A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BEACH READ

Two struggling authors spend the summer writing and falling in love in a quaint beach town.

January Andrews has just arrived in the small town of North Bear Shores with some serious baggage. Her father has been dead for a year, but she still hasn’t come to terms with what she found out at his funeral—he had been cheating on her mother for years. January plans to spend the summer cleaning out and selling the house her father and “That Woman” lived in together. But she’s also a down-on-her-luck author facing writer’s block, and she no longer believes in the happily-ever-after she’s made the benchmark of her work. Her steadily dwindling bank account, though, is a daily reminder that she must sell her next book, and fast. Serendipitously, she discovers that her new next-door neighbor is Augustus Everett, the darling of the literary fiction set and her former college rival/crush. Gus also happens to be struggling with his next book (and some serious trauma that unfolds throughout the novel). Though the two get off to a rocky start, they soon make a bet: Gus will try to write a romance novel, and January will attempt “bleak literary fiction.” They spend the summer teaching each other the art of their own genres—January takes Gus on a romantic outing to the local carnival; Gus takes January to the burned-down remains of a former cult—and they both process their own grief, loss, and trauma through this experiment. There are more than enough steamy scenes to sustain the slow-burn romance, and smart commentary on the placement and purpose of “women’s fiction” joins with crucial conversations about mental health to add multiple intriguing layers to the plot.

A heartfelt look at taking second chances, in life and in love.

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0673-4

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Jove/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Balancing emotion, humor, and a redemptive theme, Higgins hits all the right notes with precision, perception, and panache.

NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT

Years after escaping her tiny Maine community and completely reinventing herself, Nora Stuart is coming home to heal from an accident, determined to forge new connections, especially with her distant mother and angry niece.

Nora grew up on a tiny Maine island and suffered her father’s abandonment, becoming an overweight, miserable adolescent, scorned by classmates and, even more devastating, by her beautiful younger sister. But when she wins a coveted scholarship, she transforms her life, shedding the weight and gaining a medical degree. She settles into an exciting life in Boston until tragedy strikes and a shaken Nora is surviving but not thriving. After she’s hit by a van, she decides to go back home to Maine to heal—both physically and psychologically—knowing it won’t be easy, since her relationship with the island and many of its residents is, well, complicated. This includes Luke Fletcher, her biggest rival for the scholarship and the island's favored son. It also includes her mother—an almost comically laconic Mainer who can barely muster a conversation with Nora but coos at her pet bird and offers “hug therapy” to wounded souls—and her niece, Poe, daughter of the aforementioned sister, who is now serving time. One friend and ally, however, is Luke’s twin, Sullivan, whose daughter, Audrey, has weight issues Nora can relate to. Nora steps in to help at the community clinic, tries to break through her mother’s prickly exterior, helps Poe and Audrey find common ground, and makes new friendships while tightening some old ones, but old and new resentments rise to the surface, too. Nora has lots to unpack and sift through, but figuring out who she is and wants to be is a powerful, entertaining journey.

Balancing emotion, humor, and a redemptive theme, Higgins hits all the right notes with precision, perception, and panache.

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-488-02926-4

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Harlequin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

An irresistible romance.

THE DECOY GIRLFRIEND

A struggling author agrees to swap places with her celebrity look-alike—and starts falling for her doppelgänger's co-star in the process.

Freya Lal is facing the biggest struggle of her professional life—how on Earth is she going to write a follow-up to her successful debut novel, with the deadline for her first draft looming in a matter of weeks, when she's lacking any inspiration? Rather than continue to fret, she decides to retreat into a newer pastime: dolling herself up and pretending to be the actress Mandi Roy. The two of them look enough alike that people always assume Freya is Mandi, meaning she's been scoring benefits all over town. Unfortunately, one scheme hits the tabloids, and Mandi figures out what's going on, but rather than out Freya immediately, she decides to offer the author a different kind of deal: She wants Freya to keep the impersonation going for the next four weeks so Mandi can enjoy some much-needed R&R. That said, Freya will also have to maintain the fauxmance that Mandi's had with her co-star Taft Bamber for the last several years. While Mandi and Taft have always kept things platonic behind the scenes, using their staged relationship to benefit their star power, Freya doesn't want to pretend Taft is her boyfriend because her feelings for him start to become very, very real. To make matters more complicated, Taft is pretty sure he's falling for Freya, too, and when the two have to move in together in order to sell their decoy dynamic, it turns out they like playing house and all that it entails. The closer they get to the end of their four-week relationship, the harder it becomes to act as though their connection hasn't been real from the beginning. This is a perfectly engaging, flirty rom-com staged around a couple that any reader will be able to fall for.

An irresistible romance.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42202-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more