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On Second Thought: A Novel Paperback – January 31, 2017
"Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress"
Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? Cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, and instead, follow the data: In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise. Learn more
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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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On Second Thought is a standalone, women's fiction novel written by the fabulous Kristan Higgins. In my opinion, this would be an ideal read after experiencing the perfection that is If You Only Knew – at least this is the order I followed due to publication dates and the fact that we get a few cameos from the former's MC's. Yay!!! But other than that, On Second Thought stands on it's own and it's just as good (well a close second place at least). It features alternating POV's from two half-sisters who are both facing individual heartbreaks. Their grief is real! ...and one thing I loved about these parallel portrayals is that Ms. Higgins shows that loss is loss whether the person you're mourning is still alive or gone. The grief, confusion, and anger (and all the underlying stuff) are the same and all are valid.
Similar in style to If You Only Knew, Ms. Higgins takes these heavy emotions and incorporates hilarity, family issues, romance, a villainous “other woman”, and another mysterious hero. This familiar setup is in no way repetitive or distracting, but again shows that Ms. Higgins wins at her storytelling capabilities. It's got laugh-out-loud scenes, a memorable man-hungry grandma, an eye-rolling narcissistic ex, some super sweet moments, sexy times, and soul-splitting heartbreak. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars, right? Check it out.
My favorite quote:
"Sometimes, a smile was the bravest act of all."
"The dynamic didn’t change when we became adults. Kate lived in Brooklyn. She was cool, and I was not. She was thin and elegant, and I was round and cute. She was a successful photographer (and a great one, really, her pictures were stunning); I was excellent at unjamming the printer. "
On Second Thought has all of the Kristan Higgins hallmarks I have come to expect and love: Situational humor, witty dialogue, poignant moments, lovable heroines, intriguing heroes, well-rounded secondary characters to love and hate, and dog. I also am a fan of her late divergence into more chick-lit and away from traditional romance for romance sake. However, here are some reasons I didn’t love it as much as some of her previous novels:
1) Although Kate did realize that Nathan really did love her, (after all, if he only married her to have the children his ex-wife denied him, why did he pick someone who was 39 years old?), I wish this had been signed sealed and delivered in Nathan’s own words (a lost email found, for example). Maybe a friend he confided in could have come to light. It was very disappointing that he wasn’t the totally devoted husband Kate thought he was. That he really was too good to be true. I wish he had been a little redeemed at the end. But I guess the way Kristan left it, was more true to life.
2) I wish the hysteric ex-wife had gotten her comeuppance and been rejected by the family.
3) I was sad that she was never fully reconciled to the family after they found out she was pregnant by another man. That they never knew the truth about where Kate was coming from.
4) I didn’t like the was she was so sexually attracted to Daniel even when she was in full mourning and shock from Nathan’s death. Also not a fan of the male love interest being younger than the woman. Sorry that’s just me.
5) Daniel was a great guy, but I just didn’t buy the relationship. It was not very interesting. He was too good to be true. (like Nathan!)
I see all of my quibbles are with Kate’s story. I did love Ainsley’s romance. I loved her response when the horrible Eric came crawling back. Not even a second of wavering. Very reminiscent of one of my favorites: Callie and Ian from All I Ever wanted. Ainsley is a typical Kristan heroine: overly people pleasing as compensation. But with Ainsley the basis for her overly nice and generous nature has a firm basis in her childhood. One of the best aspects of Kristan’s books is the full development of most, if not all of her secondary characters. In this one, my favorite is Kate's mother-in-law. We think she is one kind of person, but she is so much deeper that we see at first.
I really loved this book. It's just not a 5 star for me. any other author, it would have been a 5 star book. I just hold Kristan Higgins to a higher standard. It is amazing the freshness that she can bring with the same basic elements that she includes in most all of her novels.