The Magdalene series is one of my favorites by Kristen Ashley. These books, The Will, Soaring and now, The Time In Between are glorious. Their setting is simply sublime and no one, NO ONE describes a setting better than our Rock Chick. The Magdalene series also revolves around older, more mature characters. These three couples have lived life, had life experiences, screwed up royally, as we all do along the way and grown into themselves. It’s relatable, it’s emotional and sometimes it’s hard to read because it hits so close to home.
At first I thought, uh oh, I am not going to like this Cady chick, she’s a little too forgiving for me, dangerously close to doormat. But then I was very quickly of the camp that believes Cady’s heart is just too damn pure for this world. God, that woman, I love her. I feel her. Cady’s was born into a family of truly terrible people, luckily, she made her own way and that is due, in large part, to Cady’s beautiful heart. There really are not enough superlatives to describe Cady’s heart.
And then there’s Coert and I’m not going to lie, at first I was pretty damn sure I was not going to be onboard with this dude. Nope, not a fan, especially when he cut Cady low with his words. (damn near close to Tate-deep cut words) He says some things, some hurtful things you can’t take back, said in the heat of the moment to simply lash out at his pain but still…nope, I was not getting on board, that train was leaving the station for me. But then I watched him with his little girl, Janie and then, more importantly, I saw him through Kath’s eyes. Kath is Cady’s sister and I know it sounds funny to say that I softened towards Coert when I heard Kath’s thoughts but that’s exactly what happened for me. It was a perfect buffer I needed to see what was really going on behind both of their actions.
The epitome of second chance romance, Cady and Coert came together in a rush of young love and split apart in a surge of immaturity and hurt. While they both moved on and had beauty in their lives, they never recovered from that first blush of love. Now, almost two decades later, they have their second chance.
So, if you know anything about Kristen Ashley heroes, you know they are not big on the grand gestures of the ultimate grovel. You’re going to be hard pressed to find a textbook grovel from a KA Alpha. They aren’t built that way, and that’s okay. But, when they do get their heads out of their asses, and let’s face it, it’s often the dude needing to get his head out of his ass, they say the words that irrevocably gut you in all the right ways. It’s not flashy but it’s deep. I’d liken Coert’s pulling his head out of his ass scene to that scene with Ty, on the beach…yeah, simple words from a man not keen on expressing his emotions are some of the most heartfelt words. Kristen Ashley is a master of these scenes and Coert does not disappoint.
There’s a part in the book that talks about how Johnny Cash once described paradise. He famously said, “this morning, with her, having coffee” and I have always loved that quote, it beautiful in its simplicity and honesty. That’s where Coert and Cady are, they are finding their paradise. Yes, they are racing to catch up the time they lost but they aren’t moving so fast that they don’t recognize the beauty of their paradise. Not gonna lie, when they start pointing out those small moments, the quiet times, to each other, I was a bawling mess. It should be noted, I am not a big crier when it comes to books – sorry, Pamper’s commercials will make me snot all over the place but it takes a lot for me to bring the tears when I’m reading. The Time in Between got me smack in the feels, and it got me good on several occasions…in public no less. That Johnny Cash reference basically opened the floodgates for me! (It should be also noted, the secondary characters of this book are fabulous but seriously, even fictional characters should know to never work with kids or dogs because they will always steal the show, always.)
One last thing, a funny thing, completely off topic but you know me, I love to make you laugh. In the book, Cady sends Coert bitmojis. Yes, I realize how odd it seems to type the words “Coert” and “bitmoji” in the same sentence but she does and she has to explain them to him. This little scene made me laugh and laugh and laugh because our fearless Rock Chick taught me the joy of bitmojis and I pester my children with them on the regular now. As a matter of fact, they often respond back to my bitmojis with the simple phrase, “Damn you Kristen Ashley”!
In summary, The Time in Between is beautiful. A perfect ending to my favorite Kristen Ashley series. It gives us little check ins with other characters, both inside the Magdalene world and also some friends from Denver. Cady and Coert’s love story is an epic one, one that spans lifetimes, really. It’s a story about enduring love, broken hearts, healing hearts and beautiful souls. I’ll go to my grave thinking Cady’s heart is too pure for this world and I’ll never be mad about it. Go get swept away by this love story, you won’t regret it.
He looked me up and down, turned his gaze through the expanse then gave his serious expression back to me.
“Been doing this job a long time. I can see when a buyer is interested and I can see when they’re interested in something that they know is gonna be a heck of a project, but that doesn’t matter to them because they’ve fallen in love. And I see that last is happening with you. So I gave you full disclosure, now I’ll give you full honesty.”
“That would…” I hesitated because I wasn’t sure my last wasn’t a lie, “be appreciated.”
He didn’t hesitate.
“See, this is a lot of work and you got it in you to restore it, great. But there are buildings, land. Take an entire day even with a riding mower, probably, just to mow the lawn. And the townsfolk’d lose their minds, you mow over the tulips that coat the place come full-on spring. No one knows how those tulips got here, but Google ‘Magdalene Lighthouse’ and that’s pretty much all the pictures you’ll see.”
God, I couldn’t wait to see that and I was going to Google it the minute I got back to the inn.
“But you’re a slip of a thing, apparently on your own, and this is gonna be a lot for you.”
He lifted his hand and shook it at me even as he shook his head and kept speaking.
“I’m not being sexist. Like I said, I’m being honest. But more, it seems close to town, and it is, ish, you go the direct coastal path into town, which is just over two miles of walking. But by the roads, since it goes inland then eastward, it’s over five miles to get out here and there isn’t anything built within the first two, primarily because of that light and the horn I told you about. But also because Magdalene likes this view unencumbered, so a lot of that is parkland so it’d stay just that way. That means this is a lot more secluded than it looks from town.”
This was not a deterrent.
This could be, in future, if things went awry (and they were probably going to go awry), a boon.
I’d need to be secluded, separate, reclusive.
But regardless, I was one of those people who could be good on my own. I hadn’t had a lot of that in recent years, what with Patrick and his family, but when I had it, I could enjoy it.
And if I had this lighthouse all to myself, I had a feeling I could learn to love it.
“So, just to say, you should consider all that when you consider buying this,” he advised. “But I’ll also say I know you’re from Denver. And I know New Englanders are considered unfriendly by folks out west. We’re not. We’re just different. We like what we know and who we know. We depend on tourists but, being honest, they can sometimes be a pain in the backside. But you move here, you’ll be one of us. Simple as that. And to prove that’s true, if you don’t have someone who’s coming here with you to help you take this on, then I’ll be the first to share I’m happy to look after the old girl when you’re away. You just call on me. And if I can’t, I’ll help you find someone who can. We in Magdalene been looking out for this lighthouse for years. But if she comes with you, we’ll look out for you too.”
I stood there, immobile, and stared at him.
And I did this suddenly needing to cry.
He didn’t know me. He didn’t know my past. He didn’t know how stupid I’d been.
So unbelievably stupid.
He didn’t know.
So he couldn’t judge.
Maybe this could be a new chapter.
Maybe Patrick knew exactly what he was doing in a variety of ways.
I fought back the tears as he concluded, “And that’s not a gambit to get you to buy. You can’t know I’m telling you the truth until you put me to the test. But just to say, feel free to do that. You’ll learn soon enough.”
I tore my eyes from him and blinked at the landscape, taking in a deep breath through my nose, recalling his name.
“You wanna see the outbuildings now or you wanna go up and look at the lens?” he asked.
I wanted to look at the lens.
Then I wanted to go look at the outbuildings.
But I didn’t say either.
I looked again to him.
“I’ll be needing the name of a good contractor.”
His eyes lit as he studied me and one side of his lips quirked.
“You’ll need to be looking at the outbuildings, gal,” he advised gently.
“Yes, you’re right,” I told him. “But I’ll also be needing the name of a good contractor.”
He continued to study me and he did this until I smiled at him.
And when I did, the half lip quirk disappeared and Robert Colley smiled back.
Smooches,Tags: 5 stars, Contemporary, scandal, second chance, The Magdalene Series