This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on October 16, 2018
After enjoying The Summer of New Beginnings that introduced the Briggs ladies of Magnolia Grove, Georgia and their journey of love, grief, and hope as mother, daughters, and sisters, I was eager to press forward to see Tracy finish coming into her own, Meghan continue to realize her love for her dad didn’t depend on his paper, and the comfort that family can bring to a dying woman.
A Year of Extraordinary Moments follows on the heels of the earlier book and doesn’t work so well as a standalone.
It has been two years since Meghan married her sweetheart veterinarian, gave a permanent home to her dog Socks, and reluctantly turned over the daily operations of the Snip and Save, her dad’s old paper. Tracy came back to Magnolia Grove to raise her son and reconnect with her mama and sister. Lucas now has his surgery that allows him to hear now and she is helping her son adjust with the help of a kind and generous man. But, just when she thinks she has seen the last of Lucas’ dad, Dominic is back in Magnolia Grove and stirring up trouble once again. The Briggs ladies are not sure how a new person in the form of Dominic’s grandmother will fit in to Lucas’ and their lives. Will sweet Alice get to enjoy a surprising new gift of family in her last days? Will Tracy continue on the path she has set for herself or give in to nostalgia for the past?
The author spun out another heartwarming and complex tale about the lives of these women showcasing the many kinds of love and relationships they experienced. The conflicts were partially ongoing and also got a new twist. I remember when I finished up the last book that I was curious to follow a bit further with Tracy’s story as she worked hard to grow and change for her own sake as well as her son’s, but she still had that wistful feeling for Dominic back in Philadelphia. And, though Meghan came a long way in learning to live and find love outside her all work and attachment to that newspaper which she associated with her daddy, I wasn’t sure she’d really moved on. These things along with the renewed issues with Dominic and enjoying the new character in the story who was his warm and loving grandmother Alice made this another fabulous part of the ongoing story.
I was really rooting for Tracy to hang in there. She was doing so well and on her way to lasting happiness with the perfect man, Gabriel, for her and Lucas, but she had a first love that she remembered as better than it really was and overbalanced making everything about Lucas the way Meghan used to make everything about the Snip and Save (and kinda still does).
I will confess that while I didn’t want Dominic and Tracy together, I was certainly more conflicted about him than I was in the first book. The author gave him a backstory of a rough life of no dad in the picture and a wild mother who wasn’t good for him before she abandoned him for good with his grandmother. He never really stood a chance in many ways so I did pity him, but Alice gave him every chance to embrace something different with the way she worked hard to show him that she loved and cared deeply for him in place of his mother.
Much of this book really tugs on the emotions. I cried a few times to be honest. Hard things had to happen before the healing and good could settle in. I was so vested in these characters and their lives.
Shannon McManus is a talented and well-matched narrator for this series. She nails voices, accents, pacing, and the connection to the story so well. She added that extra sparkle and enriched the words and heart of the story.
So, I’m emotionally exhausted, but oh so satisfied with this story. I heartily encourage those who enjoy stories with a strong family connection, a slow burn side romance, and deep emotional engagement to give this book/series a try.
My thanks to Brilliance Audio for the opportunity to listen to the book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #359 CR
New Release #180
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