Read with: iBooks for iPad
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Hero: Leo Killian
Heroine: Jenny Tate
Date of Publication: August 25, 2015
Started On: August 10, 2015
Finished On: August 14, 2015
If You Only Knew by Kristan Higgins comes after a seemingly long wait since her last novel. I’ve been scouring through Netgalley, and even tweeted to Ms. Higgins go find out when her next book was going to be released. And as luck would have it, I found this up on Netgalley after finding out its release date and since then have been on tenterhooks, all giddy of course, because that’s what happens when you have a book that you’d love to really sink your teeth into, waiting for you.
If You Only Knew, like most stories by Kristan Higgins, is told in the first person. The difference perhaps is that it tells the story of two people, Jenny and Rachel, two sisters, their love lives or the lack of, their struggles which reaches out to you and the emotions that practically whip your insides to a frenzy. Kristan takes your emotions or rather your soul on a roller coaster ride, makes it reach heights that you never thought possible with the way this story plays with your emotions.
Wedding dress designer Jenny Tate is ready to leave the big city life behind and move back to her hometown, and perhaps in the process learn to let go of her ex-husband whom she has never truly managed to divorce from her heart. The “jovial” relations she has with him and his newly wedded wife, though told with the sort of humor that makes it easy to laugh through the heartache, is more than relatable.
Jenny’s sister Rachel struggling for perfection with the handful that is her triplets, finds her seemingly picture perfect marriage in a rut when she opens a sext message that had been meant for her husband. Unable to face the reality of reconciling with the truth, Rachel goes out of her way to make things work with her husband, showing to us all that even though we promise ourselves that we would never be that woman who hangs around with the guy who hurts us beyond repair, walking away from a marriage or a relationship, especially when kids are involved, is one of the hardest decisions you would ever have to make.
Jenny has this quirky factor to her character that makes her go into daydream mode every time she eyes someone remotely potentially partner worthy. That’s the exact same thing that happens to her when she first encounters her landlord Leo Killian, his pain filled eyes and don’t-get-too-close-to-me attitude acting like a siren’s call that beckons her heart. Jenny’s journey towards happily ever after is not an easy one, but worth all the pain in the end.
Kristan spins a tale that makes you cry god honest tears as you read through the struggles and the turns the lives of Jenny and Rachel takes along the way. The second guessing, the doubts that creeps into you along the way, the self recrimination during the darkest moments of your life, they are all dealt with in this masterpiece with the sort of flair that only an author like Kristan can pull off.
Leo’s character is equally haunting, the secrets he hides in his soul coming to light towards the very end of the novel. Teaching beautiful music to a handful of youngsters, Leo would rather keep to himself, live by himself, than allow someone into his life, to open up his heart for the kind of heartbreak he never wants to subject himself to, ever again. Just like the music that lives inside the musical prodigy that is one of his students, If You Only Knew hits every note perfectly; sometimes it gets messy, ugly and ties you up in knots. But the whole of it together just takes your breathe away.
The high you feel from reading a good novel is difficult to come down from. It also makes picking your next read that much more difficult because a story like this comes along, if at all, more rarely than you would think. I have just this left to say.
Dear Kristan, If You Only Knew was well worth the wait. It broke my heart & you managed to put it back together again. Might never be as it was before. But it’s all good. Because you left me with a smile in my heart & the beautiful glow of love in my soul.
Final Verdict: So much heart packed into 400 plus pages; it wrings everything out of you!
“You eye-fucking me?” he asks.
“What? No! I’m just… I’m not, okay? I just need my key, but the stupid super isn’t here.”
“The stupid super is right in front of you.”
I close my eyes, sigh and then smile. “Hi. I’m Jenny. The new tenant.”
“Leo. Keep your eyes to yourself, for the record.”
Then he slides his hand around to the back of my head and pulls me to him. One of my hands goes to his chest, and I can feel the solid thumping of his heart. “Recreation only,” he murmurs, his voice scraping a part low in my stomach. “Got it?”
“Got it,” I whisper back.
His eyes crinkle with a small smile, and then he’s kissing me, and his mouth is… God, his mouth is good at what it’s doing—a slow, gentle, thorough kiss that makes my insides leap and spark.
And when he left, he pushed me against the front door and gave me a long, hot, lingering kiss. His hands slid down to my thighs, and he picked me up against him and I wrapped my legs around him, my back pressed against the door, and if it wasn’t the horniest moment of my life, I don’t know what was. Then he let me slide down against him, his hands going to my hair.
“Make sure your rent is on time,” he murmured against my mouth, and then he smiled and was gone, and I staggered back to the couch and collapsed there, grinning like an idiot.