by Emily Belden
Release Date: December 30, 2019
Publisher: Harlequin – Graydon House Books
Number of pages: 319
Source: Net Galley
Read 12/17/19 to 12/22/19
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.
Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.
But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.
When reading a new-to-me author, I try not to look to see if they are seasoned or new. I don’t look at other reviews of the book I’m going to read or any of their other books. Therefore, I’m often not sure when reading a new-to-me author if they are actually new themselves. Depending how the reading goes, I’ll look that stuff up after I’ve finished the book. Unfortunately, I thought this was a brand-new author. While she’s not totally new, she only has a few books under her belt so there will be some leeway.
There is a lot in the positive column for this story. I love the concept of this story. I love Charlotte and most of the other characters in this book. For the most part, the flow of the story is pretty good. Yet, once in a while, I’d be taken out of the story by a reference I found dated. I know that in 10 or 20 years it won’t be anything that is noticed. But in the present, it was something that niggled at me. Why would you reference E.R. and not Grey’s Anatomy in 2019? It was just…off, for lack of a better word.
Charlotte is a very sympathetic character. The lengths she has gone to in order to “hide” her status of widow is on one hand sad yet sometimes manifests as funny. Not only did I feel for Charlotte, I was also rooting for her in many ways. From her job, to her decisions regarding the urn, to her tentative renewing of her friendship with Brian. Yet, when she was in the midst of her out of control spiral, I found myself skimming the pages. While I found Charlotte’s process and frame of mind very important to how the story was playing out, it was just a bit much…a bit too detailed.
I had high hopes for Brian and Charlotte. I can at the very least say the story is not predictable. There are a few turns that took me by surprise and I’m truly still not sure how I feel about these turns. There were things kept from Charlotte by more than one person and I wasn’t sure who to trust and who to forgive. In some ways this was a good thing. It’s not fun reading a book that is completely predictable. But at the same time I have a hard time, after finishing, knowing how I really feel about the story as a whole.
There is definite potential here and I will try another of this author’s books in the future. And let’s remember, a review is an opinion. There are some who will not have problems with the things that I got hung up on. Since this is a great story all in all, I would still recommend this book to others.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**