Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
This is a new-to-me author who, on the basis of this book, I will look for more of her work.
In this book the couple is already married and very much in love. So where is the conflict? Well distance for one. Cree is at their hometown in a southern a small town working three jobs to help put Cam through school, while he is in New York pursuing medical school. That sort of monetary stress is difficult enough but when you add in a long distance marriage, well it amplifies.
I also liked the other, more ephemeral stresses... over the years more than miles have distanced them. Cam has assimilated into New York culture and seems to be moving forward in life while Cree is slowly coming to the dawning realization that life might be passing her by. I thought there were a lot of nice character beats, especially from Cree's perspective. She comes to several realizations about herself and her marriage which I thought were realized in a nicely organic way. The author did a good job of making us feel Cree's insecurities and her disconnectedness from Cam. It wasn't some big dramatic thing but rather cumulative thing.
Also, to the author's credit, she didn't pull any cheap stunts. The conflicts to the marriage were internal mostly. There were some external stresses but this was primarily a book about them as people.
Since the book is really mostly Cree's perspective it is very easy to sympathize with her. There were one or two moments you wanted to smack Cam, but on the whole he was a decent guy who was devoted to his wife but she was sometimes as much of a stranger to him as he was to her. The difference is Cree confronts it and Cam just wants everything to be ok and doesn't understand why it just isn't.
There is an incident that brings a lot of things to a head. I felt very bad for both of the characters in the aftermath, but liked where the story went later.
If I had a criticism of the book I would say that I thought Cree negative feelings & misgivings about New York became a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy. She was dead set against being there so she didn't even try to make a life there. She realized that everything about her was too closely defined to her marriage, but if there was one place where you could potentially find something for yourself it is New York. I think the book would have been stronger if those scenes were expanded and maybe showed Cree getting more comfortable & starting to appreciate the opportunities available to her before the incident occurs that sends her back home. I think the impact would have been greater.
Also I thought Cree & Cam's -- reconnection -- felt rushed. I think it would have benefited from more page space. The pacing of the book felt like we took time with Cree's realization that her relationship with Cam and with herself had changed, but the "fix" in the end felt too quick.
I thought the writing was strong and flowed easily. I was very quickly immersed and invested in this relationship.