Dane James worked my stepfather’s fields. He was the boy next door.
From the moment we met, we were star-crossed lovers—always wanting, never having. We loved each other for most of our lives, but right from the beginning destiny had other plans. She knew we would fall in love. She knew we would fall apart. Over and over again, like the curse of a recurring nightmare. Or the hope of a familiar dream.
Our past was tumultuous. Our future was bleak. But the one thing we always had was the beautiful now.
Until that was taken from us, too.
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This was undoubtedly a beautiful story, it had all the elements to make up a heart-wrenching sob-fest. I loved a lot of this story, it was unexpected both in the setup and the story-telling. Once I got into the story I was entranced, it did take me a while to become fully invested in Brinkley and Dane’s story, though.
The Beautiful Now is a second (or maybe third or fourth) chance romance. It stands out amongst most of the second chance romances I’ve read though. I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly why it stands out so much, but I do know it felt completely unique in its structure and delivery. The characters were interesting and unique, their relationship transcendent.
What made this book work so well was how Ms. Leighton juxtaposed the desperate love of their past with the jaded reticence of their present. I appreciated that we got entire passages from the past peppered throughout the story, rather than getting a glimpse here or a flashback there. Getting to experience the entirety of their time together at a specific age made those experiences more real and the feelings they wrought more effective and lingering.
My hands down favorite element of this book was the reason Brinkley returned to a home and a town she hated. It was also the catalyst that caused her to flee in the first place. It is what gave this book a flavor all its own, and likely what made it outshine so many other second chance romances I’ve read.
I did have a hard time getting into this book at the beginning. The first quarter, or so, was a little slow for my liking but as I read I realized those slow scenes – all of that little, seemingly inconsequential ‘stuff’ I didn’t connect with – was vital to setting up how Brinkley ended up in the last place anyone would ever ask to be in.
The Beautiful Now was a wonderful commentary on societal perceptions and expectations, as well as parental pressure and understanding. I appreciated how M. Leighton was able to delicately comment on how easily a society can skew a parent’s perception of what is the right thing for their own child. And how she then turned that type of right and wrong into something so much larger than I could have ever expected.
New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, M. Leighton, is a rarely ever comfortable speaking about herself in the third person, but here goes. Michelle is a former nurse who has always harbored a passion for the written word, a weakness for alpha males, and a profound love of all things romantic. Never in her wildest dreams did this Yankee-turned-Southerner imagine her life as it is today. She has the best job in the world, a husband who treats her like a princess, and a dog that’s so smart she may one day write a novel, too. You can often find Michelle hidden away in her cave, crafting a new story, or out in the sunshine enjoying some quiet time with her man. Movies, wine, and good food are frequently thrown into the mix, and exercise on days that start with Q. She loves laughter, chocolate, the color red, and you can find out more about her at http://www.mleightonbooks.com. Sign up for her newsletter here: http://smarturl.it/MLeightonNews She promises not to spam your inbox:)
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Also, if you like music, you might like to know that I do, too, and that it plays a big role in my inspiration. For that reason, I create a playlist for each book I write, adding the songs that inspire me as I go. You can find all my playlists here on Spotify