Now That You Mention It
By Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Harlequin / HQN
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Reviewed by Janga
Nora Stuart grew up on Scupper Island, a small, isolated community off the coast of Maine. When her father left, her mother became busier and more distant, and her younger sister changed into a person Nora no longer knew. Awkward and overweight, Nora found adolescence a nightmare of loneliness and otherness made more painful by the taunts of Luke Fletcher, the island’s golden boy and Nora’s chief rival for the coveted Tufts scholarship. The scholarship, which provided generously for the recipient beyond the usual perks of tuition and board is Nora’s way off the island and into a normal life. Her win is not popular with the natives, but Nora leaves the island immediately. For fifteen years, she has been busy creating a new, fulfilling life. She is now a gastroenterologist on staff at a Boston hospital. Her life may not be perfect, but it is far removed in every way from her past. Then Nora is struck by a van, and everything changes.
On Scupper Island, Nora finds her mother, who adores her pet bird and offers “hug therapy”—for a price—to those in need but whose mothering is minimal at best; her niece Poe in the throes of adolescent angst and rebellion, complete with Goth costuming and an attitude that almost hides her pain over her mother’s imprisonment and her own displacement; and Audrey, a sweet-natured teen who reminds Nora of herself but whose pain is as real as Poe’s. There are also old friends eager to renew connections and old enemies who have forgiven nothing. Nora will forge new relationships, uncover unexpected truths about herself and others, and find that life as a Mainer may just offer more benefits than she ever expected, especially since it includes her own personal beta hero with a sense of humor, a sense of honor, and a sense of who he is and where he belongs.
Kristan Higgins has done it again! She has written a book that made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think—this time about all the truths people hide from one another. The romantic element is strong and satisfying, but this book is a women’s fiction novel. It is Nora’s story, and the reader shares her journey in all its complexity, confusion, readjustment, and reconnection. I loved Nora, who is as smart and real and contradictory and as huge a mix of strengths and flaws and uncharted bits as the most interesting women I know. The secondary characters, by and large, are also interesting, appealing characters. I did think the “villains” were rather one-dimensional, but that is a small complaint about a book that has keeper written on every page.
Higgins’s next book, Good Luck with That (August 7, 2018) sounds like a standalone. I expect it to be another winner, but I hope Higgins will return to Scupper Island at some point. I sense some untold stories there that I would love to read. In the meantime, reading Now That You Mention It is a wonderful way to end 2017 or begin 2018. I give it my most enthusiastic recommendation.