Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes.
I’m a fan of Kristan Higgins’ work. Some of her books have been more of a miss than a hit for me, but I know that I can always count on her to make me laugh and spend a pleasant evening reading a good story. That’s why I was so happy to see this book on Netgalley and why I didn’t hesitate to request it. It was a big surprise when I started reading it and realized that this marked a big “first” for Kristan since in this book we were getting the hero’s POV as well as the heroine’s.
Posey Osterhagen has a pretty great life. She owns a successful business, has a fantastic relationship with her family, lives in a wonderful house with her huge dog and three cats and has an almost-boyfriend. But things are about to get upside-down when the town’s former bad boy and Posey’s High School crush, returns.
Liam is back so his teenage daughter can be close to her maternal grandparents. He is trying to bring some stability to their life after losing his wife to cancer two years ago. This former bad boy is far from the person he used to be and he only wants to be a good parent, but because of some things that happened to him he is afraid that something might happen to him and that his daughter will be left alone, which causes him to act overprotective and crazy. What he doesn’t want or need is to feel this sudden attraction for the woman who used to follow him around when they were in school.
This book had all the common themes that we are used to finding in Higgins’ stories. There’s a quirky heroine with even quirkier friends, the dog, the brooding hero and the crazy family dynamics. But it’s also a huge departure from what we are used to since this book is much more focused on the romance, it actually reads like a contemporary romance instead of a chick-lit, and as I said before we get the hero’s POV.
Even though this book had several things going for it in the end it didn’t work for me and the main reason was Liam. Granted, he was an interesting character, I think the idea of having a former bad boy dealing with a teenage girl was interesting, and the father/daughter dynamics was sweet and funny to read. I also think that his story was a bit of what happens after the happily ever after: the womanizer bad boy meets and falls in love with the good girl, they ride into the sunset, get married, have a kid, and then life happens: she feels trapped, he is unhappy but trying to make things work, and then she gets sick and dies and he is devastated. So yes, he was an interesting character but he wasn’t a good hero. There were so many things going on with him that he didn’t have time to focus on Posey and I kept thinking that she deserved better. He was a devoted father no questions about it, but I do question his love for Posey and since I wasn’t really sold on the love story, I wasn’t sold on the book either.
The best part about this book was hands down the heroine. I absolutely adored Posey (her annoying habit of saying "Oh bieber!" aside) and I think she saved the book from being a complete wreck. This is the most confident and self-assured heroine Higgins has written and she is also the tiniest. Whereas in her previous books her heroines tended to be in the statuesque category, Posey was around 5’2 and 100 pounds (there’s a scene where she chaperones a prom and gets confused for a student). The fact that I liked her so much is why I was so annoyed by the way she reacted to Liam. She felt insecure and undeserving even to the point of begging, I don’t want to give that much away but I think she deserved better and it was unnerving to see her treating herself in such a poor way.
Probably one of the reasons I didn’t like the book was that I was expecting something light and fun as usual, and what I got was a darker and more serious book. There are some light moments (all the scenes involving Posey’s brother-in-law were hilarious) but overall the issues the characters are dealing with were no laughing matter.
Do I recommend this book? Yes, for everything but the romance. All the characters are interesting and likeable, even Liam as long as it didn’t involve Posey, they are also a bunch of wackjobs. The theme of belonging is present throughout the book with Liam, Posey and her family, with her friends and even with the annoying cousin. I read this book in one sitting and I might have enjoyed it more had I been forewarned that this wasn’t Kristan Higgin’s usual. I think it is a good book but it doesn’t work as a love story, at least not for me.
Review by Brie
Posey Osterhagen can't complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she's surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something's missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he's back, sending Posey's traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….
HQN Books. October 25, 2011.