Just the Way You Are - Barbara Freethy I wasn't supposed to read this book yet. God knows I have a lot of ARCs to get through and Just the Way You Are has been sitting around my Kindle for a while now. I think I got it for free a while back but I never got around to reading it until now. I wasn't really expecting anything. Barbara Freethy has been a hit or miss for me, so it came as a pleasant surprise how much I loved it. The moment I started it, I couldn't put it down and let me tell, the tears started flowing early on. The StorySam and Tessa were high school sweethearts. They lived next door to each other and when they were both 12, they fell in love. But their love was tested when Tessa chose to leave Tucker's Landing for a modeling gig in Aspen. Sam, feeling like Tessa abandoned him slept with Tessa's sister Allie, which resulted in a pregnancy. Sam did the "right" thing and married Allie while Tessa, feeling their betrayal left Tucker's Landing and the love of her life. Alli, as mentioned was Tessa's sister, younger sister who always had a crush on Sam. She was considered a nuisance by Tessa and tolerated by Sam. It was Alli who seduced Sam that night that resulted in her getting pregnant. It was also Alli, who after 8 years of marriage, decided to let Sam go after she realized he was still pining for her sister after she found photographs of Tessa and magazines with her face on it that he kept hidden in his desk.Although, Sam did the honorable thing of marrying Alli, he never quite let go of the past. He still yearned to do the things he planned to do with Tessa. Alli's pregnancy and subsequent marriage ended all that and he can't help but think of what could have been. To add to his confusion, Tessa comes back to Tucker's Landing to care for her grandmother who suffered a stroke and this brought back memories of their time together, which added more strain to Sam and Alli's tenuous relationship.With Alli finally letting go of Sam, he has to decided what he wants; stay and fight for his wife and family or chase the woman and the dream that he lost a long time ago?My ThoughtsThis was a heart-wrenching, emotional read for me from start to finish. I always have a soft spot for stories that deals with married couples and this book hits all the right spot for me. Great plot, fantastic dialogue and most of all sympathetic characters. I was expecting to Alli or Sam or Tessa or even their grandmother but in the end, I couldn't. I didn't always like their decisions, didn't always agree with them, I cringed at some of the things they said to each other but I sympathized with all of them.Sam was a very flawed hero. He was holding on something that he felt was taken away from him. He always considered his marriage to Alli as a mistake even though he did love their daughter and made a life for them in Tucker's Landing. You can feel his conflict but at the same time, as a reader, it's very clear from the very beginning who he was going to choose. His feelings were quite obvious to me as a reader and I couldn't wait for that moment when he would finally see the answer. Alli's insecurities was painfully obvious. Growing up in her beautiful sister's shadow really did a number on her. I felt that she just gave up. She was tired of always fighting for Sam's affection and just threw in the towel and ask for a divorce. It's quite obvious she still loved her husband but she had to give him his freedom. I didn't quite expect to sympathize with her the most. I mean, first of all, she basically seduced Sam away from her sister. I loved that you can truly see how she regretted her actions and was willing to do everything to make it right. Tessa, I feel, was supposed to be the "heroine" here being that she was the love of Sam's life. She was the woman wronged. If there's anyone who should be angry, it should be her. I liked her but surprisingly, not as much as liked Alli. She stayed away from her family because she didn't want to witness Alli and Sam's life together. She actually thought they were happy. She was surprised when she arrived that they were divorcing and finally has her chance with Sam. This book also had a plethora of interesting characters. First off, Alli and Tessa's grandmother. She has her own story going on there which mirrors her granddaughter's. I also loved Jimmy, Tessa's photographer friend. He provided some great insights into Sam and Alli and Tessa's relationship that weren't obvious to those involved. He was such a great character and he stayed wonderful throughout the whole book. I really don't want to spoil the whole book by revealing Sam's choice. You have to read this book yourself. It might be obvious or already known to some but I tell you, you will miss an incredible journey by not reading this book. Personally, I felt that this is a great book to read just to get away from the usual NA/YA, billionaire-virgin type of books that's so popular nowadays. As for me, I'm glad I took a bit of a detour in my reading today. ♥