at last kicks of a series about three foster brothers who live in the fictional area of brooklyn called park heights. park heights basically functions like a small town within the framework of a larger city, which is weird because in a way this story could have been set anywhere. unlike most new york stories, the city wasn't an actual character in the novel. in at last local boy, nick kelley, former NFL player and up-and-coming bar owner is looking to expand his business by buying the union brewery.
meanwhile, emma vandenburg bradley returns home after a bitter divorce only to find that her father is selling her legacy to her former high school crush. she has all this unresolved drama from her marriage and divorce and miscarriage that it sometimes feels like we never fully get to figure out what makes emma tick. we spend more time getting to the bottom of nick's.
as part of a compromise for the brewery nick agrees to apprentice to emma, at the end of three months if he passes the same brewmaster's test she did, nick will get the brewery. and as they spend time together the attraction between them flourishes. and while their love story is at the heart of at last, it's not the only story being told. we also follow nick's adoptive mother louisa, and his foster brothers, landon and fender, as well as emma's friend holly and nic's friend hector. i'm imagining some of the threads begun in this novel will continue through the other ones as the setting of park heights does play an important role in the novel (it's just the new york city thing that isn't important).
the supporting characters play a strong role in this one, and maybe because the novel was so intent on establishing the unconventional family unit, at times you wondered if nick and emma were being short-changed. in the end their story is sweet, i wish a bit more time would have been spent on when their relationship was really good, because it takes them a while to get there and then things are in flux rather quickly. but it all works out in the end of course.
**at last will publish on november 1, 2016. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/st. martin's press (swerve) in exchange for my honest review.