Emily Ackerman has traveled the world, her constant compass and companion a book of letters her mother left for her when she died. With no father in the picture, her mom's advice has been her only true north. But when professional failure leads Emily back to Nantucket to renovate and sell the family cottage she inherited, she wonders if her mom left advice to cover this . . . especially when her grandmother arrives to "supervise." And especially when her heart becomes entangled with Hollis McGuire, the boy next door-turned-baseball star who's back on the island after a career-ending injury.
As sparks fly between her and Hollis, Emily is drawn to island life, even as she uncovers shocking secrets about the tragic accident that led to her mother's death. With her world turned upside down, Emily must choose between allowing the voices from her past to guide her future or forging her own path forward.
This is such a beautiful story.
I wanted to cry through parts of it, I was that emotionally caught up in the story, and found so much I could relate to with Emily. I loved visiting Nantucket through this story, partially because I’ve always wanted to go there in reality. Courtney Walsh really brought it to life for me in If for Any Reason.
Emily’s story is such a heart-rending one. She’s had a hard life, and faced so many difficult things. Her life has been spent running, trying to be who she thinks her mom would have wanted her to be. All she’s really been doing is chasing after those dreams so hard she’s ignored the desires of her own heart, and hardly knows how to allow herself to be real and authentic. More importantly, how to let others in, or to be a part of her life.
She grew up without a dad, believing that her dad wanted nothing to do with her, he didn’t even love her enough to get in touch, or anything. Her main, guiding hand has been her mom’s journal, full of letters she wrote for Emily. Emily’s mom died in a tragic car accident when Emily was quite young, leaving Emily to be raised by her snobbishly rich grandparents.
Visiting Nantucket where her Mom’s accident occurred is very difficult for Emily. It’s like she finally has to force herself to remember, to grieve, and more.
Meeting Hollis, her childhood friend and Nantucket neighbor, is a huge part of this process. He, along with his entire family, were crucial to Emily’s growing up years, and now they are again when she returns to Nantucket.
If For Any Reason deals with forgiveness, second chances, and of course, love. Courtney Walsh has such a way of writing out a story, it left me feeling sad, but hopeful. The journey of Emily is one that speaks to the part in each of us that is struggling, seeking to find our way among the hard things in life.
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