Yesterday I reviewed “In a Lifetime” and loved it so much I had to get the novella and novel that came after them 🙂 I decided to review them in one post since the novella is so short!
“In an Instant” (Lifetime Book 1.5), by Ariadne Wayne
Publication: Wendy Smith; January 29, 2016
Synopsis: This novella is not a stand alone book and must be read after In a Lifetime.
Two years after the events of In a Lifetime, Ella finds her settled life disrupted by a surprise visitor. Three friends try to work out how to put the past behind them for the sake of a little boy.
As you read in my review yesterday of “In a Lifetime,” I absolutely loved it so immediately downloaded and started reading the novella that comes between parts 1 and 2, “In a Heartbeat.” If you plan on reading this series you may want to stop reading this now but I will try to avoid any spoilers!
Ella and Matt are happily settled in their home on her parents’ farm, with Matt working on the farm and still taking care of contracts from his previous job, but primarily working from home. Ella spends her days playing with the kids and they are all completely, utterly happy. Then one day just after Ella puts the kids down for their naps, Sam shows up in their driveway trying to make amends and wanting to see Finn, his biological son that Matt has been raising since Finn was born. Suddenly, Ella and Matt have to decide whether to try and trust Sam, who claims that he has changed.
This novella was very, very short – taking maybe 30 minutes or so to read, but it was still full of all sorts of good stuff. I loved that years later Matt and Ella are still incredibly in love and mushy-gushy types 🙂 Although the farm isn’t making much profit, everyone is happy, healthy and content. At first, I was very skeptical of Sam, but his character was more like the Sam we were first introduced to in “In a Lifetime,” and he seemed more mature and full of good intentions. Despite the short length of the novella, there was a great deal of growth within and among Ella, Matt and Sam and the story was both entertaining and suspenseful as I wondered what Sam would say or do and how Ella and Matt would react to him. I honestly felt like it could have been condensed into an epilogue of the first novel, but it was still an excellent transition into Vanessa’s story in the next novel.
“In a Heartbeat” (Lifetime Book 2),by Ariadne Wayne
Publication: Wendy Smith; August 14, 2016
That’s all Vanessa Brown sees and feels when she closes her eyes. Having a baby wasn’t part of the plan, losing one breaks her heart.
Until her miscarriage, Vanessa has the perfect life. Newly qualified as a doctor, she has a loving boyfriend, Connor, and the world at her feet. But with the loss of her baby, her fear and hurt cause the breakdown of her relationship.
Doctor Dylan West is new to the hospital, and has all the right words to say to a woman starting all over again. Vanessa takes a chance, and discovers that new isn’t always better, and the mistakes of the past sometimes come back to haunt you. Even when they’re not your own.
This book is a follow-up to In a Lifetime, but can be read as a stand alone.
Not only did I love Vanessa’s story in “In a Heartbeat,” I loved how author Ariadne Wayne touched on several sensitive issues and handled them beautifully. Vanessa has finally become a practicing physician in a hospital and is still happily together with Connor. The book begins, unfortunately, with Vanessa and Connor going to the emergency room because she is 8 weeks pregnant and has started cramping and bleeding badly. A fellow student through med school and now co-worker, Will, is the one that examines Vanessa, despite her initial attempts for someone else (just because of the awkwardness), and he is the one that confirms that she has miscarried. Vanessa is struggling with guilt because she was not happy about the baby upon learning that she was pregnant, but after watching and feeling Connor’s enthusiasm and excitement, she had come around to the idea. After the miscarriage, Connor is wonderful trying to meet her every need and be patient with her mood swings, but eventually, she pushes him away and he moves out.
Vanessa throws herself into working long hours but also builds a very close friendship with Will and his girlfriend. When a new doctor shows up at the hospital and begins flirting, Vanessa thinks she may be ready to start moving forward, but then quickly gets burned as she realizes he was dishonest with her about something very important. She continues trying to get her life together throughout the novel, even reaching out to Sam at one point. As Connor’s sister wedding gets closer, and Vanessa has agreed to still attend despite her and Connor’s situation, she begins to feel healthier about her life and realizes what Connor has meant to her all this time.
**So there is somewhat of a spoiler here, so again, stop reading if need be! Vanessa not only deals with a miscarriage and then the split between her and her long term boyfriend, but also deals with infidelity when she realizes that Dylan is married and has a daughter. She’s humiliated and furious once she realizes that she was a part of the same thing that Sam had done to her sister, thus why she reaches out to Sam trying to get the answer to “why do men cheat?” The author not only provided an honest portrayal of miscarriage and the emotional roller coaster that follows, but where she showed the side of the wife that has been betrayed in “In a Lifetime,” this time she depicted the feelings and backlash of unknowingly being the “other woman.” **
I’ve loved Vanessa throughout this series and although I felt frustrated with her at times during book 2, I still marveled at her strong character. Vanessa’s bond with her sister and Matt continued to strengthen throughout this book, and she formed an unlikely friendship with Sam, really showing a more understanding and tender side of her character. I empathized with her several times, especially when anything negative happened and she tried to share it with her mom, the mom would begin with, “what did you do?” After reading and looking back on the 2 novels and the novella, I would have to say that Vanessa underwent the most development and transformation of any of the characters so far.
I loved Ariadne Wayne’s writing style and plot development, as well as, her ability to create such vivid images without going too much into detail where it gets cumbersome to read. As I stated in my review yesterday of “In a Lifetime,” Wayne’s characters are incredibly relatable experiencing issues that anyone could encounter, making it so easy to identify with and fall in love with this family. I cannot wait for the last book to be released in the Lifetime series, and also am so excited to begin reading other series that she has written. I highly recommend this wonderful author and her engaging, emotional but romantic books!
Learn more about Ariadne Wayne by visiting her web page.