I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.What It Takes: A Kowalski Reunion Novel by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on February 28, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General
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Revisit all of your Kowalski favorites while falling in love with a brand-new romance in this reunion novel from New York Times bestselling author Shannon Stacey
Laney Caswell is looking for a change. A decade's worth of less-than-happy matrimony behind her, she wants peace—movies, books and, best of all, a new job at the Northern Star Lodge in Whitford, Maine. Spending the summer living in a camper is her chance to rediscover what makes her happy, and a perfect transition to her new life.
Being a paramedic in Whitford is nothing like Ben Rivers's city life, but when Josh Kowalski offers him the job, the lure of his hometown is too much to resist. Also too much to resist: Laney Caswell. Ben always thought he'd have a wife and kids, a happy family like the Kowalskis have all built, but he never made time in his life. Now he's found a woman who draws him like no other and helps him dream again—and the last thing she wants is a husband.
When the annual Kowalski family camping trip is moved to the Northern Star, both Ben and Laney are surrounded by the kind of happiness they've always wanted but never had. It just might be theirs—if they can put aside the past and reach for it together.
I have to say that this is a very bittersweet book to have read but I loved it. Bitter in the fact that this is the last Kowalski book but sweet in that it shows the reader so many things about how the couples have stuck together and grown as a couple. I love this series and am sad to see it end but know that Shannon will keep providing us with great stories in the future.
Ben has finally come back home and is ready to settle down with the right woman but he isn’t in a hurry to do it, he just knows he wants it. He’s struck by how many people around him have found their partners but I appreciated how he really was honest about it to himself and to Laney. He is a wonderful man though and intuitive enough to know he needs to let things move organically with Laney. He is so sweet to her and makes sure that she doesn’t feel like he is taking over for her or that he doesn’t feel that she can do things on her own. I quite enjoyed his character and the fact that he was honest about what he was looking for even as he worked hard to not put pressure on Laney. I also fully understood why he got so hurt by some of her reactions but he never really took it out on her. He just said his piece and let the cards fall where they may.
Laney was a character I understood. I understood how easy it is to let yourself fall away in order to preserve the peace. I understood how hard it is to make decisions about what to do with your life when you aren’t certain who you are any more. I understood it because it is something that I am struggling with in real life. I also appreciated the fact that while she didn’t want to want Ben… she wanted Ben and was honest with him as to what she was struggling with. I got why she reacted the way she did in the closing section of the book. I didn’t like it in a way but I got it. I also loved how being around the craziness that is the Kowalski family helped her see what she wanted and made it possible for her to finally understand what was important. She really does fit in with the clan and seeing her embrace life was such a nice feeling.
There are moments with Sean and Emma that will be a bit sniffle worthy but they were appreciated as we see a couple come to terms with their relationship and what matters. I also loved seeing Rosie and Andy but also just in general getting some glimpses of the family we love. For fans of the series this is such a wonderful close to a great set of stories.