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This Close to Okay by Leesa Cross-Smith
Contemporary fiction

This Close to Okay

Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Leesa Cross-Smith

Quick take

A near-tragedy brings together two lonely strangers who might just have the ability to save each other's lives.

Good to know

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    Multiple viewpoints

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  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Sad


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Why I love it

Bryn Greenwood
Author, The Reckless Oath We Made

It’s no secret to say that we are living in difficult times. And in a holiday season where so many of us are isolated from friends and family, I suspect many of us are yearning for a sense of connection. That’s part of why Leesa Cross-Smith's new novel spoke so powerfully to me. This Close to Okay is a love story, but not in the usual sense of romantic love. Rather, it's a story about one wounded soul reaching out to another in a moment of love and compassion, changing both of their lives forever.

When we meet Tallie and Emmett, they are resigned to their fates—her to living a life of loneliness and disappointment after a failed marriage, and him to ending a life of pain. But when Tallie stops on a bridge one rainy night to rescue a stranger, making the arguably reckless decision to welcome the secretive and suicidal Emmett into her home, the two share a cathartic weekend that reaffirms their humanity.

This is undoubtedly a story about grief and pain. But it is also a story of two people who, in the process of getting to know one another, rediscover the healing power of love, family, and community. Now, more than ever, my heart needed a story about starting over and choosing hope over despair. This is that story.

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On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing on the side of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett.

Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. But what she doesn't realize is that he's not the only one who needs healing—and she's not the only one with secrets.

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Get an early look from the first pages of This Close to Okay.

Read a sample →

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