This novel was a good read. I am glad I took the time out to read it. I liked it because it had such a homey feel to it. It starts with giving us a bit of background on Riley's upbringing and I got a good sense of who he was and how he was raised. I liked his character because he went through a lot of stuff for someone so young. I related to him a lot when it came down to it. Being raised by just his mom for most of his life and her having to work hard just to provide. It's a fiction that mirrored my own reality.
Natalie's character was a bit more mysterious but normal when it came down to someone who had been abused for her whole life. She was raised a wealthy child but was the brunt of her parents' arguments and ill intents. Because of it she displayed major trust issues and a lot of fear, especially with the unexpected way her life turned out. I liked how the two main characters gelled though, as complete opposites but still remained best friends throughout their life. He protected her a lot, during her childhood and even through her return into his life. It was touching to see how they realized that they loved each other. What I liked so much was that I almost felt as if I knew the characters personally. Like if a friend of mine was recounting this from their own mouth. I appreciated that and it was a pleasant experience.
If I could be honest in my critiquing I would say only two things. I wish that the novel was a little bit longer. I didn't want the story to end. I wanted to know more... like, if their relationship would have stood the test of time, a little bit more about Nat's jerk parents, etc. The second thing I would say is that the novel kind of reminded me of The Notebook with the exception of the whole Alzheimer's thing that the Notebook had going on. To me it was the same kind of story, super romantic and deep on some levels.
Because the read was so short, I think I will give it 3 stars... just because I wanted more, even a few more pages would have made me feel better.