What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Hannah McKinnon

Who is getting ready for the 4th of July?!?!  I am excited to have the next week off and plan on finishing up some books and jumping into some fabulous beach reads.  I am thrilled to be able to feature Hannah McKinnon’s latest, The Summer House and have her share her BEACH BAG!  Hello.  Quintessential beach read and fabulous author’s beach bag?  Can we say perfect 4th weekend kick off 🙂

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via Amazon ~

When Flossy Merrill summons her children to the beloved family beach house to celebrate their father’s eightieth birthday, both cherished memories and long-kept secrets come to light in this charming and lyrical novel from the author of The Lake Season and Mystic Summer. 

Flossy Merrill has managed to—somewhat begrudgingly—gather her three ungrateful grown children from their dysfunctional lives for a summer reunion at the family’s Rhode Island beach house. Clementine, her youngest child and a young mother of two small children, has caused Flossy the most worry after enduring a tragically life-altering year. But Samuel and his partner Evan are not far behind in their ability to alarm: their prospective adoption search has just taken a heart-wrenching turn. Only Paige, the eldest of the headstrong Merrill clan, is her usual self: arriving precisely on time with her well-adapted teens. Little does her family know that she, too, is facing personal struggles of her own.

No matter. With her family finally congregated under one seaside roof, Flossy is determined to steer her family back on course even as she prepares to reveal the fate of the summer house that everyone has thus far taken for granted: she’s selling it. The Merrill children are both shocked and outraged and each returns to memories of their childhoods at their once beloved summer house—the house where they have not only grown up, but from which they have grown away. With each lost in their respective heartaches, Clementine, Samuel, and Paige will be forced to reconsider what really matters before they all say goodbye to a house that not only defined their summers, but, ultimately, the ways in which they define themselves. Featuring McKinnon’s “sharp and evocative” (Kirkus Reviews) voice, this warm-hearted novel is perfect for fans of Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe.

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What is your bag of choice?

With summer upon us and beach reads on the brain, my go-to beach bag is my Mar Y Sol valencia beach tote. I love the raffia, I love the fact that I can fit everything in it from sunscreen and snacks to books and a beach towel. And for a girl who trends toward earth tones and neutrals, the Madagascar orange color is such a fun pop!

What are your top favorite beauty picks?  

Cruelty-free and paraben-free products are important to me. I love to shop Sephora, but as a working mom of two little girls, the local drugstore often has to do. Moisturizer is my number one beauty pick: its amazing what a good one can do. I love Alba Botanica moisturizers with sunscreen. A beauty favorite that I discovered on Cape Cod one summer is Kiss Me in the Garden. I adore their No 04 Lemongrass & Verbena shea butter balm. Locally made, and all natural, it feels indulgent and it smells divine; I use it all over! You can find them online, and they offer a custom blending bar, too.

What do you always carry in your bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?  

As a fair-haired and sensitive skinned-girl, little blemishes or tired eyes stand out. I love Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque. A swipe of sheer e.l.f. lipgloss and I’m good to go.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Wally Lamb’s ‘I’ll Take You There’. I’ve always been a big Wally fan. For summer, nothing beats an Elin Hilderbrand book.

And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you 🙂

My RayBan’s go everywhere with me! Polarized protection for blue eyes and a quick fix to pull your look together. As a mom, my two other must-haves are sunscreen and snacks. Babyganics is a great mineral-based sunscreen for sports and outdoor play. I also keep my bag flush with food- my girls love Annie’s and Honest Kids. We make a solid organic effort, but you’ll find Doritos in there, too! Well, at least the crumbs.

Much as I’m loathe to admit it, the first day of summer is probably the ONLY time my beach bag actually looks this put together! By day two- with kids, pets, and beaches- it’s full of sticky juice containers, sandy granola bar wrappers, and who knows what else. My younger daughter has been known to pop one of our pet chickens in there to carry around. Even she knows the value of a good sized tote!

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What’s in my Bookish {Beauty} Bag? ~ Julie Pennell

I am SO excited to launch this new column on my blog.  For me, one of my favorite things to read in US Weekly is the “What’s in my bag” feature.  I love getting a little sneak peak into celebrities fabulous bags with their beauty favorites, snacks, current reads and go-to on the go goods.  I thought, I love hearing fun things about amazing authors, who are my version of a A-list celebrity so why not ask them what’s in their bags?  So I did.  I think when we get this mere glimpse into something as little as their bag we get a whole, new, fun view of them.  It makes them completely relatable and like US Weekly says “just like us” ;).  I am so lucky to be able to feature some amazing authors with fabulous books currently out or coming out.  First up is Julie Pennell, author of The Young Wives Club. (out now)

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via Amazon

In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives. 

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.

Julie was so kind to answer a few questions for me and showcase her stunning bag!

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What is your bag of choice?

I tend to carry around a lot of stuff, so bigger bags are preferable (gotta fit my books in something!). I most often stick to brown and black, but sometimes I’ll use one with a pop of color like this one my friend found for me at a sample sale in New York City. I love it because it has sort of a Mardi Gras look to it with the colors — being from Louisiana, I feel like I’m celebrating my home state when I have it!

 

What are your top favorite beauty picks?

I’m pretty minimal with makeup. I use MAC foundation and eyeliner, Physicians Formula blush, and Great Lash mascara from Maybelline — same thing every day. Although, on date night with my husband, I’ll swipe on some red lipstick!

 

What do you always carries in her bag/purse/carry-on for beauty products?

I can’t live without my C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve which I use as a lip gloss. 

 

What are you currently reading (can be books/magazines)?

I just started Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. I’m excited to dive into it — I’ve heard such great things about it! As for magazines, I’ve been a big fan of Glamour and Us Weekly for a while, and recently started getting into home decor and food magazines. Martha Stewart Living and All Recipes are really fun, and as a huge fan of Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines, I love The Magnolia Journal, too.

 

And any other fun item/must-have that you always have with you?

Since my book came out in February, I’ve had a hot pink Sharpie in my bag at all times just in case anyone wants their book signed. I get so giddy when my friends pull their book out at brunch that I end up writing like a yearbook-style paragraph to them with so many hearts and “Love you”s! Also I can’t go anywhere without my headphones. I’m obsessed with listening to podcasts. Some that I love are “Stuff Mom Never Told You,” “Coffee Break With NYWICI,” and “Invisibilia.” And I usually have a little notebook handy just in case I get an idea for something to write about. You never know when inspiration will hit!

 

Julie Pennell

*Thanks to Julie and Atria books for the interview and review copy of The Young Wives Club.

The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

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As I am counting down the days until my little arrival I have to cram in as many books as I can!  I am SO glad I picked Sarah Pekkanen’s newest, The Perfect Neighbors.  Reminiscent of Desperate Housewives, one of my favorite shows, the book is the perfect blend of drama, mystery, gossip and friendship.  The best type of summer read that you can’t put down, The Perfect Neighbors is my “Poolside Pick” for this week!

The book takes place in beautiful Newport Cove, a picture perfect neighborhood where the sun is always shining and neighbors are there to help one another.  Kelli is a newly working mom, who stayed at home for years with her kids, and is now in real estate.  Wanting to feel appreciated and beautiful she starts to take to her boss who is handsome and reciprocates this little work crush.  Gigi is a mom of two girls where one is on the outs with her, typical teenage behavior.  She wants to rekindle the relationship they once had but she can’t do it alone as her husband is running for Congress and he is always tied up.  Tessa, the newest neighbor to move to the Cove is friendly enough but always on edge as she is running from something with a secret in her back pocket.  Looking for a fresh start, Tessa isn’t sure how much longer she can fool everyone into thinking she is leading a perfect life.  But who really is?  A picture perfect setting and life behind close doors can be anything you want it to be or can it?

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Pekkanen’s latest is a page-turning, delicious book that kept me guessing each chapter.  The scene she set and the characters she created were intriguing and mysterious.  I love a dishy read with an almost thriller type twist and Pekkanen wrote this perfectly.  I can’t wait to jump into her back catalog and read some of her other novels because if it is anything like this book then it is sure to be fantastic.  Absolutely add this one to to your summer list, you won’t regret it!

 

*Thanks to Atria books for sending Bliss, Beauty and Books a review copy.

 

 

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Book. Hangover.  It’s real people.  And once again Taylor Jenkins Reid has blown my mind and solidified herself as one of my favorite authors with One True Loves.  Not only did I love this book for the characters and plot but its set in MASSACHUSETTS, my hometown.  Reid’s love for her hometown Acton, MA shines in this novel as this is the hometown of the main characters. Her references for this amazing state are like a warm hug and reminded me how much I love being from here.  Each book that she writes she creates characters that you do not want to leave.  You want to know where they are going and what they are doing days later and this book is no exception.

One True Loves is about Emma Blair.  Emma is your typical girl who works in her family’s bookshop and dreams beyond the confines of her hometown Acton, MA.  While in high school she meets Jesse.  The star swimmer who she believe is out of her league until a chance meeting at a party in the woods.  They are stuck together when the cops come and they are forced to hide in a bush until they are safe.  From this moment a love affair begins which eventually leads up to years later and a marriage.  Both of them wanting to pursue their passions take their relationship to California.  Married and completely in love a terrible plane crash happens causing Emma to believe Jesse is dead.  Completely devastated and in grief she takes baby steps into healing.  One of which is to move home, back to Acton.  Here is gets the care she needs from her parents and sister.  She does not know how to move forward.  Enter Sam.  Sam also went to high school with Emma and Jesse.  He also worked at Emma’s parents bookstore and was a great friend to Emma.  Not knowing that he was in love with her,  Emma runs into Sam while she is trying to pick up the pieces to her shattered life.  An instant connection happens and they fall in love.  Hesitant, Emma doesn’t know if it is too soon as she is still mourning Jesse.  Then she gets a phone call.  Jesse is still alive.  Engaged to Sam, Emma is at odds.  Does she try to rekindle what she thought was lost and dead with Jesse or stay with Sam, her new love who has been with her through the hardest time in her life.  She really questions who her one true love is?

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As I said before my love for Taylor Jenkins Reid and her amazing novels grows  with each book.  Reid has a way of capturing a readers heart and not letting go until that final sentence.  This book did just that for me.  The triangle between Emma, Sam and Jesse kept me so conflicted but Reid knew how to take the reader to that perfect ending.  I can promise you, you will devour this book.  And I can promise you once you finish you will run out and purchase her back catalog ~ I may or may no have done this after reading Maybe in Another Life  😉  Also if you are participating in the BookSparks #SRC2016 this is a June selection and will of course keep making 2016 the #bestsummerever.

*Thanks to Atria Books for sending a review copy.

The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

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So I do not need to declare my love for bestie authors Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke.  I mean if you follow them on Instagram or Facebook you will see that they are the gals you would call on a Friday night for guaranteed fun, all the while knowing they write absolutely addictive and fabulous books.  The Year We Turned Forty was just this and more.  Each year I get super excited for their books and then have complete sadness when they are over as I know I have to wait!  Not only are their books a literary triple threat they are as well- fierce, fun and fabulous.

The Year We Turned Forty centers around three best friends- Jessie, Claire and Gabriela.  They are all facing life challenges but decide to take a girls getaway to Vegas to celebrate all turning 50.  While there, they are all trying to get away from the everyday stressors of their lives when they meet Blair Wainwright, an illusionist who tells them if they all agree then he can bring them back 10 years, to the year they turned forty.  They will be able to get a second chance on some of the decisions and mistakes they made way back then.  They all decide they are in and overnight they are transported back to 2005.  Each dealing with their own decisions and issues they have to decide if they want to change the past or continue to live in the future with possible regrets.

Jessie is dealing with the fact that she cheated on her husband and got pregnant with someone else’s baby.  She is unsure if she should keep the identity of the father to herself or share with her husband the baby’s father.  Gabriela is dealing with infertility and the effect that is having on her successful career and marriage.  Will she be able to make it through or will the inability to bear a child cause demise in her life?  Finally, Claire is reliving the cancer diagnosis of her mother and the parental issues of dealing with a teenage daughter.  Feeling like she can’t manage she tries to look for the silver lining in her life but will she be able to handle the heartache?

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Finishing this booked just reaffirmed my love for Liz and Lisa.  They are master storytellers about friendship and womanhood.  Their books are relatable and their characters are people we all know or want to know, making it impossible to put them down.  I absolutely loved the premise of this story as it would be the perfect book club topic- What if you could re-write history?  We all think of the what if’s in life but if you were really given the chance what would you do?  The thought that Liz and Lisa give to each women and their story is so evident in this book which makes their skill for character development so obvious.  This is an absolute must read and the perfect choice to get us into summer beach read season!  Until the next Liz and Lisa book…enjoy 🙂

*Thanks to Atria books for sending a copy of They Year We Turned Forty for review!

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

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Sitting in my #TBR pile since last year, yes thats how big it is, I grabbed this book when I got word it was coming out in paperback to do a little feature.  Jennifer Weiner is one of my favorite authors and I knew from all the great reviews it would be a gem and believe me it did not disappoint.  She is able to create characters that are real and yet built from words and stories that are so fluid and yet from the heart.  Time after time I am impressed by her novels.  Who Do You Love is a quintessential love story with a twist.  What I found funny was the day I finished the novel Jennifer posted on her Instagram that she was married the night before.  A perfect happy ending for a master storyteller of real fairytales and happy endings.

Rachel is a young girl with a heart condition.  Andy is a young boy who lands in the ER after a big fall.  A chance meeting for both, the same night in the hospital, is the beginning of a  romance filled novel that spans a lifetime.  After keeping in touch as kids they both go on to fill their dreams all the while developing a serious relationship.  Rachel is a good jewish girl from a middle-upper class family who goes on to attend college, becomes a sorority girl all the while falling in love with Andy.  Andy is a runner who comes from a broken home and wants to make his mom proud.  He continues to run and attend college as well train for the Olympics.  He has a hard time adjusting to the life that Rachel lives, both being so different, but the love he has for her is so strong.  The two embark on life together and apart through serious issues, breakups, family and marital problems.  In the end they always come to realize they are always there for each other but will they ultimately be the “one that they love?”.

Jennifer Weiner author photo credit Tamara Staples

 

Who Do You Love is a love story wrapped in some heartbreak and coated in charm.  I loved how the story was told over the course of their lives.  I really got to see not only Andy and Rachel develop individually but their relationship develop as well.  I find that this is something that Weiner excels at and truly makes her stories unforgettable.  If you have yet to read this book the paperback version will be out April 5 (pre-order here) and trust me its the perfect spring read to indulge outside in the warm weather!  Weiner also has a collection of essays coming out in early fall so stay tuned for more on that as I get more details.

*All things ATRIA Books*

Today I wanted share a few of my favorite upcoming releases which happen to all be from the AMAZING Atria books!  Atria books launched in 2002 and is an imprint of Simon and Schuster.  Created with the purpose to “let their authors flourish”, Atria books is the home to many talented and fabulous authors such as Jennifer Weiner, Fredrick Backman, Sarah Pekkanen , Taylor Jenkins Reid, Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke, the list goes on.  If you have yet to check out any of these authors or are wondering all that Atria has to offer, visit their site to see more about all the great titles to come!  Here are a few that I can’t wait for! I have included the pre-order links.  Hello summer reading 🙂

 

 

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Mystic Summer by Hannah McKinnon 

via Amazon

A chance run-in with a college boyfriend puts a young woman’s picture-perfect life in perspective in this warm-hearted and lyrical novel—from the author of The Lake Season.

Since finishing graduate school, Maggie Griffin has worked hard to build an enviable life in Boston. She’s an elementary school teacher in a tony Boston suburb, a devoted sister, and a loving aunt. With her childhood best friend’s wedding quickly approaching and her own relationship blossoming, this is the summer she has been waiting for.

But when Maggie’s career is suddenly in jeopardy, her life begins to unravel. Stricken, Maggie returns home to seaside Mystic, Connecticut, where she expects to find comfort in family and familiarity. Instead, she runs into Cameron Wilder, a young man from her past who has also returned home, and whose life has taken a turn that puts Maggie’s city struggles in harsh perspective. When tragedy strikes for Cameron, Maggie is faced with big decisions as she weighs what matters most and strives to stay true to the person she’s become.

Set against the gorgeous backdrop of a New England summer when past and present collide, Mystic Summer is a gorgeous novel about looking back, moving forward, and the beauty that blooms when fate intervenes.

 

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The Girls in the Garden by Lisa Jewell

via Amazon

Imagine that you live on a picturesque communal garden square, an oasis in urban London where your children run free, in and out of other people’s houses. You’ve known your neighbors for years and you trust them. Implicitly. You think your children are safe. But are they really?

On a midsummer night, as a festive neighborhood party is taking place, preteen Pip discovers her thirteen-year-old sister Grace lying unconscious and bloody in a hidden corner of a lush rose garden. What really happened to her? And who is responsible?

Dark secrets, a devastating mystery, and the games both children and adults play all swirl together in this gripping novel, packed with utterly believable characters and page-turning suspense. Fans of Liane Moriarty and Jojo Moyes will be captivated by The Girls in the Garden, the next unforgettable novel by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jewell.

 

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The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen

via Amazon

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US. It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs, she’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour, and she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear that Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.

 

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One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

via Amazon

In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

 

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The Regulars by Georgia Clark

via Amazon

Best friends Evie, Krista, and Willow are just trying to make it through their mid-twenties in New York. They’re regular girls, with average looks and typical quarter-life crises: making it up the corporate ladder, making sense of online dating, and making rent.

Until they come across Pretty, a magic tincture that makes them, well…gorgeous. Like, supermodel gorgeous. And it’s certainly not their fault if the sudden gift of beauty causes unexpected doors to open for them.

But there’s a dark side to Pretty, too, and as the gloss fades for these modern-day Cinderellas, there’s just one question left:

What would you sacrifice to be Pretty?

 

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Swear On This Life by Renee Carlino

via Amazon

When a bestselling debut novel from mysterious author J. Colby becomes the literary event of the year, Emiline reads it reluctantly. As an adjunct writing instructor at UC San Diego with her own stalled literary career and a bumpy long-term relationship, Emiline isn’t thrilled to celebrate the accomplishments of a young and gifted writer.

Yet from the very first page, Emiline is entranced by the story of Emerson and Jackson, two childhood best friends who fall in love and dream of a better life beyond the long dirt road that winds through their impoverished town in rural Ohio.

That’s because the novel is patterned on Emiline’s own dark and desperate childhood, which means that “J. Colby” must be Jase: the best friend and first love she hasn’t seen in over a decade. Far from being flattered that he wrote the novel from her perspective, Emiline is furious that he co-opted her painful past and took some dramatic creative liberties with the ending.

The only way she can put her mind at ease is to find and confront “J. Colby,” but is she prepared to learn the truth behind the fiction?

 

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The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

via Amazon

If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.

Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity, and to repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.

Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.

Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two year old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.

But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…