Monday, May 17, 2021

If for Any Reason by Courtney Walsh


If for Any Reason by Courney Walsh

This is book one in the Nantucket Love Story series.

I am a Courtney Walsh fan. Love her writing style—profound insights without preaching plus great storytelling.

Let’s begin with the summary:

Emily Ackerman has traveled the world, her constant compass and companion a book of letters her mother left for her when she died. With no father in the picture, her mom’s advice has been her only true north. But when professional failure leads Emily back to Nantucket to renovate and sell the family cottage she inherited, she wonders if her mom left advice to cover this . . . especially when her grandmother arrives to “supervise.” And especially when her heart becomes entangled with Hollis McGuire, the boy next door–turned–baseball star who’s back on the island after a career-ending injury.

As sparks fly between her and Hollis, Emily is drawn to island life, even as she uncovers shocking secrets about the tragic accident that led to her mother’s death. With her world turned upside down, Emily must choose between allowing the voices from her past to guide her future or forging her own path forward.

And now, my review:

Our heroine grew up without her father, which has left a void in her life and a determination that any man who would abandon or avoid his family isn’t trustworthy. She hasn’t taken into account reasons a man might do that. This was a great conflict between the characters. Loved this tension as it unfolded, and I enjoyed the fatherhood theme throughout.

This is a reunion romance, which is one of my favorites. I saw some of the vignettes Courtney describes as movie scenes; they were so well written. Here’s an example from page 32:

As he strode toward them, Emily felt her shoulders straighten. It was almost as if he were moving in slow motion, as if her past were unraveling right in front of her. Her heart quickened. She hadn’t counted on this—on him.

The vision unspools in your mind, doesn’t it?

Security is another theme. The heroine protects herself with guards and always leaves herself an out. I think this will be relatable to readers who’ve ever felt unsure while visiting their hometown and facing down their pasts, especially those whose pasts are messy. Emily’s past is messy. She doesn’t feel she belongs—another relatable theme for readers.

Oh, the chemistry between these characters. I highlighted several places where Courtney paired their history and their conversational game that builds intimacy with their chemistry. These two will only let the other person in, even while Emily keeps Hollis at arm’s length. A great romantic tension, believable. Well crafted.

Our heroine is an actress, which was a fun career. She manifested the talent from childhood. I loved this aspect of her life. She’d been a child star, someone our hero could grow up crushing on. Yummy, right?

Though she has passed, Emily’s mother offers advice to her through letters. This was an interesting element as well. We tend to elevate the words of those who've passed, don't we? I don't blame her. This ingredient was well handled.

There are family secrets to discover in this well-woven novel. For all those reasons and more, I loved this book.

Highly recommended.

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