Beautiful and heartfelt.
A must-read for fans of the Shattered Hearts series.
It’s been eighteen years since Abigail was born with a hole in her heart. Five years since she collapsed on the soccer field. Five years, six months, eight days since she found out she was adopted.
Abby has spent five years wondering about the family she never knew and waiting for her eighteenth birthday. When Abby shows up on the doorstep of Chris and Claire Knight, her birth parents are overjoyed to see the little girl they lost eighteen years ago.
One summer is all they have to make up for the years they lost. But when opposing ideals collide, a summer of love soon turns into a summer of heartache.
I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure if I needed to read this book. I loved the Shattered Hearts series deeply. I shed tears with those characters. Loved those characters. Felt their pain, their heartache, their love and their loss. I just wasn’t convinced I need another book. I know some of you feel the same. But I’m here to convince you to read it. Because if you’ve loved Chris and Claire’s story, this book—Abby’s story—is a must read. It fills a hole I didn’t realize I still had. Completes a story that was left unfinished. Now that I’ve read it, and shed more tears, and realized just how much I needed it, how much I loved it, I can’t imagine their story… their happily ever after without this final, wonderful, heart-wrenching piece. It may even be my favorite of the entire series. It’s that good. Abby’s story doesn’t only belong to her. It belongs to the Knights. To the Jensens. To Caleb (whom you’ll meet and fall in love with). And to so many others who shared in Claire and Chris’ heartache when their baby was given up for adoption. When amidst tears, and as their hearts broke all over again, they said goodbye to their first baby girl. Eighteen years later, Abby shows up at the Knights and everything changes once more.
“For eighteen years, I was the sickly, fragile daughter of Brian and Lynette Jensen. Now… I don’t know who I am.”
Abby grew up with a broken heart. Minutes old, she was rushed to surgery. Surgery after surgery and medication after medication, Abby lived her life muted in fear of damaging her heart permanently and dying. Her boyfriend Caleb was always at her side. He knew her like no other and together, they grew up and fell in love, deeper each day. We see the tense dynamic between Abby and her parents. It’s clear they love her, but their fear of losing their only daughter has consumed their every thought and action, curbing Abby’s freedom to the point of resentment. When Abby learns of her adoptive family, she decides to wait on reaching out. What would the experience of meeting her biological parents be like? Why would they give her up? How could they?
But one night her father’s words pierce deeper than intended, and she finds herself at the Knights door.
“Hope: The biggest four-letter word in the English language. It’s bigger than despair. Bigger than resentment. Bigger than skepticism. Four letters that, when combined, can hold a broken heart together for eighteen years.”
This story is expertly imparted through multiple point of views, buttressing the statement I made above… Abby’s story belongs to so many. Her life means so much to many people and we see their hearts react, their thoughts process, their actions speak as the story continues to unfold. I can tell you that from this point forward, my tears fell unabashedly as all the feelings from the other books flooded my senses. The story morphed into unadulterated, raw feeling. It was all emotion and I felt my heart balancing on a razor’s edge as the story continued to take turns I didn’t expect.
Abby’s inner turmoil struggles with who she is, who she wants to be, who her parents want her to be. Her sense of self is adrift, but somehow, with the Knights, she feels wanted and treasured and a certain freedom she needed so badly.
“When I’m with my biological parents, I don’t feel like the frail girl I was eight weeks ago. I’m different. I’m the girl who got away. The girl who was strong enough to capture my parents’ hearts in a single twenty-minute meeting and hold them captive for eighteen years.
That’s the girl I want to be. I don’t want to be fragile anymore.”
At one point, I can say I felt shocked and breathless and utterly heartbroken. This girl goes through so much, but the beautiful thing is that despite living a life full of questions and doubts and sickness and an incessant need to belong at a soul-deep kind of level, one fact remained clear. Abby was so loved. So wanted.
Her story is one of love and loss, forgiveness and acceptance, belonging and family, heartache and heart-fullness. It’s about second chances and surviving the impossible. It’s about feeling broken, but learning to fly. And it was beautiful. Beautifully penned, beautifully evocative, and beautifully concluded. Cassia Leo does an amazing job with this finale to Claire and Chris’ story as all the pieces of their happily ever after fit together finally and forever. It was simply wonderful and I loved every moment.
“You can be anything you want to be now. Chase your dreams, Abby.”
Reading Order and Links
Chasing Abby must be read after Relentless, Pieces of You and Bring Me Home.
New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading.
She believes in true love and happy endings, and that the most palpable regrets come from watching those two things slip away. Her favorite books and movies are the ones that challenge her mentally and leave her emotionally scarred. Her family has declared her a “method writer” because she gets “in character” while writing. She believes becoming the character is the only way to truly understand him or her. Her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills.