Don’t Hold On So Tight: ALL THEY EVER WANTED by Tracy Solheim



ALL_THEY_EVER_WANTEDA Second Chances Novel
Tracy Solheim
Penguin Random House/Berkley Adult
Mass Market Paperback and E-Book
ISBN 9780425281031
 304 Pages 1 Mar 2016

Galley provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.

In the new Second Chances novel by the author of Back to Before, even love might not prove strong enough to save a man’s promising future from a woman’s hidden past…

All he ever fought for…
Aspiring congressman Miles McAlister has dreamed of representing his hometown of Chances Inlet, North Carolina, since he was a boy. So when he’s asked to help run his mother’s bed and breakfast he moves home and rolls out his campaign at the same time. But political stardom isn’t a given, especially when he’s expected to compromise the very ideals he’s trying to uphold. Making matters worse is the inn’s stubborn, and distractingly beautiful cook. He’s loved and lost before, so falling for Lori Hunt is not part of his plan.
All she ever feared…
Lori just wants to do her job and be left alone until she can safely move on. The last thing she needs is to get involved with her boss’s son. Miles proves to be too sexy to ignore, however.  Their heated fling elicits feelings deeper than either anticipated. But everything about Lori is a lie. She’s harboring a secret that’ll destroy Miles’s career, and when the truth gets out it’s going to shock Chances Inlet to its core, forcing Miles to make the hardest decision of his life.


My Take Oblong


Tracy has really and truly come into her own with this series.  And this novel in particular addresses a great concept in really becoming and adult: re-evaluating our childhood dreams in the face of reality.

In Lori’s case her dreams were partly constructive, naive and headstrong. The naivete and stubborn streak made her dreams destructive.  She sought apoproval from a parent thinking it would make her life perfect and happy.  But like many dreams that depend on an idealized view of another person, this one is more detrimental to her life than not.

Miles’ dreams are good dreams.  The reality of achieving them, however, is not.  Is he willing to achieve his dreams and yet sacrifice his principles? 

We all have to reevaluate our dreams, maybe hold then a little less tightly. After all a childhood dream may be childish.  That doesn’t mean we failed, or that we’re giving up; we may realize we were plowing our row regardless of whether we were planting anything. Dreams change based on circumstance.  Lori’s dream nearly destroyed her life. Now she is living with the consequences of dreaming that her father’s approval equaled love.

At first, Miles is a total asshat.  He is attracted to and pursues Lori even though he doesn’t trust her. This really bothered me and reminded me of a guy sleeping with a woman for all the wrong reasons.  But, in his case his heart is in the right place even if his brain has reverted to cave man. Tracy subtly brings the two organs, along with one other, together to allow Miles to reevaluate his feelings about Lori. When they go from an offensive stance; a proactive position to protect his mom,  to defensive you know he has just gotten a HUGE dose of whatever he needed to grow up and grow a pair.

In fact Miles’ behavior is so nasty, I found it a little hard to believe any of the chemistry between him and Lori. The word “Prick” came to mind  rather often – and not just in his behavior to Lori.

In holding onto an unrealistic dream Miles almost loses his way.

The plotting is complex, bringing together story lines from other books in the series. A couple of other characters also have some story and resolutions. And, the story is rational, well paced and tight.

I liked this book a lot. And, it makes me want to take a trip down the coast to Chance’s Inlet.

Links Blue Horizontal