When it comes to the romance novel, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a second chances scenario where couples reunite after years spent apart, and while this happens to be one of my favourite tropes, it doesn’t happen all too often that a story feels like a breath of fresh air from the very first page, standing so tall in a genre that is exploding with greatness. Known for her emotional, character-driven romances that give us all the feels, Devney Perry strikes again with a tale that is heartbreaking in its candour and brave in its intent, yet somehow incredibly romantic through and through. And with two very real people at its heart—grappling with obstacles that speak to anyone who’s ever felt the bitter sting of failure and regret in love—this is the kind of book you hope you never forget. Even as your tears keep blurring the pages in front of you.
Where had we gone wrong? How could we be this good and lose it all? How could we throw this away?
After almost a decade together, Molly and Finn Alcott’s fairytale romance ended in divorce. Splitting up left them both heartbroken and angry at first, but they continued to co-parent their two young children amicably, knowing that no matter what their feelings for one another may be, they would be in each other’s lives forever. And while, for the past six years, they both had to learn how to control their feelings around one another, quieting their emotions in favour of peaceful and respectful co-parenting that would shield their children from conflict, neither of them have ever truly owned what part they played in their love’s demise, or finally forgiven each other for any of it. So when old, unsent letters written by Finn begin to mysteriously find their way into Molly’s mailbox, they not only begin stirring memories of moments in time long past, but they also rekindle a physical connection between them that never lost its spark.
I hated this letter. I hated that I loved it. It was too strong a reminder of how good things had been. Maybe if we’d kept the happy memories closer to the surface, we wouldn’t have sunk so deeply into the bad.
Week after week, old letters continue appearing in Molly’s mailbox, each letter reminding them of some of the happiest as well as some of the most difficult times in their marriage, and forcing them to finally address all the reasons why their marriage slowly fell apart. Through it all, however, the mystery of who is sending Finn’s old letters to Molly remains.
My eyes fell shut, my breath stolen by the sensation of him filling the voids I’d ignored for so, so long. Here, in this place, everything made sense. Nothing was careless. Here, together, it was like going backward in time. We traveled to the days when those letters were being penned. To when happiness radiated around us. To when we got lost in one another, the rest of the world a blur.
The author does a marvellous job at evoking a wide arc of longing, regret, sadness, love, and hope in Molly and Finn’s relationship, but even with the characters’ emotions leaping off every single page, the real depth—and the true beauty of this book in my eyes—comes from the natural, unhurried rebuilding of their mutual trust and connection. Their memories, both happy and unhappy, lead them back to one another, but it is through painful self-reflection and an immense effort to communicate openly with each other that these characters grow and change and find their way to their well-deserved happy ending.
My love for Finn wasn’t going to stop. I could tell myself and others I wasn’t in love with Finn. It was all lies. I’d buried that love deep, shoving it down whenever it threatened to appear, but it was still there. It had always been there.
Devney Perry’s heartfelt storytelling and masterful navigation of the many complex reasons why a marriage breaks apart add up to another splendid read from an author who never fails to leave my heart beaming and overflowing. This is one of those perfectly written love stories that is both romantic and heartbreaking all at once, and I simply adored every single thing about it.
We’d had so much love. How did we get here? How did we get all the way from that letter to us now?
I yanked on the bottom of the picture, tearing it free from its pin, then I crumpled it up in one hand and tossed it in the trash can next to the desk. When I looked at Molly, her brown eyes were waiting.
“I’m sorry about your breakup,” she said gently.
“Is that why you stayed for dinner last night? Because you were upset?”
“What? No. Things with Brenna haven’t been going well for a while. Like I told you, it was time.”
“You seem upset.”
I ran my hand over my jaw. “I’m not upset.”
“Well you just killed that picture. It seems like you’re upset.”
“I’m not upset.”
“It’s okay if you are.”
Fuck. Would this woman ever listen to me? “I’m not upset!”
My voice bounced off the walls and I immediately regretted raising my voice.
Molly scowled, then turned back to her laptop. “Fine. I’m busy. I know you probably are too. Since there isn’t anything else to discuss, you should probably get back to work.”
“Kicking me out again?”
She pursed her lips, positioning her hands over the keyboard. “I’ll have the kids call you before bedtime. Thanks again for mowing my lawn last night.”
That fucking lawn. What a disaster it had turned out to be. I blamed it for getting us into this position.
“Molly.” I sighed. “I’m sorry. I just . . . I’m not upset about Brenna. Really. I’m sorry I yelled.”
“I don’t want to fight, Finn.”
“Neither do I.” We’d done enough of that while we’d been married. “I’m off this morning. Last night was, well, I don’t know.”
“It was a mistake.”
Her eyes snapped to mine. “What do you mean?”
“Was it a mistake?” I’d been wrestling with that question for hours.
“We’re divorced. Divorced people shouldn’t be having sex with one another. It’s too complicated.”
“It didn’t feel complicated.”
She blinked at me, her mouth falling open. “What are you saying?”
“I don’t know. I just know that last night was the best I’ve slept in years. And not just because I missed my pillow.”
The corner of her mouth turned up. “I couldn’t get rid of that pillow. I thought about it, but I just couldn’t.”
“I’m glad you didn’t.”