This was my first book by Kristin Hannah. I'm not sure if it is romance or women's fiction since it has romance and it's not only the women who go on a journey of growth and awareness.
It is the story of Elizabeth (Birdie) and Jack Shore. They married young and had 2 children which led to Birdie giving up on her dreams of being a painter. Jack was once a famous football player but an injury and later his dependence on drugs made him give it up and become a sports commentator on TV. The fact that he has already worked for several television broadcasters in several different cities made him the breadwinner and now that their children are at college Birdie starts to feel that she just tags along. She has achieved nothing professionally and that lefts her feeling hollow and dissatisfied.
When Jack has a big break and lands a new job in New York City Birdie starts having second thoughts about following since they had finally found a house that felt like home, and when her father suddenly dies she decides she will stay in Oregon and think her life through. A friend recommends her a women's support group where they encourage her to paint again and at the same time she has to face the stepmother with whom she always a difficult relationship. Meanwhile Jack must think what is more important for him, family or career. And they both have a hard time pretending that all is well for the benefit of their daughters.
I did like the story, Birdie and Jack were believable characters and even if we don't agree with their choice we can seen what made them do it. The main problem for me was that they weren't as interesting as they could be. I didn't truly engage with them or their story. So while this is certainly a well written story about not giving up on your dreams and not loosing yourself in someone else it failed to move me for the most part. Nicely done but that's all imho.