The first –and only- Higgins’s book I read was Too Good to Be True, and to be honest I didn’t think it was that good. It did keep my interest, and it had some fun parts, but I didn’t see what the big deal was, so even though I did enjoy it, I didn’t feel the need to go and read Higgins’s other books.
Yesterday I was in the mood for some romantic comedy and decided to give Higgins a second chance, so I went and bought All I Ever Wanted. At first glance this one was pretty much the same as Too Good to Be True, a quirky heroine, a brooding hero, a dysfunctional family and a dog… But oh boy did I like this one! After a couple pages I found myself laughing out loud (which is pretty uncommon for me), identifying with the heroine (two words: food baby, being there, done that), wanting to know what was going on with the hero, and loving the grandpa, loving the dog, loving the sister, the mother, everything!
Let me tell you a bit about the book, Callie, our heroine, has been in love (or more like obsessed) with her boss since they were teenagers. While on a business travel a few months back, they have a one night stand and she thinks he’s finally realized she’s the one, but he tells her he’s not ready for a relationship, thus she just goes and waits for him to be. Fast forward to the present, it’s Callie’s birthday and she learns that Mark (that’s the boss and love of her life) has been dating someone else and it’s quite serious about her. What comes next is pure unadulterated fun while Callie tries to find a guy to make Mark jealous, cope with the fact that the new girlfriend is also the new girl at work who’s making her life there miserable, dealing with crazy parents, an even crazier sister, and having public meltdowns at the DMV.
Ian, our hero, is the new veterinary in town, taciturn and straight-laced is the complete opposite to Callie. At first they clash, but then a friendship ensures when she helps him with his public image because as a result of his bluntness and unfriendliness he’s been losing patients, or patient’s owners I should say.
And this is our love story within the story, because I wouldn’t catalogue this book as a full on romance, I think it’s more about Callie’s journey. Their romance is one of the big storylines, but there are lots of other things going on, and even the romance part I think works more as an enabler for Callie’s growth than as a main focus of the story.
There were some things that didn’t work for me, and they were all in the romance department. First of all, Callie can’t have sex without thinking of marriage and babies and happily ever after, perhaps this is a more realistic response to sex from a woman like her, but it was a bit annoying, mostly because it took her about a month to get over Mark. Then she immediately fell for Ian, and that wouldn’t bother me as much if she hadn’t come to the realization that she loved him just after having sex with him for the first time.
The other thing that didn’t keep me completely satisfied was the hero. It’s tricky having a romance narrated by just one character because you might end up having one character completely fleshed out, but the other not so much, especially if they don’t have a lot of interaction with each other. I think that’s the case here, I do believe that having Ian remain a little inscrutable was the point in order to make us feel how Callie was feeling -she even points out that she can’t tell what’s going on trough his head-, but I would have loved a little more of –as Ian would say- emotional diarrhea from him, at least at the end (although probably, had that been the case, I would be complaining how out of character that was).
Overall it was a good book. If you are in the mood for some great comedy, if you are feeling blue and want to feel better, if you like “opposites attract” stories, if you like dysfunctional families, or if you are looking for a good and engaging book, then this is the perfect book for you.
Review by Brie
One Happily-Ever-After Rocking Chair… and no sign of any forthcoming babies to rock in ol' Georgebury, Vermont. For Callie Grey, turning thirty means coming to grips with the fact that her boss (and five-week fling) is way overdue in his marriage proposal. And way off track because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company's new Miss Perfect. If that isn't bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a three-oh birthday bash in the family funeral home.Bad goes to worse when she stirs up a crazy relationship with the town's not so warm and fuzzy veterinarian, Ian McFarland, in order to flag Mark's attention. So Ian is more comfortable with animals…. So he's formal, orderly and just a bit tense. The ever-friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it's time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But dang, if he doesn't shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Vermont's unlikeliest eligible bachelor….
HQN Books, July 27, 2010