristan Higgins’ writing, but because On Second Thought felt so much more raw than her other novels. It still had that sassy humor and sparkling romantic element to it, but it also had heartbreak so deep and jarring. I wasn’t expecting it, but I loved it. (Here’s where I have to admit that I didn’t expect it because I didn’t read the blurb of this book before reading it. I just saw Kristan Higgins wrote it and was in.)
The characters in On Second Thought were spectacular. I loved ever single one of them — even the evil ones. I was especially impressed with the two main characters, Kate and Ainsley. Kate and Ainsley were sisters, but they weren’t close. When both of their lives implode, they find themselves leaning on each other for support. I empathized with both of them. I’ve never been through what Kate was going through, but I could understand her despair and confusion. I loved the frankness of her point of view. Her thoughts and feelings felt natural. Ainsley was very easy for me to identify with. The feelings of contentment with taking care of her loved ones and being pleasant with those around her really hit home with me.
One of my favorite characters in this book was evil Eric. Higgins couldn’t have made him more perfect. Everything he did made me want to smack him. I hated him, but I loved what his character brought to the story. Plus, his stupidity made me laugh.
The thing that made On Second Thought truly special was the journey Kristan Higgins took the reader on. I experienced heartbreak, grief, healing and the possibility of life after all of those things. The journey through all the emotions was beautifully crafted and well-timed. I loved every moment of this book.
On Second Thought is Kristan Higgins’ second foray into women’s fiction and exploring the bonds of sisterhood, but hopefully it won’t be her last. I loved this story so much, and I know other readers will as well.