I’ve been living under a rock for a couple of weeks with work and life responsibilities taking precedence over reading. Although Back to You has been on my TBR list for months, I hadn’t realized that it had released over a week ago unbeknownst to me. See, when it comes to a Lauren Dane book, I stalk her website for release dates and a book is barely off the press before it’s in my greedy little hands. Somehow, this one totally slipped by me. I’d been between books for a while, in sort of a slump, so when I saw it mentioned in my Twitter feed I knew I had to rectify this situation — pronto!
Back to You had a different feel than most other books I’ve read by Ms. Dane. Although there’s plenty of tension between Vaughn and Kelly, there’s no unexpected plot twist or excessive melodrama, which I appreciated from a second chance love story where the MCs had already been through so much prior to this point. Vaughn has a lot to atone for and I’m glad Ms. Dane wrote a story where we get to see real growth as he and Kelly make their way back together.
I felt that Back to You leans heavily on Kelly’s backstory and overall development since we’ve already gotten to know a lot about Vaughn in his brothers’ books. Kelly was a strong heroine — a woman who had overcome a troubled childhood with an abusive stage mother. Kelly was everything to her daughters that she didn’t have growing up and best of all she’s no pushover with Vaughn (or anyone else), even when that might have been more natural for her. I enjoyed that Kelly was hard on Vaughn. A simple “I’m sorry” wasn’t sufficient.
Kelly had some angry moments that were very necessary. Those moments made the story authentic and made me hurrah because forgiveness is earned, not a right. I never felt as if Kelly was unreasonable or that she was being a hardass for the sake of it.
Admittedly, the story dragged a wee bit in the middle for me, perhaps because there weren’t any stupid mistakes made or miscommunications that made me doubt Kelly and Vaughn would make it. That being said, there’s a realness to this story that takes us on a fantastic journey of forgiveness and healing. Not just between Kelly and Vaughn, but his family as well, particularly with Vaughn’s mother. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Hurley family matriarch, Sharon, since we met her in Delicious, so I enjoyed her eating a big platter of crow this time around.
As I did in the previous books of the series, I greatly enjoyed how Ms. Dane highlights the strong friendships between women; specifically Kelly and Stacey in this case. The women are positive and uplifting to one another. Stacey, a jaded divorce lawyer, is definitely a character I’d love to see get her own book one day.
My only quibble with Back to You is that it happened along the same timeline as Tuesday and Ezra’s story in Broken Open, so we didn’t get what I’d hoped for the last Hurley brother’s book, which was an epilogue to wrap up all the couples’ happy ever afters. Nevertheless, Back to You is still a bonafide win for me!