“Using kisses to calm him from a nightmare wasn’t exactly professional behavior.”
THE STORY: Hallie Hartley is just beginning her career as a physical therapist. Hallie’s stepsister Shelly impersonates her in order to take her inheritance, a house on Nantucket. When Hallie finds out, she decides to step into the role that Shelly had created — being the physical therapist for a man who will be staying at Hallie’s Nantucket house. James “Jamie” Michael Taggert was injured in a skiing accident and comes to Nantucket to recover. Jamie is pleased to find out of the switch in sisters because he finds Hallie much more attractive than her sister. Jamie, however, has secrets that he doesn’t want to share which has caused him to want to recover away from his loving family. Jamie and Hallie also discover that the house they inhabit might be haunted by the ghosts of two sisters who are infamous matchmakers.
OPINION: This is the story of two people who have been damaged by life and bear scars physical and emotional. Hallie has survived despite her dysfunctional family and Jamie is hiding from the overwhelming love of his wonderful family. They join forces and manage to heal one another.
Hallie has been beaten down by her stepmother and stepsister. Abandoned by her family emotionally, she has gotten used to being second choice of almost everyone. At the same time, she is smart and sensible and works hard. When she discovers her stepsister’s deception, she doesn’t succumb to drama but takes on the responsibility of being Jamie’s physical therapist.
Jamie has a big loving family but he cannot bear to be with them because they are smothering him with their concern and care. When he comes to Nantucket, he finds that Hallie’s practical refusal to coddle him is exactly what he needs.
I really liked the updates on the characters from prior books and the appearances of various Montgomerys and Taggerts.
Unlike the prior books in the series, the ghosts here are less important to the story and are merely traditional hauntings. I missed the immediacy of the importance of the ghosts’ stories from the previous books in the series. There is nothing to be resolved with these ghosts. As a result, they remain distant and ultimately unknowable and less real than the other ghosts of Nantucket.
What was refreshing in this book was the practical and adult nature of the relationship between Hallie and Jamie. The two talk and have a relationship beyond the drama and emotional upheaval. They do simple things together that form the foundation of their relationship.
Ultimately, I liked this one a tiny bit less than the others in the series, but the addition of the influx of Montgomerys and Taggerts made the book funnier and sweeter.
WORTH MENTIONING: Lots of Montgomerys and Taggerts make appearances here. I have only read a couple of books in the series so I don’t recognize everyone but I can tell that readers of the series will know who these people are and get updated on their lives.
FINAL DECISION: I liked this story because of its connection to the broader Montgomery/Taggert series. This story felt cozy and filled with loving family. I especially liked that Hallie is able to help Jamie in ways that his family is not and how she is absorbed into the family. I thought the ghost story was a weakness here. It was better developed in the other books in the trilogy.
CONNECTED BOOKS: EVER AFTER is the third book in the Nantucket Bride Trilogy. This one can be read as a standalone although characters from prior books appear. This trilogy is also connected with the larger Montgomery/Taggert series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.25 stars.