The Best of Me: A Return to Briarwood Novel - Elisabeth Barrett

In the follow-up to Once and Again—hailed by bestselling author Claudia Connor as “a beautiful second-chance love story”—Elisabeth Barrett returns to the Briarwood, an unforgettable place where legacy and longing make dreams come true.
Jane Pringle never meant to fall for her boss. After landing a job as a pastry chef at the exclusive Briarwood Golf and Yacht Club in Eastbridge, Connecticut, she just wants to keep her son in a good school district and find some peace and quiet, far away from her manipulative ex-husband. But when Briarwood’s charismatic co-owner takes an interest in her, Jane’s best-laid plans go awry . . . in the sweetest way possible.
Rich and handsome, the grandson of one of the most powerful men in New York City, Preston North hasn’t lived quite the charmed life everyone believes. His family taught him everything he needs to know about betrayal—and Press wants no more of it. What he wants is Jane. The gorgeous single mom is selfless and kind, plus she’s got a backbone. To win her trust, Press just needs to shake off his playboy reputation.
They’ve each been burned in the past. But now Press and Jane will have to choose between letting their fears get the best of them . . . or breaking free and following their hearts.


This was such a sweet and addictive book. I haven't been reading many romances lately, but this had everything a good romance should have.


The plot between Jane and her ex-husband had me on edge with anxiety. It was easy to understand how Jane was feeling and to get drawn up in her emotions. Because of this, it was easy to relate with her and to become very involved with the book. Though the court case that sustained this book may have been a little overdone, it was okay because I completely understood how she was feeling.


I absolutely adored her son, Andy, and I loved how he had his own personality. There was one moment when I feared for him where my heart was in my mouth and I started skimming because I needed to know if he was okay. Later details showed just how kind of a soul he really was.


Press also had an interesting relationship with his family and it was intriguing seeing how these developed, matured, and change. All of the characters grew up in some way during this book.


The ending was very dramatic, but I loved it. I do wish that Mary had ended up going on a date as well, but more importantly, I was disappointed in how a conflict over a bird was never resolved--this was a huge concern for a big part of the book, but then it was simply forgotten.


This can stand alone completely, though at the beginning there was a bit of an assumption that the first book had been read, and I had to work to remember who the characters were.


I'm assuming that Grace will get her book soon with the third Briarwood investor, and I'm looking forward to it!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.