With angst so heavy that it’s physically painful, this second chance romance is not an easy read – but it’s certainly an impactful one. I loved it. It’s very rare that I’m so engrossed in a book that I ache right along with the characters; that I cry when a broken hero utters a single sentence. But that’s exactly what happened with this one. The more I read, the more I was caught up in the story. And the more I hurt for this (former) couple. There is so much love between them that it jumps off the page, and I was anxious and impatient for them to find their way back together. Alternating between past and present, Henry masterfully weaves the story of this couple – punctuating the angst with callbacks that make an impact. I was entirely consumed with the story, and I couldn’t devour it fast enough.
The story follows Harriet, a woman who is joining her oldest friends on a vacation. Harriet knows that the trip is going to be an awkward one, because she still hasn’t worked up the courage to tell her friends that her fiancé ended their relationship months ago. So the last person Harriet expects to see when she arrives is Wyn, former college sweetheart and the man who still holds her heart. Turns out, the trip is more important to their friends than Harriet realized, and there’s no way that she can break the news now. Forced to play the role of happy couple, Harriet and Wyn face each other for the first time since their breakup… and they’re not sure what to think. Though Harriet and Wyn once felt like they knew everything about each other, it’s clear that some things have been left unsaid between them.
Harriet’s reality feels so bleak and desolate that she literally needs to go to her mental happy place to escape it – the moments where she’s felt loved and at peace. Many of which were spent with Wyn. Shifting between past and present, we see the moments where their relationship shone brightest, juxtaposed with the overwhelming weight of their current situation. So it’s light, banter-filled, and brimming with chemistry one moment and exceedingly angsty the next. It’s designed for maximum emotional impact, and it does the job well. There is SO MUCH tension between these two, so many things that they’ve failed to share with each other. We only get Harriet’s perspective, so I analyzed every interaction with Wyn to see the missing pieces to the puzzle. There’s definitely some miscommunication between them, and finding their way back together is anything but easy. I became more invested in the relationship with every page, and the excruciatingly slow burn was nothing short of torturous. So it’s definitely not an easy breezy vacation read, and there’s so much bubbling between the surface. I binged it in one sitting, and it’s easily my favorite from Henry so far.
The audio is phenomenal! Told exclusively from Harriet’s POV, we get Julia Whelan narrating every moment. Normally I prefer duet or dual narration, but Whelan is in a class of her own, and she gives such an emotive performance. Her voice was perfect for this angsty, heart-wrenching story, and the audio elevates the writing even more. The runtime is around 11 hours, so doable for a single day if you’re engaged like me. The love story is very much a slow burn, but there are moments of heat before that. Definitely not the focus of the book though, so this does make a good workday listen… if you’re willing to cry at the office, lol. I teared up multiple times, and I was clutching my chest for a decent amount of the back half. I absolutely recommend the format though, which takes this excellent book to another level.
Find it on Libro.fm here
A couple who broke up months ago pretend to still be together for their annual weeklong vacation with their best friends in this glittering and wise new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Henry.
Harriet and Wyn have been the perfect couple since they met in college—they go together like salt and pepper, honey and tea, lobster and rolls. Except, now—for reasons they’re still not discussing—they don’t.
They broke up five months ago. And still haven’t told their best friends.
Which is how they find themselves sharing a bedroom at the Maine cottage that has been their friend group’s yearly getaway for the last decade. Their annual respite from the world, where for one vibrant, blissful week they leave behind their daily lives; have copious amounts of cheese, wine, and seafood; and soak up the salty coastal air with the people who understand them most.
Only this year, Harriet and Wyn are lying through their teeth while trying not to notice how desperately they still want each other. Because the cottage is for sale and this is the last week they’ll all have together in this place. They can’t stand to break their friends’ hearts, and so they’ll play their parts. Harriet will be the driven surgical resident who never starts a fight, and Wyn will be the laid-back charmer who never lets the cracks show. It’s a flawless plan (if you look at it from a great distance and through a pair of sunscreen-smeared sunglasses). After years of being in love, how hard can it be to fake it for one week…in front of those who know you best?
About the Author:
Emily Henry is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Book Lovers, People We Meet on Vacation, Beach Read, and the forthcoming Happy Place. She studied creative writing at Hope College, and now spends most of her time in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the part of Kentucky just beneath it. Find her on Instagram @EmilyHenryWrites.
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Love your review. I’m looking forward to reading this one.
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Thank you – hope you enjoy it!