Our Next Chapter by Michelle Sullivan is a beautiful second chances romance that’s packed full of emotion. Ms. Sullivan weave’s a tale that encompasses heartbreak, betrayal, pain, anger, regrets, confronting the past, confusion, drama, trust, hope, passion, friendship, and love. I always know when reading one of Ms. Sullivan’s novels that my emotions are going to get a battering, and this story was no exception.
Karalyn James and Desmond Madden (Dez) were inseparable as children, there isn’t a childhood memory that doesn’t contain the other. They would often talk about their future, dreaming and planning their lives together- with the expectation that they would eventually marry, have babies and grow old together. Their bond of friendship developed and grew over the years and eventually turned romantic, then blossomed into much more on the night of Karalyn’s Graduation. This was a pivotal moment for them- their love had been sealed for eternity- or so they thought at the time.
Because of situations out of either of their control, Karalyn moves to San Francisco, which breaks both their hearts. The plan was always that Dez would join her there as soon as possible, but fate had other plans. His betrayal cuts deeply, shattering her heart into a million pieces and leaving her alone at a time when she needed him the most.
Karalyn moves on with her life as best she can, but a large part of her is stuck in the past, still grieving the shock and loss. Seventeen years is a long time to be in denial, and a long time to spend avoiding your home town. But, here she is after all these years finally back in the town that holds all her painful memories. She didn’t think she’d ever return but eventually relented for her brother who’s throwing a party. She also thinks it might be a good time to also put the ghosts of her past to rest. But what she doesn’t expect is to have all those old feelings come rushing back the moment she arrives back in town. Having to confront her past again after all this time will test her on many levels. But ultimately, she discovers that she never really moved on at all and her heart had always belonged to Dez. What happens when they come face to face after so long? And what happens when their truths are laid bare? With deceit, betrayal and manipulation in the mix- will the real truth finally come out? Will these revelations unite them once again, or destroy any shred of love they had left?
These characters were amazing- so realistic, relatable and believable. I was rooting for them fairly early on in the story. This story took me on quite the emotional journey, which is something Ms. Sullivan excels at. I felt their pain and heartbreak and couldn’t believe what they’d been through- especially when everything that happened when they broke up is fully revealed- I was shocked and hurt for them. There were definitely a couple of characters that I wanted to hit after finding out what happened!!!
Another wonderful story from Ms. Sullivan. I am looking forward to reading Quinn’s story next in “Our Unexpected Hope”.
Thank you, Ms. Sullivan!
Reviewed by @angelahayes