A story with all the feels... Look on the Bright Side by Kristan Higgins (Review) #newbooks #booktwitter #bookx #womensfiction #romancebooks @BerkleyRomance @BerkleyPub

Look on the Bright Side
By Kristan Higgins
Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romance
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook & Audiobook, 432 Pages
May 28, 2024 by Berkley


From the author of Pack Up the Moon comes a funny, romantic, and deeply moving novel about the unexpected rewards that come from life’s detours.

Lark Smith has always had a plan for her life: find a fantastic guy, create a marriage as blissful as her parents’, pop out a couple of kids and build a rewarding career as an oncologist.

Things aren’t going so well.

For one, the guy didn’t work out. Theoretically, she’d love to find someone else, but it hasn’t happened. Two, she’s just been transferred out of oncology for being too emotional. (Is it her fault she’s a weeper?) Three, her parents just split up.

Deviating from the plan was…well, not in the plan. A potential solution comes from the foul-tempered and renowned surgeon Lorenzo Santini (aka Dr. Satan). He needs a date this summer for his sister’s wedding. His ancient Noni wants to see him settled. In exchange, he could make a few introductions and maybe get Lark back into the field of her choice.

As a sucker for old people and fake relationships, Lark agrees. Teeny problem—she instantly falls for his big, warm family. Especially his estranged brother.

Meanwhile, Lark’s mom has moved in with Lark’s colorful landlady, Joy, and an unlikely friendship blossoms. The three women have a long summer and a big beautiful house on the ocean to figure out what’s next…and quite possibly learn that the best things in life aren’t planned at all.

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My Review

LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is another story from this author with all the feels. The characters are fully drawn with their own unique personalities and areeasy to relate to. Readers will be pulled right into this story as they cheer these characters through the complexities of life and finding their happy endings. Highly recommended to women's fiction fans!

This author does such a good job in weaving through so many emotions in her stories with relatable characters that readers can't help but love. This story made me laugh, cry, swoon, cheer... there were seriously so many good moments! I loved when Lark totally steps up and takes charge. I also loved the "Dr. Satan" moniker, but also that even though he is, you also see that he's not just one dimensional. These characters have histories, their own challenges, and their own redeeming qualities. Now Dante was definitely swoon worthy, and that whole story and history and emotional connection was pretty amazing. But also not easy. There was some work involved and real conversations, and not just between Dante and Lark but with other characters too.

I really liked that the author took what you could think was going to be a Beauty and the Beast story or enemies to lovers and it not be that. She didn't fall into the cliche at all. And she didn't fall into one of my pet peeves of cheating either. Characters approached and even stepped over the line, but there were consequences. It wasn't just brushed aside and there was responsibility for choices from both sides. That's a pretty hard line to walk and it worked for me here. There were some really tough themes in this book, like the cheating, but also loss, grief and abuse. All of that heaviness was balanced by humorous moments (some of them in the ER), beautiful moments of friendship, family moments, and one adorable dog. Of course, the endings for these characters were bittersweet and beautiful. My favorite way for stories to end.

I also had a few places that really struck me. Here are two of them:

"I'm on your side, he said. "People say not to take sides, and to that, I say, ridiculous! There's right and there's wrong. I'm on the side of right."

"The key, she had learned, was to live in the here and now. Not the back then or the what-if, but right now. Not to worry about the shadows or the times of sorrow and darkness. They would come, of course. No one was immune. The trick was to carry hope and determination like a torch into the dark times."

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was a book I was looking forward to and the author did not disappoint. It took me on an emotional journey with characters I loved and little pieces of wisdom along the way. Well worth the read!

Content: References to abuse and neglect (nothing overly detailed), references to cheating, someone dying from cancer with the subsequent grief and loss, some ER trauma in and out of the hospital, some swearing (mostly s-words).
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through NetGalley, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. If you want to receive a free short story and be notified when Kristan releases a new book, sign up at kristanhiggins.com.

Kristan enjoys gardening, mixology, the National Parks and complimenting strangers on their children. The mother of two entertaining and wonderful humans, and the grandmother of one perfect child, Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, cuddly dog and indifferent cat.

You can find the author here.

Photo credit: Lydia Leclair

Have you read any of Higgins' previous books? What's the last book that made you cry, laugh swoon, and/or cheer?

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