In Take This Regret, we are introduced to two unforgettable characters: Christian Davison and Elizabeth Ayers. They are both pursuing a career in law for different reasons, but an unexpected pregnancy changes Elizabeth's course. Within the first few pages of the prologue, my heart went out to her - this strong female, determined to have her child, with or without Christian's support. I immediately wanted to hug Elizabeth tight, and I so admired her courage. Fast-forward five years: Elizabeth is a single mother; Christian is a rising star in his father's law firm. But even though he has the life he has always wanted, until a chance encounter with the daughter he walked away from before she was born.
Amy Lichtenhan propels the story forward with perfect pacing - there is action when needed, heart-pounding and intense at times, and other, slower periods where the reader gets to watch a changing Christian bond with his young daughter, Lizzie. Wrapped around the pacing is the heart of this story: Christian and Elizabeth, and their love for their daughter. We see Elizabeth struggle with letting Christian have any part in her life, just as we see him battle with the guilt and the shame he carries for having missed the first five years of her life. Lichtenhan does an seamless job of lifting these characters and their emotions off the pages. I cried, more than once, reading this story, because of what it made me feel.
The characters were all genuine, people you would want to know, or have known, but Christian, for me, was by far the most fascinating. An arrogant rich boy following in his father's footsteps when we first meet him, the growth he goes through, the changes he exhibits, and the humility he learns, are truly fabulous and well-told. Elizabeth grows so much as a character, as well. I thought a great deal about these two, when I wasn't reading Take This Regret, and about their relationship. So much bloomed between them over the course of hte story, sometimes unsaid, often complicated, but to me, they felt so true-to-life. Relationships happen, they end. It's all of it hard work, and I feel like Amy did an amazing job of showcasing Christian's redemption, and Elizabeth's hesitation.
I had a few issues with getting into the book. The prologue rapidly switches point-of-view, which threw me off a lot, but after the first couple chapters, I was hooked. I also was not okay with someone Elizabeth did, a choice she made that affected her daughter, and was glad, so glad, to see it all resolved. And...I wish the book had been longer! The story was wrapped up nicely, but those 252 pages flew by, and I would have liked a little more time with a few of the characters, especially Christian's mother, who also showed fantastic character growth. There was just so much of that in the book that I'm still swoooning a little.
Overall I would recommend this book for fans of both contemporary romance and women's fiction . Amy Lichtenhan's writing style is easy, natural, and her story-telling is spell-binding. Take This Regret is a story with a strong, beating heart. It will stay with you, even after you read the last page, because along the way, you didn't just meet characters: you made friends.
More of my reviews available at Once Upon a Prologue