Seeking peace while he decides between prestigious job offers, burned-out lawyer Matt Powell rents his boyhood vacation home at the Jersey shore on a nostalgic whim. However, discovering the lovely widow next door is his childhood best friend, Katie Vanburen, complicates everything. His old love for her hits hard, but this time around his feelings are anything but innocent. It's decision time: the high-profile career he’s earned—or a life he never dreamed possible loving his girl next door.
Twenty years ago, Matt broke Katie's teenaged heart when he vanished from her life after his parents' divorce. She grew up, buried her childish dreams, and moved on. New dreams shattered with her unfaithful husband's death, but now she’s a successful website designer and owns her beloved shore house. She's delighted to renew their friendship, but unready to trust her heart again—even if Matt's kisses tempt her beyond reason. But can her cracking defenses hold when Matt argues his case for love so eloquently, in bed and out?
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Childhood friendship turns into love
Kissing Katie is a sweet story of childhood friendship turning into mature love. I love how Matt is returning to the one place he was happy as a child - the Jersey shore - to think about the next chapter of his life, not realizing that his childhood friend was back next door. The author creates a pleasing view into the lives of a woman who is not really mourning the loss of her husband as much as the loss of love, and the hope of love. Matt turns out to be the one to give her hope in love again.
Katie as the heroine's name is Kissing Katie a perfect fit for her. Katie is a sweet hometown girl and her name just reflects her light, sweet personality so well. But the author also creates a complex character that has layers to her grief over the loss of her husband and her happiness. I was able to feel the pain and the happiness that Katie is feeling conveyed through the words. The author uses a good balance of dialog and what I call "mind speak", where we hear the thoughts of the characters, to give us insight into the thoughts and feelings of both Matt and Katie. We are able to feel the struggles Matt faces over choices with his career, and with reconciling his teenage feelings for Katie with his adult feelings towards her. We mourn with Katie as the truth of her husband's actions are exposed and shake her tenuous balance between the past and the future. The author paints a great picture of the emotions felt by both characters in this book.
The small town Katie lives in and Matt visits is depicted in such a wonderful light it makes the reader yearn for simpler times when a walk on the boardwalk and an ice cream cone fulfilled our days. I really enjoyed this visit to the Jersey Shore and getting to know Matt and Katie in Kissing Katie.
Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.