Her heart can’t be destroyed by the same person twice. At least that’s what Clara Abbot finds herself hoping when she runs into Boone Cavanaugh less than an hour after returning to Charleston.
As kids, Clara and Boone had been each other’s firsts, and no one or nothing could stand in the way of their forever. But all kids have to grow up sometime. The troubled son of the town drunk winding up with the firstborn daughter of the local royalty was a happy ending even the most imaginative of fairy tales couldn’t make believable.
Their fable came to an end as most do: tragically. Boone might have done the leaving, but it was Clara who got away and made a new life for herself in California. But after seven years of dodging her hometown, she’s only back in Charleston for seven days to celebrate her sister’s wedding. She won’t let her overbearing family or her run-in with Boone rattle her—though rattling her is obviously Boone’s primary objective.
Boone is her past and her past is behind her, a mere speck in the rearview. So why does she feel it coming back every time she looks at him? Why does she see it every time he looks back?
Just when Clara’s life can’t possibly get more complicated, the ground shifts, and she discovers just how far her family was willing to go to keep the wrong boy out of her life. Was it really Boone who left her? Or was it Clara who left him?
The truth will be hard to face. Especially when she discovers most of her life has been built on lies.
When I first learned Nicole Williams was writing a new book I was intrigued, but after learning it was second chance romance set in my favorite U.S. city, it quickly escalated to, “Must have this book now or I could die type of excitement!” I definitely went into this book with above average expectations. Even so, I was not prepared for how much Clara and Boone’s story captured my attention and complete adoration.
“It doesn’t seem to matter how far away I go or how many years go by. I’m starting to accept that there will always be some part of me that is going to hold on to some part of you.”
I often have a love/hate relationship with second chance romance. While I enjoy the trope, I tend to prefer the storylines that focus on present day events rather than the past. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than already knowing a love story has a sad ending and a couple will be torn apart. Thankfully, this story is in the present tense, and the past events are learned slowly throughout the book. It is more of a going forward with life but glancing back at past events. There is never an overwhelming feeling of sadness or that Clara and Boone couldn’t reconcile the events that ultimately tore them apart. It’s more bittersweet with a hope for what can happen now more than a retreading of lost love.
“It’ll always bear the scars, but at least it’s whole again.”
This story is definitely a slower burn. I often wondered if these two were ever going to find forgiveness and move forward even if only as friends. Despite so many intense moments, Boone and Clara have intense chemistry and seamless banter all rolled into one unique relationship. The humor is perfectly balanced with the angst. I would bite my nails one moment only to be giggling the next. Clara’s family is quite interesting, and I found her to be far more forgiving than most people would have been under the circumstances. The way Boone stands up for Clara with her family only solidified my intense love for this couple. It felt as if they could conquer the world together.
“Sometimes the people we’re supposed to love are the hardest ones to.”
If you are looking for a story that will consume your heart and soul, I cannot recommend this book enough. There is a complete ending, but I would be elated if there is more of Boone and Clara in the future.
I’m a wife, a mom, a writer. I started writing because I loved it and I’m still writing because I love it. I write romance because I still believe in true love, kindred spirits, and happy endings.