Back in Your Arms by Monica McCallan

Back in Your Arms
Published: 10/16/21

Reading a Monica McCallan book is like coming home. It can be stressful but brings you a comfort that you didn’t realize you were missing. Back in Your Arms, her latest, is another stellar read and reaffirms Monica’s place as one of the best writers in our community.

Quinn McKinley left Kingsford, NY seventeen years ago and is now a successful New York City real estate agent. When a new client comes along with wants to buy a house located in her hometown, Quinn returns to her hometown with her only objective to finalize the deal and get the hell out of town. She left Kingsford after her father left town and her mother shut down. Quinn took over caring for her sister, Kelly, but it was too much. She had to get away and left Kingsford and everyone there behind.

Quinn’s former best friend, Sawyer Kent, still lives in Kingsford where she runs the family antique store with her brother Shane. After the death of her grandmother the store was left to Shane, while Sawyer was left with the house. The house Quinn is sent to Kingsford on behalf of her client who is determined to own it, even though it isn’t for sale.

Kelly is shocked to hear from Quinn and begs Sawyer to go with her to meet her at the bowling alley Kelly and her husband own. Kelly is clueless that Sawyer was in love with Quinn back in high school as Sawyer kept that a secret, especially from Quinn. Sawyer was heartbroken when Quinn not only took a step back from their relationship but also started dating Shane. I have a lot of feelings about Shane and all of them are bad. Shane completely disregards Sawyer as a person and worse than that, doesn’t correct Quinn’s assumption that he’s the owner of the house she’s trying to purchase for her client.

Quinn was also in love with Sawyer back in high school and ended their friendship so her family drama didn’t bring Sawyer down. Quinn soon finds herself wanting to be back in Kingsford not only to reconnect with her family but also with Sawyer. For Quinn, Sawyer, was always her safe place. Time and distance hasn’t done anything to change that feeling.

I started this book feeling a lot of love for Sawyer. She always puts others first, she’s a great friend to Kelly and adores Kelly’s young daughters. She works with her brother despite how irritating and infuriating he is because she feels like her family would want her to do so. She works long hours at the antique store, while her brother saunters in in the middle of the day and could care less about making it a success. Seeing Quinn again, Sawyer realizes that the feelings she had as a teenager never really went away. While Sawyer was always Quinn’s safe place, Quinn gives Sawyer strength to make some much needed changes in her life.

Quinn threw herself into her career after leaving Kingsford. She shut down connecting with people. She thought she had to leave her hometown to continue living but she essentially stopped living the moment she left. It isn’t until after she makes her way home does she open herself up to feeling again. I fell for Quinn and just wanted her to find some joy in her life that wasn’t connected to career success. She deserves happiness and more importantly I wanted her to realize what a good person she was and how worthy she was of love.

Belinda, Quinn’s assistant and her sister, Kelly were great supporting characters. Kelly, who lost her big sister all of those years ago and has to work hard to forge a relationship with her. But Sawyer’s brother, Shane, is the clear villain in this story and every part of me detests him. It’s probably a good thing that I didn’t write this book because I’m pretty sure Shane would have gotten taken care of Dexter-style.

There are some authors I gravitate to. They simply speak to my soul.  They paint a picture that allows me to perfectly see the scenery and characters that they write about. Monica McCallan is one of those writers and Back in Your Arms is a beautiful book with characters that will warm your heart.

ARC received from the author for an honest review.

Favorite Quotes:

Her life was curated the same way that a room was expertly staged. Meant to convey exactly what she wanted the viewer to see. Highlighting the right features. Presenting the most favorable schemes blended together effortlessly.

Quinn had missed her terribly. She’d wondered what Sawyer would think of her new life, if she hated Quinn for what she’d done. Quinn hated herself, so it seemed only fair Sawyer would too.

Maybe it was some type of karmic punishment for the decision she’d made. She’d thought that seventeen years had put enough distance between the torture she’d felt in her youth and the woman she’d become.

Last night, when they’d been bowling, Quinn had hit a strike that had surprised them all, and her face lit up with pure excitement. Sawyer had felt like they were kids again; that same look used to take over Quinn’s entire face when she excelled at something..

It was so easy to fall back into Quinn’s orbit. She exuded an energy that made Sawyer want to lean in and let herself go along for the ride. Against the odds, they’d worked well as best friends. Quinn, the popular, outgoing one. Sawyer, the practical, introverted one.

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