Title: Last First Kiss
Series: Brightwater #1
Author: Lia Riley
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Publication Date: 23 June 2015
Source: Review Copy
Synopsis from Goodreads
A kiss is only the beginning…
Pinterest Perfect. Or so Annie Carson’s life appears on her popular blog. Reality is… messier. Especially when it lands her back in one-cow town, Brightwater, California, and back in the path of the gorgeous six-foot-four reason she left. Sawyer Kane may fill out those wranglers, but she won’t be distracted from her task. Annie just needs the summer to spruce up and sell her family’s farm so she and her young son can start a new life in the big city. Simple, easy, perfect.
Sawyer has always regretted letting the first girl he loved slip away. He won’t make the same mistake twice, but can he convince beautiful, wary Annie to trust her heart again when she’s been given every reason not to? And as a single kiss turns to so much more, can Annie give up her idea of perfect for a forever that’s blissfully real.
I honestly don’t know where to start with this review. I read Last First Kiss some time ago and have really struggled to put my thoughts into words. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t that I didn’t like the story, in fact I loved it. The thing is Annie is such a realistic and relatable character, I don’t feel as if I can do her or the story justice with my words alone. The story encompasses the theme of identity in a way all women and especially mothers will relate to.
Growing up in a small town as the outsider, her free-spirited artistic family classed as Kooky by the local popular crowd. All Annie has ever craved is to be loved and accepted for who she is. With a hundred year old feud to contend with and childhood cruelty; Annie escapes to college following the final blow to her self-esteem in the form of her only friend, Sawyer.
Growing up without a mother and an absentee father has left Annie longing for a relationship filed with affection and belonging. Overwhelmed when an older, sophisticated man takes an interest in her. Escalating quickly to marriage and parenthood; however, the dream is quickly crushed due to the narcissistic nature of said older man
Annie is a wonderfully strong, independent woman struggling to come to terms with the dysfunctional relationships in her life. Questioning her judgement, she pours herself into motherhood and in turn her parenting/lifestyle blog. Again, another completely relatable aspect for me, Annie uses blogging as an outlet and as a way to relate to her peers when she is unable to do so in real life. Although, and again I am sure we are all a little guilty of this, Annie’s online persona only shows a small part (generally the good bits) of the person she is as opposed to the warts and all variety people get in the real world 😉
It is so easy to lose sight of yourself and even in taking pride in your appearance when every waking moment is taken up with providing for your child while simultaneously navigating all the crap that daily life tends to throw at you. Loss of self-esteem is a really difficult thing to alter and ultimately it is only something that can be achieved by yourself. No-one else can do it for you. Although, once regained is something that is highly valued.
The story is told in third person narrative allowing the reader to gain much-needed perspective from all sides. Looking at family relationships and how fate takes you to where you should be. The narrative brings alive the idea that divine providence exists to step in when required to pave the way to your own personal happily ever after. Lia cleverly lays the foundations for the other storied due in the Brightwater series. The use of a social media persona within the narrative reflects todays society perfectly especially how easy it is to measure your self-worth as a direct reflection of the online presence you have.
Sawyer is swoon-worthingly old-fashioned where courtship is concerned. He has never really recovered from Annie and although he tried to move on, events left him a little distant. He has accepted his life lacks the type of loving relationship he craves but he values himself to highly to accept anything less. See what I mean utterly swoony Determined to make the most of the opportunity when Annie returns to her family home in order to sell it.
Annie and Sawyer are absolutely perfect for each other. Although past incidents on both sides cloud their judgement, the journey to a long-lasting, fulfilling relationship is beautiful to follow and provides a deep sense of hope for the future.
I really hope we get to see more of Annie and Sawyer in the rest of the series ♥