Review by Gabrielle

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“My hands stayed where they were, against the cool wood of the worktop, and I held my breath as he walked behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. My breath hitched as he buried his mouth into my neck and finally, I turned to face him, to press myself against his warm, firm body.”

I love a second chance romance story and this is a good one.

Some people are just made for each other…When seven-year-old Fran first met Will they knew instantly that they were made for each other. For eleven years they were inseparable, but then, at the age of eighteen, Will just upped and disappeared.

Twenty-five years later Will is back.

Is fate trying to give them a second chance?

Still nursing the heartbreak from all those years ago, Fran is reluctant to give Will the time of day. The price Will must pay is to tell the truth – the truth about why he left, the truth about why he’s back…

And Fran has her own secrets to hide. The time has come to decide what Fran and Will really want from life – before it’s too late.

Clare has crafted wonderful characters with a lot of depth. Both Fran and Will are wonderfully written. Readers really get to know each character, their backstories and what makes them tick. We also get great secondary characters in Fran’s son Kieran, her good friend Mags and Will’s daughter Elodie (so adorable!). 

It’s hard to talk too much about this book without giving anything important away. There are so many twists and turns in Fran and Will’s adventure and a lot of secrets are revealed along the way. Suffice it to say it is definitely an emotionally charged journey, probably more so than the book description prepared me for.

I liked how the book flipped from the present to the past when they were together the first time. It really helped fill in the backstory. Clare does a great job of building the reader’s suspense as you don’t get the whole story all at once. Clare really metres it out over the course of the book. A couple of parts did drag a bit, (I would have enjoyed it more if the pacing was picked up a bit in some areas), but overall I would say it keeps the reader intrigued. 

One of my favourite parts of the book is that Fran and Will find a list they made as teenagers called “25 Things To Do Before We’re Old” and decide to try checking off some they haven’t yet done. The list is made up of a wide variety of tasks from going on a hot air balloon ride to eating 12 doughnuts to going skinny-dipping. Reading about them tackling these tasks is a lot of fun and brings the book some much needed levity.

One word of caution, depending on your perspective, it could be said this book doesn’t have an HEA, or at least, not a typical one. I can’t say more without revealing important plot points but consider yourself warned!

Grab the tissue box and dig into this heartfelt story, great for readers looking for a good, cathartic cry.

Thank you, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.