On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

We’d vowed to love each other
‘til death do us part…

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kristan Higgins’s new novel ON SECOND THOUGHT is a moving and emotionally raw tale of two sisters struggling to rebuild their lives in the wake of heartbreak.

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Thirty-nine-year-old Kate has almost given up on dreams of love and motherhood when she meets Nathan—a man who is almost too good to be true—and marries him after a whirlwind romance. But before the blush of newly wedded bliss has had a chance to wear off, Nathan dies unexpectedly in a freak accident, and a shattered Kate finds herself more alone than ever before. Barely a bride and now suddenly a widow, Kate must reckon with survivor’s guilt and the revelation of her late husband’s secrets while confronting her own fears and hopes for the future.  In the midst of Kate’s grief, her half-sister Ainsley is dealing devastation of a different variety after her boyfriend of 11 years dumps her on the night she was expecting him to propose. To make matters worse, his blog post detailing their break-up goes viral. With her perfectly-planned future of domestic harmony dashed in one fell swoop, Ainsley is forced to reevaluate her life and learn how to be alone for the first time in over a decade. As she navigates this new terrain, Ainsley takes solace in supporting Kate through her period of mourning and finds time to exasperate her
seemingly heartless boss, who, Ainsley will discover, may have a pulse after all.
From the wreckage of tragedy and heartbreak, Kate and Ainsley will learn to lean on each other and discover a closeness and intimacy they haven’t previously known. Together, these two sisters will find the strength to start over and the courage to believe in second chances.


“The path to love is bumpy and strewn with landmines in this surprisingly deep charmer from rom-com queen Higgins. Emotional resonance balances zany antics in a powerful story that feels completely real.” — Publishers Weekly on The Best Man

“...a spirited, truly funny, and emotionally satisfying romance you won’t want to put down.  Humor and heart in one stunning package.” — Library Journal on In Your Dreams

“Higgins has a knack for sweet but not syrupy romances peppered with humor and populated with colorful characters.” — Booklist

“Kristan Higgins consistently delivers powerful characters and a love story you will remember long after the last page.” — Bookshelf

“Waiting On You has everything that Higgins’s fans expect: smoldering sexual tension, messy, hilarious family ties, and laugh-out-loud humor.” — New York Journal of Books

“This emotional journey of two sisters is filled with drama, laughter and tears and squeezes the heart. It should be on every bedside table in the country!”
— #1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr on If You Only Knew

“Ms. Higgins makes the reader believe in love and second chances.”
— Romance Readers Connection


New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award, Kristan lives with her family in a small Connecticut town that boasts a wonderful library, a great agricultural fair, a really good ice-cream stand and not much else. She is the mother of two lovely kids and the wife of a brave firefighter who is also (perhaps more important) a fantastic cook.  Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. Writing, she found, was infinitely more satisfying than folding laundry, and so began her first novel. Kristan holds a BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which means she can identify dangling participles, quote many great novels and play a mean game of Scrabble. Kristan is an award-winning baker, devoted fan of the New York Yankees and an avid reader. She and her crew spend as much time as possible at the family home on Cape Cod, where they shiver in the
Atlantic, ride bikes, swat horseflies and don’t catch any fish.

Q&A w/ Kristan Higgins — ON SECOND THOUGHT

Q: ON SECOND THOUGHT is a novel about two sisters: Kate, who has been recently widowed, and Ainsley, who is newly single after her boyfriend of more than a decade dumps her unexpectedly. Where did the idea for this story come from? Were any elements of it inspired by real life?

A: I’ve wanted to write a story about a newlywed-turned-widow for a long time, because I think it touches on the fears of so many people—to have finally found the one, only to have it yanked out from under you. In Kate’s case, she hasn’t even known her husband a full year when he dies. She’s left her neighborhood in Brooklyn, moved her photography studio and is now left feeling stranded in his world, his hometown, the house he designed himself, down the street from his family. I loved the idea that while she loved Nathan, she still felt like they were getting to know each other completely.
Ainsley’s situation—being dumped after nursing someone through an illness—did come from real life, and since I started talking about the book, I learned it’s not that uncommon. Can you believe it? You put everything off, focus on your honey, devote yourself to his wellbeing, and then once he’s better, he decides it’s time to move on.
I guess I love writing about life swerving off track, just when you think you’ve mastered it. Most writers are sadists, so I guess I’m no exception.

Q: What are the challenges and rewards of writing a story with two central protagonists? How did you balance the narrative between Kate and Ainsley, who, despite being sisters, are quite different from one another?

A: Well, Kate’s storyline is obviously quite heart wrenching, even when there’s black humor infused into the scene. Ainsley’s issues are lighter and funnier, so I think they naturally balance each other. A huge part of the story is the sisters finding there’s more to each other than they ever knew. Since they have different moms, there’s already an intrinsic difference between them, and one of the things I liked best was the two of them finding out how much they have to offer each other.

Q: You are known for the wit and humor that you infuse into all of your books, and ON SECOND THOUGHT is no exception. How did you find the right balance between the serious themes of the novel and some of its lighter moments? This feels like a signature Kristan Higgins move…

A: I think humor and sorrow are different sides of the same coin, and they often happen at the same moment. Nathan’s wake was a scene that made me laugh writing one paragraph (when Kate is struggling with her Spanx while trying to look dignified), and cry the next…like when she looks at her husband in the open casket. I think finding and acknowledging those little moments and that balance are an intrinsic part of my work. I always think that if a reader doesn’t laugh out loud and cry real tears during one of my books, I haven’t done my job. I want each book to contain the whole range of experience, I guess.

Q: Although ON SECOND THOUGHT focuses a great deal on the growing relationship between Kate and Ainsley, it still has plenty of swoon-worthy romance for readers to enjoy. Can you tell us a little about the leading men in this book and what inspired them?

A: Sure! I was dying to write an uptight hero, and Jonathan Kent, Ainsley’s boss, is exactly that. He’s sort of a modern-day Mr. Darcy—terribly reserved, professional and at a complete loss for what to do with his chatty, relaxed, uber-cheerful features editor who doesn’t take her job too seriously. I’m gonna say Benedict Cumberbatch inspired Jonathan—not someone who’s immediately attractive until you get sucked in by his personality. And, in Jonathan’s case, his voice. Ainsley does give him credit for that.
As is often common after you’ve lost someone, Kate is surprised at who comes through for her. One of those people is an old friend from Brooklyn—Daniel Breton, better known as Daniel the Hot Firefighter. For almost as long as Kate has known him, he’s seemed like a cheerful man-whore, taking full advantage of the world’s crush on FDNY, never dating anyone for more than a few weeks. But when he starts showing up to help with his sister’s kids and dropping by to check in on Kate, she starts to see he’s more than a pretty picture.

Q: We have to ask, what are you working on now? Can you offer readers any hints about what they can expect from you next? (Any chance we’ll see Kate and Ainsley again?)

A: I have another book out in 2017 called NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT, which is about a woman who returns home to the Maine island where she grew up so she can reconnect with her mother and get to know her niece. And I’m working on another book right now that will be set in Cambry-on-Hudson, the setting of IF YOU ONLY KNEW and ON SECOND THOUGHT, so yes, there’s a good chance you’ll see some old friends.

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