What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend?
If you’re Kate Evans, you keep your friend Rachel, bond with her kids, and bury your feelings for her husband. The fact that Shane’s in the military and away for long periods helps-but when tragedy strikes, everything changes.
After Rachel, pregnant with her fourth child, dies in a car accident and the baby miraculously survives, Kate upends her entire life to share parenting duties. Then on the first anniversary of Rachel’s death, Kate and Shane take comfort in each other in a night that they both soon regret.
Shane’s been angry for a year, and now he feels guilty too – for sleeping with his wife’s best friend and liking it . . . liking her. Kate’s ability to read him like a book may have once sent Shane running, but their lives are forever entwined and they are growing closer.
Now with Shane deployed for seven months, Kate is on her own and struggling with being a single parent. Shane is loving and supportive from thousands of miles away, but his homecoming brings a betrayal Kate never saw coming. So Kate’s only choice is to fight for the future she deserves – with or without Shane. . .
What do you do when your soul mate marries your best friend? That’s the question posed by Unbreak My Heart and Nicole Jacquelyn certainly takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster ride to answer it. And I loved every page of it, even the heartbreaking ones. Now before I forget, I have to say that I loved how the author made the Epilogue mirror the Prologue. It’s not something I would expect would work well in most books, but the way it was done here was actually quite beautiful.
To set the stage, Shane was fostered by Kate’s parents the year he was seventeen. Kate fell in love with him, but he didn’t return those feelings. He joined the military and she went off to college. When she brought her best friend, Rachel, home for a visit, Shane pursued and eventually married Rachel. Kate’s love for Shane was so pure that she just wanted him happy, so even though seeing him and Rachel together broke her heart, she refused to cut them out her life. Whenever Shane was deployed, Kate helped Rachel with the kids and was so involved in their lives that she was like a second mother. But when he was home, she became invisible as Rachel spent as much time with her husband as she could. And this went on for almost decade without Kate saying anything because that’s how much she loved Rachel and Shane. But all that changes when Kate gets a phone call informing her that Rachel has been killed in an accident, but the baby survived. A year later, life throws another curveball at Kate when she has to hunt down Shane on the anniversary of Rachel’s death and an alcohol and grief fueled argument lands them in bed together. The morning after isn’t awkward, it’s vicious as Shane unloads on Kate in such a way that most people would have cut him out of their life. But not Kate. It’s not so much that she’s a doormat, but rather she’s been with the kids almost every day since the day they were born and she refuses to let Shane run her off. As Kate continues to step up with the kids and their lives become more entwined, Shane continues to do and say things that are hurtful, and the emotional pain is compounded for Kate because of the mixed signals that he sends her – until one day, he does the unthinkable and doesn’t just break her heart, but finally drives Kate to hate him. Of course, Shane realizes what he’s lost once it’s too late and he has to figure out how to undo damage he’s done to win back the love he spent years throwing back in her face.
Alright, so I did more than set the stage there and went into far more of an overview of the book than normal, but it really is just an overview and trust me when I say that I left the really juicy bits out. The point of the overview is to illustrate why I loved Kate so much. Sadly, the world does not have enough people like Kate in it. They exist, but we need more of them because Kate’s love for those close to her is so powerful that it’s awe inspiring. I wish I had a Kate in my life. Actually, I wish I was more like Kate. To love someone so much that you want them to be happy, even if it isn’t with you – it’s something to aspire to. It’s also why Shane was able to hurt her emotionally time and time again, and she kept coming back – not to be hurt, but because the metaphorical pound of flesh he took occasionally was nothing compared to the love and happiness his children brought her. And when he does the thing that finally breaks her and she’s forced to cut him out of her life – emotionally, if not physically – I, for once, was not cheering for the woman who was forced to draw a line, because his actions didn’t just crush Kate, they hurt the children as well. I suspect some will see Kate’s actions and consider her a doormat, However, I saw a woman whose inner strength and love ran so deep that she saw the scrimmages with Shane as minor battles to be lost in favor of winning the war to be able to continue to mother the children she’d helped raise. Seeing the moment when Shane realized the damage he’d done and what he’d thrown away wasn’t as satisfying as I would have expected it to be because despite how insensitive and obtuse he could be, at the end of the day he was still just a lost little boy in need of love. And watching Shane find that love again and do what he had to in order to mend Kate’s broken heart secured Unbreak My Heart’s spot on my reread list. I am so looking forward to the sequel, Change of Heart, because I really want to learn more about Bram and Anita and see them get their happy ending.