Beneath the Willow by Jeremy Asher
Beneath the Willow (Jesse & Sarah #2)
Jesse and Sarah’s journey continues in Beneath the Willow, the sequel to the heartfelt novel, Across the Creek.
For Jesse Malone, an architect in Chicago, life has been anything but easy. After losing the love of his life six years earlier, he is determined not to let love slip through his grasp once again.
Sarah Ramsey, a business owner in the Windy City, is struggling to keep everything together through a difficult divorce. Her husband, a once brilliant attorney, is about to lose his career along with his marriage and is set on making Sarah’s life just as miserable as his.
When Jesse and his fiancée, Kate, walk into a local floral shop to pick out the flowers for their upcoming wedding, Jesse runs into the only other woman he has ever loved, Sarah. Their brief encounter sets off a series of catastrophic events as Sarah reveals a secret that will test the foundations of their lives, leaving them with one certainty…life will never be the same for either of them.
Even though I didn't love Across the Creek, the first book in this series, I already had Beneath the Willow on my Kindle so I thought why not give it a go. I didn't hate the first book, I just found in unremarkable. This second book, even though it seemed like it would be the same story as the first but reversed, was much better. I still didn't love it, but it at least seemed to have some substance.
The story starts off with Jesse back in Chicago with his fiancee Kate. They go to get their flowers for the upcoming wedding and who do they run into? Sarah. Unlike Sarah, Jesse is committed to Kate, at least he is trying to be. Yes he has an almost mess up, but he pulls it together. He is not just going to ditch Kate now that he has found Sarah again, and not married/going through a divorce. Much better than Sarah making out with Jesse when she was engaged in the first book.
I liked Kate, though I didn't understand all of her ups and downs. At first I got it, but how everything was resolved, what she did I was just like really? So you did all of this last minute work and now you are just going to have your say and be done with this? Really? It didn't make any sense to me.
It is pretty obvious what the secret Sarah has is. I mean I guessed what it was based just on the cover, not even reading the synopsis. Sarah was a bit...I didn't really like her in this book. She had a lot of lame excuses for why she didn't tell Jesse sooner. Really would she have ever tried to find him if he hadn't stumbled into her store? And the whole not telling her then husband the truth as well...I just did not like her. She was so weak and lame.
Sarah's ex lent some drama to the story, but he was crazy. Not in a really believable way for me either. The end where he is super crazy was just a bit much for me. What happens I was just like come on. Do we really need to do this? Why can't we just leave these characters be and have everything be okay. Then the very end, Jesse's heartfelt speech under the willow tree...it was just like wait a minute. It has been almost a year and now suddenly you are in love with her again? What took you so long? I just didn't see it. I didn't see the two of them ending up together. I would have believed Jesse marrying Kate and being a friend to Sarah. Sarah can find her own other match and it would have been more believable for me.