(Women of Willow Bay #2)
Author: Nan Reinhardt
Length : 164 pages
Genres: Contemporary Romance
TBR Reviewer: Victoria
Rating: 4 Stars - Recommended Read
Heat: 3/5 - Blush Worthy
Now, summary: This book takes place a little over a year after the first book, made clear by the fact that Julie's husband (Charlie) was alive in book 1 and he's been dead for a year+ in book 2. Julie hasn't recovered from his death and in fact has gone to Chicago to try to heal by removing herself from all reminders of him. She chickens out and is about to leave to go back to Willow Bay when Will Brody stops by (she'd left the door to the apartment she was staying in open and he was concerned, since it belongs to the couple from book 1 - he's Liam's manager). There's an instant connection there, but not one Julie's willing to face quite yet.
It's not until she gets Charlie's computer up and running, accessing his old email account (she'd never used the laptop while Charlie was alive and Will got it going without realizing it would connect automatically to Charlie's email). That's when Julie discovers her beloved Charlie might not have been so faithful and she is devastated by the fact that there was "another woman" in her perfect Charlie's life.
This book is about healing, from beginning to end. Julie heals from Charlie's death, and later from the discovered betrayal after she actually tracks down the "other woman". That was an interesting little side trip and I definitely agree that it was necessary for purposes of the story. Julie and Will are fully developed, and I can only imagine how deep Julie's grief was over Charlie after having been married to him for 30+ years. Will helps her heal after a one-night "revenge" sex incident where Julie was trying to hurt Charlie's ghost so to speak (I kid you not - it works with the story, just trust me). It's not an instant process, and Julie's life continues on with the delivery of her first grandchild and then she's finally able to go home.
Will was a great man, strong and willing to be patient, waiting for Julie's misery to lift even though he knows he wants her. The sex was good and timed well for when it happened. For such a (relatively) short book, this was very well developed.
The only reason this isn't getting a five-star review is the (I felt) overdone incident right at the end with the women's shelter that Julie's become focused on as part of her self-healing and returning to life process. I just don't think the book needed the momentary stress/problem when it had so richly built the world and the love story between Will and Julie.
Kudos to Ms. Reinhardt for having her heroine be an older (50+) woman getting together with a younger (late 30's/early 40's) man. I really liked how that worked in this story!