Chicago 2001 – Annika is picking up groceries when she hears a familiar voice call her name. Though she only sees the person out of the corner of her eye, she knows it’s him…Jonathan. It’s been ten years since she’s seen that face or heard that voice. She wants to run but a voice inside her head tells her to stay put.
“Don’t run, take responsibility, be yourself”
Annika takes a deep breath and says hello. When they hug she still feels the safety and comfort she always felt in his arms. As they leave the store, Annika impulsively asks if they could get together sometime. Jonathan hesitates but eventually agrees.
The University of Illinois 1991- When Annika attended the University of Illinois you could find her at the Wildlife Medical Clinic, the library, or at chess club. Annika loved playing chess. During a particularly tough time at University, Annika considered moving back home. That’s when her friend, Janice took her to a chess club meeting, urging Annika to give it a try. Chess club gave her a chance to interact and be a part of something. Then Jonathan Hoffman joined the club.
Annika felt awkward and nervous around most people. She spent hours studying people, their behaviors. “Why were there so many things to think about? To remember? Why couldn’t I figure anything out in the moment instead of days or weeks later?” There were few people she could be herself with.
Jonathan was instantly smitten with Annika and was thrilled when she eventually agreed to go out with him. Being with Annika could be challenging at times, but Jonathan loved the things that made her different. He understood what many others didn’t. He also seemed to know exactly what to do when Annika was upset or overwhelmed.
Annika usually felt invisible, but it was different with Jonathan. With him, she felt safe…. and so much more. Their relationship was strong. But then something drove them apart.
Now that they have reconnected, is there any hope for their relationship? Will they be able to move past the hurt and anger?
A terrific novel that I read in just one sitting.
The story is told from Annika and Jonathan’s point of view, alternating between 2001 and 1991. The author’s descriptions made me feel like I was in the minds of these well-developed characters and I fell in love with many of them. There were a few parts of the story that may have seemed implausible, but I found those easy to overlook and just enjoyed this wonderful and heart-warming story.
A compelling and sensitive read about love and second chances. I am absolutely looking forward to reading more from Tracey Garvis Graves.
I’d like to thank St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an advanced copy of this novel. Opinions stated are my own.