NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT – Kristan Higgins
Boston, Massachusetts and Scupper Island, Maine -- Present Day
Dr. Nora Stuart thought her life was all set…she had a medical career she enjoyed and a boyfriend she loved. But one day she ends up getting hit by a bug company van, and while everyone thinks she's unconscious, she overhears her boyfriend hitting on another woman. Nora breaks up with him, but she needs time to recover, so she returns to her childhood home, a place where she doesn't have a lot of pleasant memories. Her mother, Sharon, still works and lives there on Scupper Island, along with a temporary houseguest: Nora's niece, Poe, who is there because the teenager's mother is in prison. Then there are the people that Nora will likely have to face again, the ones who mocked her for being overweight, including Luke Fletcher, who hated her because she bested him to win a prestigious scholarship.
Nora's homecoming to Scupper Island is rough. Sharon acts like she's an indisposition, while Poe barely acknowledges her. Meanwhile, she learns Luke, who was a top scholar like her in high school, is now a druggie and alcoholic who can't hold a job. When she runs into him, he makes threatening noises. Luke's twin brother, Sullivan (aka Sully), is nice and warns his brother to stay away from Nora. Sully has a daughter, and Nora tries to bring her and Poe together. Of course, this brings her into more contact with Sully, but Nora isn't looking for love…or is she?
Nora proves it's hard to come home in NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT, but she manages to make it work. She was overweight as a child and endlessly mocked. Her one good thing was being super smart, and since her family had no money, she wanted to win a scholarship that totally paid for her college. Her competitor for the scholarship was Luke, and when he lost out, he went on a rampage in his car that ended with his only passenger, Sully, injured. Nora felt guilt over the accident (though it wasn't her fault) and left the island soon after by enrolling early into college. Nora does have fond memories of her father, but he left with no explanation when she was eleven, and that was the last she heard from him.
The reception of Nora on Scupper Island is mixed. Those who remember her still think of her as the fat kid, while those who support Luke thinks she should go away. But Nora brushes aside the snide remarks and decides to stay for the summer, mainly to be there for Poe. Nora gets a job at a clinic and moves to a houseboat, where she begins a new life on the island. Meanwhile, because she shares a dog with her ex, she returns at times to Boston. He wants to reconcile with Nora, but she hasn't forgiven him.
NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT is told in the first person by Nora and sometimes bounces back to recall the past, from her good times with her father, and to the bad times being heckled by schoolmates. Nora has had a lot of angst in her life, but she has picked herself up and moved forward. A year ago, she was beaten and nearly raped, and the culprit is still out there, but the experience is still deeply embedded in her psyche. Having Luke around and threatening her doesn't help. Will he do something to hurt her, or will Sully rescue her? Nora's plans are to stay until August, but will she decide to return to Boston? Can her relationship with her mother (and even Poe) be fixed?
An emotional read that'll pull you in, NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT will at the same time have you laughing at some scenes. Let's just say that Kristan Higgins is one of those writers who can combine suspense with comedy and she does it again in NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT. Grab a copy and be prepared to laugh, cry, and feel a need to hug someone like Nora.