FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Kensington Books (via NetGalley).
Series: Willow Park #2
Publisher: Zebra on August 25, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
In Sarah Hegger's latest Willow Park Romance, long-held crushes and past frenemies reunite--and wonder if there's ever a second chance to make a good first impression. . .
Holly Partridge had no plans to return to Willow Park, Illinois, until her troubled younger sister Portia fled her home and aimed herself straight at Holly's high school nemesis--too-gorgeous-to-be-true Josh Hunter. Riding a manic bipolar high, Portia's only a danger to herself, but Holly needs to find her before she crashes. That means asking Josh for help.
The ultimate love 'em and leave 'em lothario, Josh was never good for anything but a broken heart. But now he's lending a hand when Holly needs it most--and revealing surprising generosity and compassion. Has Josh shed his bad boy ways? Or is Holly suddenly grown up enough to acknowledge her own mistakes? Trusting Josh could be a disaster--or the first step in banishing the past to make way for a future happier than Holly ever imagined.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
When her younger sister disappears without her medication, Holly drops everything to find her and bring her back home. But her only real clues are the town to which she hoped never to return and the boy she couldn’t stand back in school. The one-time bad boy has a chivalrous side, and as Holly finds herself leaning on him more and more, those negative feelings she once harbored spin in the other direction and have her longing for a relationship she’s not sure her life can sustain. It’s up to Josh to show her that she’s not alone and that she deserves to have something wonderful for herself.
*Sigh* Just once could a bipolar character not be batshit crazy? Yes, I know it’s a serious illness, and I know how important medication can be, and I know all about the psychotic breaks and the manic episodes and the feeling like the world is ending. I know because I’m bipolar. But I also know what it’s like to remain functional and productive and independent without medication, and just once I wish fiction would portray that side of being a little bit nuts. Seriously, despite what television and movies and books portray, we’re not all completely unhinged.
Holly’s life seems to have been a series of sacrifices. It started when she and Grace, the oldest of four sisters, did their best to hide their mother’s mental illness from the younger twins, and even though their mother died years ago, it’s never really stopped. All this time later, Holly is still trying to protect her sisters, at the expense of having a life of her own, and now that Portia has run off in the midst of a bipolar episode that’s frighteningly reminiscent of their late mother’s behavior, Holly finds herself dropping everything to go after her.
The sisters’ dynamic is disturbing, to be honest. Grace got married and bailed on them, leaving Holly to deal with everything on her own. Portia is bipolar and prone to going off her meds, and Emma is far too dependent and immature to handle anything responsibly. Their mother (also bipolar) died years ago, and their father is too proud and ashamed to admit that anything has ever been wrong, so he’s essentially out of the picture. How Holly has maintained any sanity is beyond me.
Portia’s latest unmedicated adventure has her striking out for the town in which the girls once lived, though Holly can’t figure out why she was drawn there. Whatever the reason, she knows she needs to find Portia before she winds up hurt or in the grip of a full psychotic break, so even though it’s the last place she wants to be, Holly heads off to find her. But her awful luck continues when her car and all her belongings are stolen and she has no one else to turn to except the now-grown boy she hated in school.
While Josh certainly doesn’t understand everything that’s happening or why Holly seems to be holding such a strong grudge, he’s surprisingly chivalrous and pretty much insists on helping her — despite all the resistance she throws his way. And while Holly is loathe to admit it, the more time she spends with Josh, especially since he’s doing so much to help her, the more she finds herself liking him.
Though there is a strong romantic theme to the story, Nobody’s Fool isn’t all fluffy reconnections and heading into the happily ever after. Holly’s situation is a mess, and Portia’s apparent disconnect from reality makes things even more difficult for them all, especially on the romantic front. Josh is always at Holly’s side, doing whatever he can to help and support her, but the story is heavily focused on the girls’ journey to understand their past and Holly’s need to give up some of the burden she’s been carrying. It’s a sobering look at the effects mental illness have on not just the individual but the entire family, and though it’s a very slow, often discouraging journey, that happily ever after finally comes through.
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