What a sad book! I thought it would start in a breakup and work its way into a second chance romance, but this book was a tragedy all along. The heroine truly cried a river of tears! Instead of a second chance romance, I think this book should be classifies as a third or fourth second chance romance. I was feeling pity for the poor guy because I thought he would never get a break LOL.
Cole and Frankie were friends since they were eleven years old, later became sweethearts and later lovers. Frances (called Franny by her family, Frankie by Cole) was studying law, and had plans to come back for Cole so they could leave their itty bitty town and have a great life. Until one day she took her finals early and came back home to heartbreak. She left the town, left her mother, with no plans to ever return. She left a brokenhearted mother and a brokenhearted boyfriend behind.
Ten years later, Franny is a successful lawyer in LA. She has a career she loves, is engaged to a lawyer who had been her mentor when she started working, and had just won an important case in court. This case took a heavy toll on her, physically and emotionally. When she gets home, she gets a surprise call from Cole, regarding her mother. She leaves straightaway.
When Franny arrives, she finds her mother had suffered a stroke. She had nurses taking care of her and physical therapists already hired to help her mother back to help. All was arranged by Cole, who loved her like a second mother. Her sister Faith was on vacation and arrived soon to help on the recovery.
Franny didn’t want to be in Crescent Ridge because Cole lives right across the street and she doesn’t want to see him, ever. However, she understands the need to stay until her mother’s medical care is underway and sorted.
Cole is suffering from a staggering load of guilt, regret, unrequited love, and a lot of yearning for the woman he loves. There were lies involved in the apparent unfaithful act, all designed so Franny would leave and make a better life without him. After the act, he realized what an idiot he was, and like a true idiot, instead of going after the woman he loves, he fell into a downward spiral of booze and women. Now that Frankie is back, he’s determined to make things right and tell the truth.
The truth led to another heartbreak, and this is where the plot really unravels and goes downhill. Even though they were making amends and slowly getting to a place where they could be together, another bomb falls that drove them apart. The book would have been better with a fraction of the heartbreak shown. Even though the story made sense, in a way, it was too negative all the time. The positive moments came from the heartfelt love and support that Frankie got from her mother, her sister and her best friend. Even so, all their dialogues were tinted with the drama of Frankie and Cole.
I liked Franny, I felt she fell in love forever with Cole and even though she made a life in another city, with another man, she would always love Cole. She just buried her feelings and made the best of what she had. When she got back home, she evaded him because she didn’t see any sense in reliving an old tragedy. She was feisty and emotional and guarded her feelings well.
Cole, on the other hand, was an idiot. Instead of facing his girlfriend and giving her a choice, he makes up a lie, then when she comes back and they face the consequences of his actions, he has a hissy fit. This felt like a soap opera, where the drama goes on and on and on. I had no sympathy for his character, although he redeemed himself by working to improve his town, adding necessary jobs to the community, buying and rebuilding structures for new businesses and helped make the town more prosperous than before.
Cole and Franny had a best friend Carter, who was always the voice of wisdom whenever their dramas increased to a high pitch. I think Carter and Faith were the wisest of all the characters in this story.