Cover Image: What We Could Have Been

What We Could Have Been

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Member Reviews

Many thanks to for the #gifted copy of this book.

Tender. Emotional.

This book was ALL over my feed when it was released back in October, and every rave review I saw gave me such fomo. So when I won a copy in a giveaway hosted by @allthebooksalltheways and @jess.sinclair, I was so excited.

When Bluebell flees her soon-to-be ex-husband and returns home, all the confusion and grief surrounding her mother’s death 10 years prior are brought back to the surface. To find peace, Blue must get to the truth of what happened that night. But in doing so, she’ll ruffle some feathers as well as revive old connections.

There was so much to love in this endearing story. Finding your way back home. Breaking old patterns. Grieving the past but learning to live in the present. Forgiving old wrongs. Each theme brimmed with hope and healing.

There’s a sweet romance here, no doubt. I rooted for Blue and Enzo all the way through. But where this book shined was in the examination of family. The flaws. The complexities. There were gritty details as well as beautifully warm moments. This is a story of love- the integral bond of family- much more than romance.

Blue’s journey was hard fought, making the happy ending that much sweeter.

🎧 Full of emotion, the narration by Nan McNamara well depicted Bluebell’s experiences. But for some reason, I found myself grabbing for the book more often than the audio.

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I enjoyed this story. I am pretty sure I have listened to other books narrated by Nan Macnamara. She is a very enthusiastic narrator. Unfortunately, I have found that a narrator can make or break the story for me and can impact how I rate a book. However, she seemed to be pretty good. The story also kept my interest which is always a good thing. Overall, it was a good read. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for granting access to this audiobook in exchange for my honest review!

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Wow what an emotional and beautiful story! I have to say, I’m really coming around to the second chance romance trope and with stories as raw as this, it’s no wonder my heart has opened up to them. This book has been recommended by so many of my book friends, and I can see why. It has everything from a story of friendship and love to loss, and every emotion.

The narration was so good and I highly recommend this format!

*many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the gifted copy for review

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Rating: 5/5 Stars

Wow. What a debut! This story was everything. It had the perfect combination of finding oneself, overcoming fears, family drama and second chance romance, even a bit of a mystery. I totally immersed myself in these characters, into their story and I loved every single second of it.

The characters, *sigh*, they are so perfect, so raw and so real. Well, most of them at least. You will be cheering on Bluebell’s strength and determination, you’ll totally be swooning over Enzo and you will be awing at the absolute cuteness of Murphy.

Sinclair’s writing is so addicting. You will be completely drawn in and have no idea about how much time has passed while reading this one. I know that I will be thinking about this one for a long time.

If you are a fan of TJR or even Tracey Lange - you need to add Jess Sinclair to your list. This book absolutely stole my heart, I’m sure it will do the same for you.

I listened to this via audiobook and the narrator Nan McNamara was absolutely phenomenal. She brought this one to life for me and played every character perfectly!

What We Could Have Been was released this year on 10/10. It would be the perfect bookclub pick. It’s honestly just a perfect contemporary fiction. I loved it! Huge thank you to NetGalley, Jess Sinclair and Dreamscape Media for the ALC in exchange for my honest review.

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What We Could Have Been is an enjoyable
Read with an engaging storyline. I think this book will appeal to a lot of readers. I listened to the audiobook and, unfortunately, did not care for the narrator. It took me a very long time to finish this one as I was not overly compelled to keep picking it back up. I would recommend picking up the hard copy of this one.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.

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I was mindlessly scrolling the audiobook section on netgalley last month, and was immediately drawn to the cover of What We Could Have Been by Jess Sinclair. I thought it was absolutely beautiful, so I requested it without even reading the synopsis. I wasn’t familiar with the author either, but it ended up being a great chance to take because this one was a major winner for me. There’s truly something for everyone in this novel. Sinclair mixes family drama, romance, and mystery wonderfully by slowly revealing the gritty details of a massive rift between two families. My jaw was on the floor by the end of it as the puzzle pieces clicked together, and the truth was uncovered.


- Family drama & secrets
- Mother-son relationships
- Father-daughter relationships
- Mysterious and suspenseful plot lines
- Dynamic & well-developed characters
- First love stories & second chances
- Florida fishing community setting
- Reflections on loss, grief, and healing
- Themes of marriage and motherhood

If you do decide to pick this one up, I highly recommend the audiobook. The narrator, Nan McNamara did a phenomenal job. I’m so happy that I took a chance on this novel, and am excited to read more from Sinclair in the future. 4/5 stars for What We Could Have Been! It’s out now!

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4 stars

This audio was beautifully done by the narrator. She did a great job telling the story of Bluebelle and Enzo from young children to present day. Their families are at war with each other and neither one knows why. After being gone for 10 years Blue returns with her young child, Murphy after fleeing a abusive relationship. Trying to settle back into life in her hometown, she meets Enzo after a trip to the ER and nothing is the same afterwards. Lies come to light, a murder is revealed and a relationship is patched up and renewed. This book is more of a drama than romance, but there is a romantic aspect to it.

Overall I would highly recommend the book and the audio. I listed to the audio and it was great!

***thank you Netgalley and Dreamscape for an ARC copy in return for an honest review***

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𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐖𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐇𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐁𝐞𝐞𝐧
𝐁𝐲 𝐉𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐒𝐢𝐧𝐜𝐥𝐚𝐢𝐫
𝐏𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐫: 𝐀𝐥𝐜𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐏𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬
𝐏𝐮𝐛 𝐃𝐚𝐭𝐞:𝟏𝟎.𝟏𝟎.𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑

Bluebelle Shea returns to her hometown after having run away ten years ago. She now has her 9-year-old son in tow, and she must face plenty of demons from her past.

Like Enzo, the boy she always loved, and when her father was arrested the night her mother drowned. Now that Blue is back, Enzo and her are thrown together. The attraction is undeniable, but the question remains of what caused the big riff between their families.

Blue is determined to get to the truth of what happened the night of her mother’s death and what caused the fracture between her and Enzo’s families.

This isn’t billed as a mystery, yet it does have a bit of that feel. I would say it’s more of a family drama, though, as healing the bonds between friends, old lovers, and even father-daughter stood out to me. I’m always a fan of second-chance romances, and this one is sweet. The story is full of intrigue and emotions, and I had to know the outcome.

Thank you @suzyapprovedbooktours and @jesssinclair.writes for a spot on tour and a gifted book.

Thank you @dreamscape_media for the gifted audiobook.

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There's a lot going on in this novel - family drama, mystery, and love story. There's a touch of Romeo & Juliet here - two families in a south Florida fishing town, once close friends, but something has happened to turn the Shea and Castellari families against each other. But for teens Bluebell Shea and Enzo Castellari, friendship has already become love by the time the family feud begins. In the aftermath of a family tragedy, Bluebell ends up running away to live with her aunt in north Florida, and Enzo is left broken-hearted. Fast forward ten years, and Bluebell takes her son and flees her abusive husband, returning to the town where she grew up. She reestablishes her relationship with her father, and the story progresses from there.
I really enjoyed listening to this book, the narration is excellent. As I said, there's a lot going on between the family drama (internal family issues with both families and and the history of Blue's abusive marriage). There's the mystery of what instigated the family feud. And of course there's the question of the relationship between Enzo and Blue - can the adults they are now reestablish the connection they had as teens? I loved the descriptions of the small Florida town life, as well as the joys and difficulties of the life of a commercial fisherman. All in all, it was a very enjoyable listen for me.
Thanks to Netgalley and Dreamscape Media for providing a copy for an unbiased review.

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Enjoyable read- I loved the characters and storyline. It drew me in immediately, and kept me wanting to find out what the back story was. Interesting exploration of family rivalry, first love, and small towns.

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This is a wonderful and beautifully told story of love, loss and forgiveness.

Bluebell and Enzo have a past but were separated by events that happened in the past. These events drove their families apart and there is still a rift between families.

Bluebell has returned to her small town seeking an escape with her son. She has many questions surrounding the death of her mother and she refuses to give up discovering the truth.

Enzo is at a crossroads in his life and is shocked when Bluebell returns to town with a life altering surprise. He is a kind man and wants to help her out however he can.

Their reunion is a bit awkward but it’s evident they still care for one another. The care and compassion these characters have is beautifully written. This story will have you feeling so many emotions. A wonderful story.

Nan McNamara does an amazing job with the narrations. She gives each character the perfect emotion, personality and voice.

Thank you NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the complimentary audiobook.

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Thank you to Dreamscape Media for an advanced copy of this audiobook. The following review is my honest feedback and given voluntarily.

This really was a beautiful and sweet story. I'm not one to usually gravitate to second-chance romance books, but something about this blurb just kind of pulled at me. Maybe it was the combination of the second-chance, Romeo/Juliet style romance, the mystery, the FMC being a newly single yet strengthening mother, the coming home vibes, the MMC still holding a torch for "what they could have been"... It really all just came together perfectly for a classically heartwarming love story. The pacing was well done and I thought the writing style was perfect for my taste. Nothing too complicated, but also not overly simplified and inundated with only dialogue or only inner monologue. I found it easy to connect to both Bluebell and Enzo's characters and I was totally rooting for them as soon as his character was brought into the story. There's no steam in this one, only just a minor suggestion in a couple places, but honestly, I was totally fine with that (and I tend to read ALL the SPICE). This story was solid enough on it's own that I didn't need any heavier intimacy on-page. Would it have kicked it up a notch? Absolutely. Did it need it to make the story itself better? Nope! Bluebell and Enzo's strong connection to each other can be felt instantly through how it was written and the way things unfold.

I probably would have given it 5 stars if there had been some steam and an epilogue of some sort. I think showing their intimacy on-page would have made it a little deeper and enhanced my connection to them a little more. An additional epilogue with a time jump of some sort would have really rounded out their story even better for me and also wrapped up some other portions of the background storylines.

The narrator for this audiobook was Nan McNamara, who was a new one for me. Overall the narration was good, very enjoyable. I definitely had to speed it up though, 1x speed, even 1.25x was way too slow to sound realistic. But overall I thought her emotional performance really hit the mark. The character voice changes/accent differences were also very well done (loved hearing the Irish accent in there!).

If you don't mind a no-steam, but easy and lovely second-chance romance, mixed with a little bit of small-town mystery, then I think you will enjoy this book. I would definitely recommend, especially if you're in the mood for this type of story specifically. Enjoy! 🤙🏼💕

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An epic forbidden romance between two people from feuding families. Great on audio and highly entertaining. This was a great debut, perfect for fans of authors like Kristin Hannah and I'm excited to read what the author writes next. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early audio copy in exchange for my honest review!

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What We Could Have Been by Jess Sinclair is an emotional and entertaining read. It is somewhat heavy with the abusive relationship Bluebelle is trying to leave and the past of both her and Enzo's parents. I like that one of the reveals gets dealt with almost immediately, as I was pretty certain of what it was when reading the summary and didn't want it to be dragged out. I was trepidacious about reading it because of this, but I'm glad I did.

I deducted a star because I couldn't stand the sexism/misogyny from most of the men thinking all of the women are too fragile to handle anything, so they need to do everything. It's unnecessary and tiring after 10+ hours. There are also a LOT of characters (over 15 that we directly interact with). When coming back to the book, I had to sometimes think about who they were to the story.

Nan McNamara is a great narrator that has a pretty good range. I was able to listen to her on 1.25 and still understand everything she said.

Thank you to Dreamscape Media for providing me with an ALC.

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Another terrific read!

What We Could Have Been by Jess Sinclair.

This one has a kind of dual timeline in that it showcases the present day, but also reverts back to relationships from ten years ago…

Bluebelle is married and has a young son. But, her husband has just served her with divorce papers.
With nowhere else to turn, she returns home to Bliss, Florida, with her fingers crossed and her heart in her hands…hoping against all hope that her Father will take her back.

Enzo (Vincenzo) still lives in Bliss, and is now engaged and getting married in a few short weeks… His fiancée is the polar opposite of Blue.

Blue and Enzo were a ‘thing’ once. But after her Mom’s death, and the fact that her Dad was charged with her murder…well, she ran away. And he went to jail.

But now that Blue is back in town, she starts to doubt the fact that her Dad was guilty…and tries to uncover what really happened.
And…why their families, who were once very close, don’t even speak anymore.

And when it all comes out, I guarantee that you too will want to smack some heads together.

Oh…and you’ll probably want to give your two cents to her husband Brent as well…

Thanks to #NetGalley and #DreamscapeMedia for an ARC of the audiobook which was released on October 10.

#WhatWeCoukdHaveBeen by #JessSinclair and narrated by #NanMcNamara (who also did a terrific job!)

4 1/2 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 for me!

Check out all my reviews on Instagram @ #BookReviews_with_emsr
Thanks for reading!

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Thanks to @netgalley for the chance to review What We Could Have Been by Jess Sinclair. Blue and her 9 year-old son Murphy return to her small town as she was leaving her abusive husband. She runs into the Enzo, the man that she’d loved since she was a young girl. Enzo was engaged to be married, but they both keep thinking about the events that led her to leave town.

This was touching and pulled me in right away. Family drama, second chance romance, and a mother’s love. Wonderful - and excellent narration!

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This book has a bit of everything, family drama, love, loss, deception and greed.
This was my first Jess Sinclair novel and I am ready for some more!

Bluebelle Shea and Enzo Castellari are hardly more than children when they fall in love, despite the objections of their families, who have been at war for years. They don’t know the reason for the brutal rift, but nothing matters except the way they feel. Their hopeful plan for the future is shattered the night Blue’s mother drowns—and her father is arrested for murder.

Ten years later, fleeing a disastrous marriage, Blue returns to Bliss with her young son, Murphy. As she settles into the community once more, chance throws her together with Enzo, and she is startled by the rekindled attraction he stirs inside her.

Drawn together time and again, Blue and Enzo try to untangle years of conflicting emotions and bittersweet memories. When a frightening crisis strikes, Enzo doesn’t hesitate to come to Blue’s aid. Resolved to put the past behind them, they fight to learn not only what really happened the night Blue’s mother died, but the truth behind the destructive clash between their families.

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Oh my gosh this audiobook was just beautiful as was the story. I found myself immersed in this one right away.

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4.5★ While not new to writing, this is Jess Sinclair’s initial foray into the realm of women’s fiction, having previously written mysteries under the name Tracey Gardner. And with such clear and concise prose, excellent pacing, and unique and engaging characters, it is easy to see she is not new to the craft.

What I enjoyed so much about this story is the really unique genre mashup. With elements of family fiction, mystery and suspense, and romance, there is a little bit here for everyone. There are very clear elements of a Romeo and Juliet retelling including feuding families, long buried secrets, and a forbidden romance and this is what kept my interest the most as a sucker for forbidden romance. I love the angst surrounding the relationship between both Blue and Enzo, as well as the interplay between their feuding families and the air of mystery that surrounds an event from the past.

All in all this is a really solid debut (of sorts) and I cannot wait to see what Sinclair has in store for us next. Also of note, the audiobook, narrated by the phenomenal Nan McNamara, is equally rich and engaging. This would make a fantastic immersive read utilizing both audio and physical or ebook.

Thank you Dreamscape Media for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Bluebell Shea has returned home after ten years away. Her marriage has fallen apart and she has nowhere else to go. She has run from her past long enough. But, she is not quite ready to face what she knows she must.

Blue is a fabulous character. She struggles with confidence (you need to read this to find out!) but she is stronger than she gives herself credit for. Plus, she is keeping a big secret from her past love, Enzo.

I really enjoyed how this novel unfolded. The past and the present molding together really kept me glued! There are quite a few storylines in this tale. But, the author keeps them twisting around each other until you are so immersed it is hard to stop reading!

The narrator, Nan McNamara, is fabulous. Sometimes children are a kicker for me. But she did a great job with Blue’s son, Murphy.

Need a good story with corruption and family drama…THIS IS IT! Grab your copy today.

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review.

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