On her 40th birthday, a woman uncovers long-buried family secrets connected to the night she got pregnant—and gets a chance to make things right.
It’s not a happy birthday for Harlow, and the tragedies are piled on like icing on a layer cake. Her mother, Vivian Ausby, is on her deathbed. Her ex-husband, Patrick McDade, is the sole benefactor of her mother’s will. Her estranged best friend, Savannah “Van” Pratt, is also in the hospital—and dying of cancer. But a chance reunion with her first love, Jade Ryan, brings up old memories and ignites new feelings. Told in five parts, the story begins in Vivian’s hospital room and flashes back to the night that changed the course of Harlow’s life. At the time, Harlow was a shy 20-year-old with a disapproving mother and an ugly birthmark on her left leg; she didn’t fit in with the upper crust of South of Broad, an exclusive neighborhood in Charleston, South Carolina. If not for her mother’s frosty relationship with Jade’s family, Harlow would have happily chosen easygoing Jade over stuck-up, entitled Patrick. But 20 years later, Harlow is once again single and still pining for the life she should’ve had. It’s easy to see why she’s held a torch for Jade all these years: Now a doting father, Jade even got a tattoo to match his daughter’s unusual birthmark. His relationship with Harlow is as sweet as it is steamy. But Harlow doesn’t know whether he’ll take her back after all this time. Though Van betrayed Harlow years ago, her sassy Southern humor—“A fat ass is the best punishment, and hers busts out like a can of warm biscuits”—makes her easy to forgive. The key to Harlow’s happiness, then, is standing up to her mother and Patrick. But Vivian’s nurse, Beth, has a secret that could overturn everything Harlow thought she knew about her family. The final pages include an excerpt of Rae’s debut, The Achilles Heel (2014).
The plot twists are genuinely surprising, and the complicated relationships give this page-turner a touch of humor and a ton of drama.