If You Only Knew
Harlequin / August 25, 2015 / $14.95 print, $8.99 digital
The drama, hilarity and tears of sisterhood are at the heart of the thoroughly captivating new novel by New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins—a funny, frank and bittersweet look at marriage, forgiveness and moving on
Letting go of her ex-husband is harder than wedding-dress designer Jenny Tate expected…especially since his new wife wants to be Jenny's new best friend. Sensing this isn't exactly helping her achieve closure, Jenny trades the Manhattan skyline for her hometown up the Hudson, where she'll start her own business and bask in her sister Rachel's picture-perfect family life…and maybe even find a little romance of her own with Leo, her downstairs neighbor, a guy who's utterly irresistible and annoyingly distant at the same time.
Rachel's idyllic marriage, however, is imploding after she discovers her husband sexting with a colleague. She always thought she'd walk away in this situation, but her triplet daughters have her reconsidering her stance on adultery, much to Jenny's surprise. Rachel points to their parents' perfect marriage as a shining example of patience and forgiveness; but to protect her sister, Jenny may have to tarnish that memory—and their relationship—and reveal a family secret she's been keeping since childhood.
Both Rachel and Jenny will have to come to terms with the past and the present and find a way to get what they want most of all.
Comedians exaggerate human foibles which then triggers us to laugh at our shortcomings and imperfections. Kristan Higgins does that in her books too. She gives her heroines a failure, then she elaborates and embosses it for entertainment and amusement. Like she has done in to her two heroines in If You Only Knew.
Jenny Tate thinks she should stay friends with her ex-husband, and his new wife. It is the decent thing to do. Of course she was devastated when Owen told her he no longer wanted to be married, but he is so perfect, and she is not, it is completely understandable that he got tired of her. And when he finds someone new, and immediately starts a family—something that he was unwilling to do with her, well that is understandable too. His new wife Ana-Sofia is just as awe-inspiring as he is. And it wasn’t like he cheated on her with Ana-Sofia. Owen didn’t meet Ana-Sofia until eleven weeks after their divorce. But it just so difficult.
I’m at the baby shower for Ana-Sofia, Owen’s wife and my replacement. Indeed, I’m sitting next to her, a place of honor in this circle of beaming well-wishers, and I’m probably beaming just as hard as everyone else. Harder, even, my “gosh, isn’t it wonderful, she’s so radiant” smile that I give at work quite often, especially as my brides get bitchier or their mothers get more critical or their maids of honor get more jealous. But this smile, the baby-shower smile. . . this is superhuman, really.
I know that coming today is incredibly pathetic, don’t worry. It’s just that I didn’t want to seem bitter by not showing up-though I’m pretty sure I am bitter, at least a little. After all, I’m the one who always wanted kids. Every time I brought it up, though, Owen said he wasn’t sure the time was right, and he loved our life the way it was. . .
Jenny is moving back to Cambry-on-Hudson for two reasons. One to be closer to her sister Rachel and her three adorable nieces. Two, she also wants to break ties with Owen and Ana-Sofia.
Rachel has finally has the life she has always dreamed of. She is a stay-at-home mom, taking care of her much desired three children. Finally, things seem on an even keel. At three, the girls are such a joy. She and her husband Adam survived the stress of taking care of three infants; the terrible two’s and for the most part, potty training. So what if most of the responsibility for taking care of the girls has fallen to her. Her husband provides wonderfully for them all. She so grateful for every day until she discovers this:
The text is from Private Caller. There’s an attachment. No message.
The phone chimes again, startling me. Private caller again, but this time a message.
Do you like this?
I click on the attachment. It’s a slightly blurry picture, but of what, I’m not sure. A . . . a tree maybe, thought it doesn’t look so healthy. It looks diseased, moist and soft. There’s a knothole that looks damp and sick. Whatever it is, I can’t imagine why someone would be sending it to Adam. He doesn’t know anything about trees. . .
“Rach, you seem weird, hon.”
Then she takes out her phone and taps a button. “Do you know what this is? Is this a tree? With some kind of disease or blight or something?”
I look, then flinch. “No. It’s. . . Where did you get this?” Because, shit.
“What is it?”
I swallow. “It’s . . . um, it’s a va—It’s a girl’s part. A crotch shot. Hey. Owen and I watched little porn from time to time, back in the day. The picture is blurry and super close-up, which is quite icky, so yeah, I guess I could see how Rachel, who is very innocent, could think it was a diseased tree. “Who sent this to you?”
But my sister doesn’t answer, because now her face is the color of chalk, and her legs buckle, and Leo catches her just as he comes in the door.
So you have the set-up- conscious uncoupling taken to a whole new level, and denial too. But this book is so much more than just making us laugh. Higgins at the very heart of her stories—this one too—illustrates a woman’s journey to finally realizing that she matters. Jenny never thought that her job or her accomplishments were as important as her husband’s. He saved lives and she designed wedding dressing. Rachel bent over backwards to become super-wife, and super-mom, giving and doing so much more than her husband.
You can’t help but laugh at the outrageous mirthful scenarios and you’ll lament on the heart-rending ones too but along the way, you’ll delight at the confidence these two women gain, as they face life head-on.
Learn more about or order a copy of If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins, available on August 25, 2015: