Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.
Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game―and his heart―to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.
Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.
I buzzed through this book. It was extremely easy to read and such a great story that I couldn’t put this book down. I love that this story is told both in Annika and Jonathan’s perspectives. The story jumps back and forth from the present (2001) and the past (1991/1992) with us along on the journey of both Annika and Jonathan rekindling a lost relationship.
Annika is quirky. She has a huge fear of social situations and finds it hard to find friends and people to understand who she is. She doesn’t easily trust people as she has been burned before and doesn’t want to get hurt again. Yet, here is Jonathan to bring out the best in Annika and show her that not all are bad. Jonathan is sweet, kind, and so understanding. He encourages her to do things that she normally wouldn’t do and thought she shows some hesitation she does them anyway with him and doesn’t look back. He is so good for her. He balances things out for Annika as well as she does the same for him.
I fell in love with the story from the beginning, though I went through a TERRIBLE reading slump that took me forever to get out of. In part, I think this was because of the fact that I had an idea of what the ending was going to be. I knew by the time that this took place what was to come and I was extremely anxious myself about how it would end. Thought I was half right about the ending and I did enjoy how it ended, it seemed rushed and I found myself wanting to know what happens after. Do they just live happily ever after?
These are two very well written characters. They were very well developed making it easy for me to fall in love with both of them. They are both very likable, real and authentic characters. This was most certainly a page turner and I didn’t want to put this down for a second. There were a few parts of the story that felt disjointed and unrealistic, but I found it easy to overlook them as I truly enjoy this heart-warming story.
Overall, this was an enjoyable, light read with likable characters and a compelling romance. I give this a high ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ½ stars!
Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for sending me a copy of this book and Vilma Iris for hosting the huge giveaway with St. Martin’s Press that gave me a chance to with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
About the Author:
Tracey Garvis Graves is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of contemporary fiction. Her debut novel, On the Island, spent 9 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, has been translated into thirty-one languages, and is in development with MGM and Temple Hill Productions for a feature film. She is also the author of Uncharted, Covet, Every Time I Think of You, Cherish, Heart-Shaped Hack, White-Hot Hack, and The Girl He Used to Know. She is hard at work on her next book.