The novella Hope Out Loud picks up the story to Kristina Riggle's The Life You've Imagined five years later. The synopsis says: "Anna Geneva's mother is getting married. This means Anna must return to her hometown and the scene of her infamous affair with her teenage love Will Becker, who was married at the time, with a young daughter. Anna plans to avoid him, watch her mum get married, and hightail it back to her private law practice and her cozy apartment in Chicago. But in a town as small as Haven, avoiding the elder son of a prominent family is harder than it seems, especially with so much shared history. And Maeve Geneva's wedding? Well, the bride is starting to worry that maybe she's not ready to marry again after all, though she swears her ex-husband's affectionate postcards have nothing to do with that. Anna thought she'd left her hometown behind for good five years ago, but she's learning it takes more than two hundred miles along the Lake Michigan shore to put Haven truly behind her..."
Anna Geneva, a successful Chicago attorney, ends up losing her mentor August in a freak accident. She returns to Haven to stay with her mother Maeve and regroup. Amid rumours that a colleague is about to steal her spot as partner, will Anna return to Chicago to get what is rightly hers or once she sees how badly her mum needs her will she stay with her? Maeve believes she is about to lose her Nee Nance convenience store and home because she can't pay the rent. She also starts receiving letters from her husband who left her 20 years ago without explanation. She knows that Anna would be furious if she knew she was writing her father but with everything going on can she resist to see if he can save her from this life he left her with. Anna's high school friend, Cami, has also returned to Haven due to a gambling addiction. Her boyfriend has kicked her out and she has to return to her father's home which is abusive to say the least. She returns to her job as a clerk at the Nee Nance Store. And then there is Amy who is about to get married to Peter, the man that is trying to take the store and redevelop it into an up-market store with loft apartments. With a really realistic storyline about four women facing a fork in the road, this is an enjoyable tale about love, loss and friendship. (CG)
Kristina Riggle follows up her acclaimed debut Real Life & Liars with The Life You've Imagined, a novel focused on looking at the choices peope make. The synopsis says: "Four women face the decisions of their lifetimes. Anna Geneva, a Chicago attorney coping with the death of a cherished friend, returns to her hometown of Haven to finally come to terms with her mother, the man she left behind, and the road she did not take. Cami Drayton, Anna's dearest friend from high school, is coming home too, forced by circumstance to move in with her alcoholic father . . . and to confront a dark family secret. Maeve, Anna's mother, never left Haven, firmly rooted there by her sadness over her abandonment by the husband she desperately loved and the hope that someday he will return to her. And Amy Rickart - thin, beautiful, and striving for perfection - faces a future with the perfect man . . . but is haunted by the memory of what she used to be."