Monday, November 7, 2016

ARC- On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

Ellen Plumb's is lucky to receive advanced reader copies (ARC) of books yet to be put on the shelf. This allows us to get feedback on the books from readers in our community. 

Review of Kristan Higgins’ On Second Thought

Frances Mihulec

This review references an advanced uncorrected proof. The book will be available for purchase on January 31, 2017.

Recommended for: Fans of modern romance and women’s contemporary fiction

In On Second Thought, Higgins introduces readers to two half-sisters, Ainsley O’Leary and Kat O’Leary Coburn. Kat is a recent widow, reeling from a painfully short marriage. Ainsley was publicly and humiliatingly dumped on her boyfriend Eric’s cancer survival blog that went viral. Through both sisters’ eyes, they begin to see through their own familial issues, insecurities, and learn to see the world more as it is, rather than how they wish it would be.

I found the characters and their situations to be fully engaging; the realism is grounding more than it is unreasonably depressing. You feel for the characters, but there is enough happiness to be found especially as the story progresses that it is not a literary wallow into the depths of sorrow. I adored that this was a story about women and sisters first. The romantic aspects were part of their lives, but not their whole lives. Even as both sisters find ways to fall in love again, they aren’t obsessed over their new loves and there’s not an unrealistic rush for happy ever after in another person. These strong women find their joy in themselves, what they do, and who they are before the men in their lives - an important aspect of being a woman that deserves to be explored in fiction.

Overall, I found this to be an easy read with modern references that made the setting relatable and immersive. The descriptions of various parts of New York City from Brooklyn to Cambray-on-Hudson, as well as the characters who live in both locales, gave even an outsider a chance to understand what societal or cultural pressures affected motives, both good and bad, throughout the story. The humor as well as the heartbreak that shines through Ainsley’s and Kate’s distinctive voices is beautiful. Higgins does a fantastic job of fully fleshing out her characters and if you’ve not read her before, I think On Second Thought would be a wonderful place to start.

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