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On Second Thought: A Novel Paperback – January 31, 2017
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"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 for On Second Thought
"[An] emotionally compelling story [and] perceptive study of love, marriage, sisterhood, and loyalty. A powerful, emotionally textured winner.?" -Kirkus Reviews on If You Only Knew
"The kind of book I enjoy the most-sparkling characters, fast-moving plot and laugh-out-loud dialogue. A winner!" -Susan Elizabeth Phillips on If You Only Knew
"Poignant, funny and richly entertaining." -NPR on If You Only Knew
"Higgins's ability to delve into the gut-wrenching, nitty-gritty of marriages going off the track is staggering. This nail-biting novel speaks to the heart of infidelity and the pain it causes, while proving no one is exempt from heartache." -New York Journal of Books on If You Only Knew
"This emotional journey of two sisters is filled with drama, laughter and tears and squeezes the heart. It should be on every bedside table in the country!" -Robyn Carr on If You Only Knew
"Oh, what a satisfying and delicious read! I admired the writing, the wit, the keen eye at work here. Thank you, Kristan Higgins." -Elinor Lipman on If You Only Knew
"Higgins' tender, heartfelt If You Only Knew bridges the gap between romance and women's fiction." -BookPage on If You Only Knew
"Hilarious... Kristan Higgins is spot on with her dialogue and characters. A fantastic story." -Fresh Fiction on If You Only Knew
About the Author
Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA TODAY bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The New York Journal of Books and Kirkus.
Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two atypically affectionate children, a neurotic rescue mutt and an occasionally friendly cat.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't let the first chapter or three get you down, it's a wonderful book.