Genres: Contemporary Romance
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.
*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
“I wonder if she remembers how it felt to be in love with me? I haven’t forgotten what it felt like to be in love with her.”
A beautiful, poignant, second chance romance that tugs on the heart strings. But it’s so much more than just a romance book. The book takes place in both the past, when Jonathon and Annika first meet in 1991 and start dating, and the present in 2001 when they meet once again ten years later. The story moves fluently which is so hard to do when such a large gap of time happens from chapter to chapter. Annika is very much the star of the book and I enjoyed every chapter coming from her POV. She is a character who doesn’t really have a filter and just tells everyone what’s on her mind. Annika’s lack of social skills sounds like Aspergers as she has an inability to infer the thoughts, feelings, or emotions of others. As the story moves from past to present, you see how much she grows and changes. It was so amazing to read her POV and I was so engrossed reading from Annika’s eyes.
When it came to Jonathon though, I wasn’t as crazy about him. It is understandable that being with someone who struggles with social skills can be hard, but sometimes, he felt, I don’t know, just not nice? That’s the best way to say it. He’s not exactly mean, but you can feel his frustration even though you can also tell him he loved her in spite of her differences. But there were times that what he thought and said, rubbed me the wrong way and just a bit too selfish for my tastes.
I will say that the reason behind their break up crushed me. My heart hurt for Annika so much and those last few chapters destroyed me. I finished this book a while ago and could not write this review because those last few chapters gave me the chills. I would say to anyone to pick this up and prepare for an emotional rollercoaster those last few chapters and prepare to love Annika. Such a great book from an amazing author.