Looking at this cover you might think you are about to begin reading a very light, maybe even silly, romance novel. Well, nope, you would be wrong.
I had not read Kristan Higgins before accepting this novel for review. My copy is a bound manuscript and has no pretty cover. Sometimes that is for the best. Certainly this time.
Emma London is living in Chicago and raising her sixteen-year-old daughter singlehandedly. Well, there is her maternal grandfather, Paul, who took her in all those years ago when she was kicked out of her other kingdom. It’s a long story, so let’s shorten it. What other kingdom? The one where her paternal grandmother, Genevieve London, ruled the roost. And Gigi decided Emma would have to fend for herself now that she had gotten herself pregnant.
Emma has worked hard. Taken the best care of her daughter, Riley. And now is a respected therapist with a solid education as her foundation. But suddenly everything changes on a dime. Genevieve calls after sixteen years. Wants to meet her granddaughter, and wants Emma to come”home.” Why? She’s dying of cancer…
Emma gives Riley the option: go spend the summer with her great grandmother, or not. So off they go with Paul tagging along. Paul is convinced it’s all some sort of sham and he’s totally not a fan of Gigi.
This novel is chocked full of unbridled hatred, grief, humor, pride, and hope. The story has tension. It’s even got a mystery at its core. It’s perfect for end of summer.
You want to hate Genevieve. Oh, I did for a while. Then you find she has good reason to be mean and stubborn and opinionated. But Riley sees through this and they become fast friends. The past has a way of biting us in the butt. A lot of butt- biting in this novel.
I almost forgot to tell you that Genevieve London became a very famous designer, of both fashion and home-goods. After her youngest son disappeared and her husband died of grief, she dragged herself from the pit of misery she was in and forced her energy into making a company into one of the largest and most successful in the world. So, there’s that.
With a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, this novel will get noticed. It’s not heavy, but it’s not light, either. It’s really well-written. I think the first half is stronger than the last. But these characters will resonate with you for a long time. I think Higgins is at the top of her writing game.
My review copy arrived from Berkley Publishing, a division of Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. Great for tossing in your beach bag. Just do it!