Publication Date: 7/15/13
Source: Received from author for review
Nora Montgomery left home and heartbreak behind in South Carolina when she moved to New York City after her high school graduation. Now, four years later, she returns home and is forced to confront the past she left behind and the reckless boy who broke her heart. It’s not long before the pieces of her past begin to blur with the present and she realizes that the feelings she had for her first love never really went away. As old dreams resurface and new truths come to light, she begins to question the future she's always planned on.
Jake Harris has spent four years regretting the night he let her get away. When she finally reappears in his life, he is determined to win her back and prove how much he’s changed. She might never forgive him for that night, but if he tells her the truth about what really happened it will shatter the world she thought she knew. If he doesn’t, he might not get a second chance. He’s already lost her once and he won’t lose her again.
They come from two different worlds that are threatening to tear them apart…can they make it this time around?
This Time Around is a really sweet and thoughtful story about a second chance at love. Stories with this trope happen to be a favorite of mine, so when I got the chance to read an advance copy, I happily took it. I was not disappointed at all with the story, and am very impressed at debut author Ellie Grace.
This Time Around begins when Nora Montgomery returns home to South Carolina to help prepare for her best friend's wedding. Nora left home at eighteen to attend university in NYC, and this is her first time home in four years. The reason she never visited? On the day she and her longtime boyfriend Jake Harris were set to take the next step in their relationship, he vanished. Assuming that Jake decided to ditch her to go back to his old ways, Nora leaves with a broken heart. It is quickly apparent that she has never gotten over Jake, or the way he left her, and the question is, what will happen when the two finally see one another again?
I really appreciated that the author pushed Nora and Jake together immediately. There was no dancing or building angst around the impending meet up, we get to it fairly straight away. But not only that, but these two do not deny what they still feel for each other, and the questions surrounding their breakup are soon answered. A dual point-of-view that kept me "in the know" to both Jake and Nora's thoughts and motivations got me quickly on board with this love reconnection. Now, this does take away from a lot of the potential drama for the story, but that actually worked out great for me. I was in a mood for low angst and low drama and This Time Around was just that.
The hook of the book, other than just having the reconnection of Nora and Jake, was what happens now?
Jake has worked really hard over the past four years to make himself into a man worthy of Nora, and he has a great life in South Carolina. He was such a great guy and I love how he wants Nora's happiness more than his own. Jake was almost too self-sacrificing, and I just couldn't help but adore him for being so loving and thoughtful. I loved that he pulled no punches, is not angry, and was not afraid to be completely honest with Nora about how much he still cares for her.
I was a little worried that Nora would be a bit harsh and cruel with Jake's feelings, and would spend most of the story punishing him for what went wrong. Happily she was willing to listen, understand, and forgive. Nora has spent the past four years earning a bachelor's degree, and is set to start law school in NYC. Plus, there's Nora's parents, who want to see their only daughter with a man they deem worthy of her. And that's not Jake Harris. Essentially, even though this is the story of a second chance relationship, This Time Around is also Nora's story. Her battle to finally make her parents see how they've hurt her and Jake, and that Nora's life is hers to live. Ellie Grace did a such a nice job of making Nora into a strong woman who takes control of her life, and brave enough to make the choices that will make her --and Jake-- happy.
This Time Around was a very enjoyable read. I found it to be very well-written and with such a smooth flow that I flew right through it. The story had enough conflict to keep me interested throughout, but never veered into melodramatic or just simply trying too hard. Nora and Jake's story wraps up very, very nicely (YAY, no cliffhanger or continuation!), and made me a very happy reader. And, there's another story coming, Break Away, that centers around Nora's friend, and a former Marine. It goes without saying that this book is already on my to-read list.
In that moment I could feel all the walls that I'd built up around me over the last four years begin to crack and crumble. Everything about it just felt...right. For the first time since I left Beaufort I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. ~eARC, 19%
"When there are no feelings involved it's simple, but when you really care about someone, like I do for you, it's a total game changer. It means everything. That's uncharted territory for me and to be honest, it scares the shit out of me. I've never had to worry about what happens afterwards, but with you it's completely different. If you do what you've always done, then you'll get what you've always got...and I don't want just a one-time thing with you. I don't want to ever let you go." ~eARC, 40%
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