Spotlight & Excerpt Out of the Clear Blue Sky

Out of the Clear Blue Sky by Kristan Higgins

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Release Date: June 7, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

Kristan Higgins newest book – Out of the Clear Blue Sky – is the perfect beach read! Heartwarming and funny, this book follows Lillie, recently divorced after her husband dumps her for another woman. With a grown child now in college, Lillie isn’t quite sure what to do with her life. Soon she’s bonding with people in her life that she never thought she’d get close to. Maybe this isn’t the end of life for Lillie, but rather the start of a new chapter?


SYNOPSIS

From New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins comes a funny and surprising new novel about second chances–and why the lies we tell ourselves are the most dangerous.

Lillie Silva knew life as an empty nester would be hard after her only child left for college, but when her husband abruptly dumps her for another woman just as her son leaves, her world comes crashing down. Besides the fact that this announcement is a complete surprise (to say the least), what shocks Lillie most is that she isn’t…heartbroken. She’s furious.

Lillie has loved her life on Cape Cod, but as a mother, wife and nurse-midwife, she’s used to caring for other people…not taking care of herself. Now, alone for the first time in her life, she finds herself going a little rogue. Is it over the top to crash her ex-husband’s wedding, dressed like the angel of death? Sure! Should she release a skunk into his perfect new home? Probably not! But it beats staying home and moping.

She finds an unexpected ally in her glamorous sister, with whom she’s had a tense relationship all these years. And an unexpected babysitter in of all people Ben Hallowell, the driver in a car accident that nearly killed Lillie 20 years ago. And then there’s Ophelia, her ex-husband’s oddly lost niece, who could really use a friend.

It’s the end of Lillie’s life as she knew it. But sometimes the perfect next chapter surprises you…out of the clear blue sky.


EXCERPT

From OUT OF THE CLEAR BLUE SKY published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2022 by  Kristan Higgins.

When the waitress came to ask if we wanted dessert, Brad said no. “I’ll have the coconut cake,” I said, because speaking of joy . . . Pepe’s had the best coconut cake on earth. “We’ll split it,” I added, since we always did. One of our marital habits—Brad always pretended he didn’t want dessert, then shared mine. Denial.

“No, no. All for you,” Brad said, and for a second, I could’ve sworn he glanced at my midsection. He himself was lean. I was not.

Brad was nursing a second glass of malbec. That was funny . . . I’d never seen him order red wine, not even with steak. He said it gave him headaches, but here he was, sniffing it like he was a bloodhound, swirling it, savoring it. Before I said something snarky, I decided this was the moment.

“Honey, I have something to tell you,” I said. I took a breath and tried to get into the romantic mood. The candlelight made Brad look even more handsome. His blond hair, still fairly full, that WASPy, almost delicate bone structure. His amazing cerulean eyes. He looked younger, the gift of candlelight. I hoped I looked equally beautiful. “It’s pretty exciting.”

“Really? I have something to tell you, too,” he said. “Also exciting. But go ahead.”

I paused for dramatic effect. “We’re going to Europe! I booked us a trip!”

Brad’s face didn’t change. He didn’t smile. He barely blinked.

“Oh,” he said. “Uh . . . when?”

“October seventeenth. Venice, then a train ride up into the Alps for a few days, and then . . . wait for it . . . Paris! Surprise!”

Brad didn’t say anything.

“Honey?” I asked.

“Yes. Um . . . well.”

Not the reaction I was hoping for. Brad loved traveling. “Aren’t you excited?” I asked. “You don’t seem excited.”

He drained his wine. “Actually, Lillie, I . . . uh . . . I was thinking it’s time we . . . divorced.”

“Here’s your coconut cake,” said the waitress, a pretty girl with dark hair. “Two forks, just in case.”

“Thank you!” I said. “Dig in, honey, before I lay waste to this whole thing.”

“This is hard for me,” he said. “It wasn’t an easy decision, but I’m sure.”

“About what?” God. The cake melted in your mouth. Melted.

“Did you hear me? What I just said?”

“Did you hear me? We’re going to Europe!”

He looked away sharply. “No. We’re not. I want a divorce, Lillie. That’s why I took you here. To discuss our future at this natural split in the path.”

I snorted. “Oh, please. We’re not getting divorced.” God, this cake was so good.

“I’m serious. Please listen and don’t infantilize me, Lillie.”

“Brad. Honey. Is this because Dylan’s graduating? It’s normal to feel blue. But we’re happy. Not like everyone else.” There had been a rash of divorces among our crowd lately, and suddenly my skin felt a little too tight. “We’ve been talking about how fun being empty nesters will be.” Hadn’t we? No, we had. Just not recently.

“I’ve met someone.”

“You know, this trip is going to be perfect,” I said. “Change of scenery, new places, new food, different languages all around us. You can practice your French! Our son is going to college in Montana, and we’ve both been melancholy. I’ve looked at so many pictures of Venice, I already feel better.”

Wait . . . what was that he’d just said? It wasn’t about Europe. I felt a flush starting in my chest, creeping up my neck.

I took a sip of water. Glanced around the restaurant. 

“Lillie?” Brad said.

“We’re going to Europe,” I said again, more loudly this time. “We deserve it.”

“Are you even listening to me?” he said.

“Are you listening to me?” I snapped. “We’re not getting a divorce! Are you crazy?” Heads were starting to turn. I lowered my voice. “Look. I don’t think . . . you didn’t mean what you said, honey. I know it’s a strange time, and it’s natural to do some soul-searching, but we’re in this together. It’s going to be great! We’ve been talking about all the things we want to do.” I smiled. Yeah. Keep smiling, Lillie. “And we will do them.” That last line came out as a command.

He didn’t look at me. “I haven’t been happy in some time, and . . . well, as I just said, I’m in love.”

There was a buzzing sound in my ears. “No you aren’t.”

“Lately, I just feel dead inside.”

“No you haven’t. This is idiotic.”

“I’m sorry if this hurts you,” he said, “but I’m sure.” 

Suddenly, my plate was in my hands, and I was squishing the coconut cake on his head. “How dare you, Brad Fairchild! How dare you!”

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