Nora hasn’t looked back. Not since she left home, and her broken heart, far behind her. But now tragedy calls her back, where she must finally come face to face with ex-boyfriend Charlie, and best friend Sophie. Only now will she be able to confront her past―and reconcile her future.
Sophie seems to have everything. Married to Charlie, with a wonderful daughter and a successful career. Yet underneath that perfection lies an explosive secret. A secret that ripped through their town and destroyed her friendship with Nora. So when Sophie finds out that Nora has returned, she hopes Nora’s stay is short. The life she has built depends on it.
But first love doesn’t fade easily. Memories come to light, passion ignites and old feelings resurface. As the forces that once tore them apart begin to re-emerge, both Nora and Sophie must accept that true love is something worth fighting for.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Homophobia/Homophobic Slurs, PTSD, abusive/gas-lighting situations
3.5/5, rounded down to 3 for reasons explained below.
This was such a cute idea, but it definitely turned out to be a bit darker than expected! Not in a bad way, the drama was on a level with soap operas but it was definitely entertaining because of that!
I liked Lenhardt’s writing style a lot, it made it really quick and easy to read, you just got sucked in. Even when I wanted to put it down, I couldn’t, and ended up reading it in one sitting!
Nora was a favorite character of mine, and I loved her story and Sophie’s too though Sophie’s was a lot darker and I had a harder time finding empathy for her, but I can see she had her reasons for her choices.
Nora suffers from mild PTSD from her Military service, but I do think she had some PTSD from the stuff that happened to her in Lynchfield, her hometown, she went through so much as a teenager and Sophie as well, who grew up in her own toxic household, her mother not only homophobic but manipulative and controlling.
While I really enjoyed reading this, I have to point out, this was not a healthy relationship, Nora and Sophie were once first loves and sweet and healthy together but their past morphed this. In my opinion, it would have been impossible for them to have a healthy relationship without some serious therapy. The toxicity of them together is one of the main reasons I didn’t rate this higher, it’s fiction, not real, but I wanted more and better for both of them!
And the last reason I rated this 3.5 instead of higher is that I felt this could possibly be a harmful/triggering read for those in the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s set in a small Southern Texas town and the homophobia was RAMPANT. There was no safe space and while that is understandable to an extent given the setting, I just feel that it could be triggering for those reading it. [There is one point where Sophie’s daughter call’s Nora a dyke and I thought it was completely unacceptable, I don’t care how upset you are, and how crazy your family situation is, that’s just not okay, and I felt it was a weak use of it to heighten drama in the book]
I think it may have been a much better story if it had been an OwnVoices writer but I did find it intriguing and definitely entertaining. I just had to think of it more as a drama/soap opera, it certainly felt more that way as Charlie’s character emerged to be not only a womanizer but ridiculously over the top ‘evil’ at the end of it all. He seemed to be an okay character but suddenly he was just a villain.
Again, it was addicting in its own right, I liked the writing style, and the premise was sweet enough, and of course, I do love a happy ending, I can tell you that much without spoilers, but, there were some issues that I would be concerned with in recommending this to others.
Thank you so much to Mills&Boon for an ARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion.
[This is a super late review for my timezone but I wanted to post it today anyway!]