When Avery Beckett is proposed to by Jude Masters, a widowed father and the man she loves, it should be a time of great joy. Instead, Avery is on edge. She’s wary of the idea of family, doubtful of happy endings, and too afraid to take the leap. It’s the kind of fear that comes from having secrets.
Before Avery commits to a new life, she must reconcile with the one she left behind.
When Avery returns to her childhood farm in the North Carolina mountains, she’s surprised to be saddled with a companion: Jude’s teenage daughter, Elle, who’s grappling with the loss of her mother and the complicated emotions of first love. On a path of mending wounds and breaking down walls, Avery and Elle form an unexpected alliance. It’s giving them the courage to move forward. And for Avery, everything she needs to confront the past.
An emotional tale of mothers and daughters, loss and acceptance, When We Let Go is about the lessons that come from heartbreak and the healing it takes to embrace the joy of a second chance.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
Thank you to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
When We Let Go is about loss, guilt, forgiveness, and relationships, specifically mother-daughter type relationships. Sometimes you’re in the mood for a book that promises a good cry, which was why I requested this book, and it delivered. The book covers a lot of heavy subjects, but does so in a thorough way, allowing us to grow with the characters in our perception of those topics.
Avery has moved to Miami to distanced herself from the loss of her daughter, the betrayal of her sister, and the home that only seems to remind her of everything she has lost. Hoping for a fresh start, she keeps her grief and the guilt she feels over it to herself, not sharing that part of her with her boyfriend. However, buried emotions that strong don’t stay buried forever. When her boyfriend, Jude, a widowed father of three, proposes, those buried emotions and the secrets she’s kept from him prevent her from answering. Then with two phone calls, one from Jude’s teen daughter, Elle, admitting something she did that landed her brothers in the hospital, and another from Avery’s estranged sister, Willow, telling her that their father fell and is in the hospital, Avery finds herself with an ex-boyfriend and a 10 hour road trip home to North Carolina in front of her.
Elle lost her mom only a few long years ago and is still struggling with her grief. She acts out in ways that perplex and anger her father and cause her grandparents to talk about her not quite out of ear-shot. She’s known nothing but upheaval, and with her dad’s and Avery’s breakup, the scare from her latest screw-up that landed her little brothers in the hospital, Elle sneaks out, goes on a bender and then crashes in Avery’s car, only to wake up four hours from home when Avery leaves the next morning for North Carolina.
The next few weeks are nothing but trials, tests, arguments, and emotions as Avery and Elle navigate their fledgling relationship, a girl who longs for her mother and a mother who longs for her child. But as time goes by, they begin to heal one another, help one another deal with their grief and the guilt that accompanies it, and explore the possibility of a future.
There were so many times I wanted to smack Elle for her antics, but Avery’s unique perspective allowed her to see past the problem-child to the sad and grieving child beneath. I truly enjoyed watching the relationship between Avery and Elle, and Willow, too, the three of them forming a tribe of women that can rely on one another. It was beautifully executed.
I’ve never read anything by this author before, so I’m not sure if the writing style was a result of this being an uncorrected copy in need of polishing or not, but at times the writing felt a bit choppy and lacked finesse. Going into this sort of book, chick-lit as it is called (and who came up with that genre name, anyway?), I expected the writing to be a bit softer than the hard edges of the lines of this book. That strikes me as being a product of this author’s style. I wouldn’t say that it was bad writing, that’s not what I’m getting at at all. I’m just saying don’t go into this expecting flowery language. Side note, there are lots of flowers, though, LOL. Anyway, this struck me as a pull-no-punches style, kind of like Colleen Hoover, but the content was much more Marisa de los Santos.
My only real gripe with the book is the final scene at Willow’s wedding in the Spring. I know that this was an attempt at a HEA for the readers, but the HEA had already happened and this scene felt trite and silly in comparison. And given the heavy emotions they were all dealing with, particularly the kids, it felt wrong. I won’t say more because I don’t want to give it away, but if you read this, I hope you’ll let me know what you think of this final scene.
Those things aside, this was a wonderful book about relationships, healing from grief, family, and second chances, and I was totally getting Marisa de los Santos vibes. If you enjoy books that focus on the intricacies of relationships and how they evolve, I think you’ll enjoy this book.
This title is due to release on May 17, 2022.
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