Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Book Review: A Little Ray of Sunshine

By Allyson Bales

Harlow, the eldest of four children, is the responsible and reliable one.  She owns a cozy and charming bookstore in Wellfleet in Cape Cod.  Her life goals consist of making her bookstore, “Open Book,” the best bookstore on the Cape and winning every trivia game she has ever played.  Much to her sister Addie’s disappointment, Harlow can't see herself getting married let alone having kids.  That’s until she meets Matthew, the son she gave up for adoption almost 18 years ago and told no one about.  Matthew convinced his parents to take a family vacation to the Cape secretly hoping he could meet his birth mother and comes into the bookstore one night.  Chaos and so much more ensues and like all of the other books I have read by Kristan Higgins, I was absorbed into the Smiths' world from the very start!   

Higgins' writing style is one of my favorites.  I often don’t get through one of her books without crying as her characters are always so layered with depth and so much heart.  A Little Ray of Sunshine explores the adoption process through multiple points of view and the way I rooted for and fell in love with her characters made this such a heartwarming read for me.  I work in mental health with at-risk teenagers and many of them struggle with shifting family dynamics and the adoption process.  Blending families is not an easy feat and the way Higgins depicted the experience gave me such an important perspective.  What it’s like to make that difficult decision for the birth mother and how it impacts their life after as well as what it’s like for the adoptive parents was eloquently and empathetically portrayed.

I also loved the Smith family.  They are a tight knit group with loving parents that are still so romantic after so many years, and involved and supportive children.  The characters are well developed and I really enjoyed getting to know them.  On top of that, Grandpop is my favorite character!  What I wouldn’t do to meet him in real life and take him home with me!  

Higgins is right, “Motherhood.  Not for sissies” and I loved following along on Harlow’s emotional and transformative journey.  There is so much depth in this story with incredibly engaging and well developed and relatable characters that makes this the perfect summer read! 

I also highly recommend another of Higgins’ reads, If You Only Knew.

Thanks to Berkley for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Kristan Higgins:

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