I really, really struggled with the writing style on this one. A lot of my favorite books come from this publisher, so I didn’t hesitate to check out this new-to-me author, but the extremely internalized, clean, and subdued writing felt more like one of my grandma’s romance novels than something from 2020. That combined with a lackluster plot and a couple of frustrating elements have me dropping this rating lower than I normally go. There were parts of it that I liked, but they were far outweighed by the things I took issue with.
Essentially, the story is about Brooklyn and Bowie as they reconnect after 15 years of not seeing each other. When they were younger, Brooklyn dated Bowie’s best friend, so he spent years keeping quiet about the feelings he harbored for her. One night changed everything, ending with Brooklyn’s boyfriend dead and Bowie and Brooklyn’s relationship in tatters. Years have passed since they’ve seen each other, but there are still old feelings that linger… made all the more complicated by the fact that Brooklyn is now a single mother to a 14-year-old girl.
I did like the personalities of both Bowie and Brooklyn, as well as the small town charm of the book. We get to see their relationship both in present day and in flashbacks, which helps give a better sense of their feelings. There was definitely potential in the story, but unfortunately the execution was lacking. Have you already guessed the twist? So did I. Why can’t the characters? That alone dropped this a full star for me, because… really?
I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from this one; for a book that’s focused on romance, the romance was actually kinda lacking. It’s more like these two go from awkward, angry interactions to love, and the last 15 years never happened. I could go on, but I think you get the point. I appreciated receiving an ARC (and am voluntarily leaving a review), but this didn’t work for me.
From New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin comes a heartfelt story about overcoming great loss and forgiving past sins to find happiness again.
Brooklyn Hewett hasn’t stepped foot in Cape Harbor for fifteen years—not since an accident claimed the love of her life, Austin Woods. Desperate to move forward, Brooklyn has focused on raising her daughter for the past fourteen years. But when the opportunity comes along to renovate, and possibly buy, the old Driftwood Inn, Brooklyn knows it’s time to go home.
But it won’t be easy. For one, Austin’s best friend, Bowie Holmes, still lives in Cape Harbor. Brooklyn hasn’t quite been able to forget him: not since the night they spent together—the same night they both lost Austin. Separated by tragedy and guilt, they’re brought together by the Driftwood project. And as they rebuild the inn, they discover they’re also rebuilding something else.
Brooklyn’s always been desperate to move on, not knowing that she first needs to reconcile past transgressions. She can’t forget, but she can forgive—Austin, Bowie, and herself—on her way toward long-awaited happiness.
Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.
Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband, two daughters, and their three dogs.
In 2012, Heidi turned her passion for reading into a full-fledged literary career, writing over twenty novels, including the acclaimed Forever My Girl.
When writing isn’t occupying her time, you can find her sitting courtside at either of her daughters’ basketball games.
Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and opened in theaters on January 19, 2018.