Somebody to Love is the story of Parker Welles. She’s rich, talented and a little bit cranky. Her life is at a crossroads, for the past few years she’s been writing a successful book series for children, books that have brought her fame and recognition, books that she hates with a passion. She wrote them as a joke after the story she really wanted to tell was rejected and ever since then, she’s been cursed with having to write them. But now the series is about to end and she doesn’t really know what to do because she can’t seem to muster enough imagination to write something different. Why does she keep writing books that make her miserable? I have no idea, but It’s not about money because she has a trust fund and all the money she makes goes to charity.
Things are about to get really complicated because her father, with whom she has a difficult relationship, gets caught in an insider-trading scheme that sends him directly to jail. Worse, they don’t have any money because he spent it all, including her trust fund. All she has left is her small son and a dilapidated old house she inherited from a forgotten relative. So she decides to renovate the house in order to sell it and her father sends his right-hand man to keep an eye on her and help. This man is James Cahill, they have a past and she hates him almost as much as her father. She calls him names and treats him bad. James, on the other hand, has been in love with her from the moment he first met her. He’s there because he wants to and he’s willing to do anything to make her see him for the person he is and not just as his father sidekick. Obviously this isn’t the smoothest love story, but it sure is interesting.
If you’re a fan of Ms. Higgins’ work you may recognize Parker as Ethan’s baby mama from The Next Best Thing. I was mystified by her the entire book and I kept wondering why I didn’t hate her. Parker was a poor little rich girl, had daddy issues and refused to patch things up with him even though she was using his money and living in his mansion. She had a kid and instead of keeping the money she earned, she gave it all away to charity, nice of her, but also careless, especially considering she didn’t trust her dad. And she ends up paying for it. Then there’s the fact of how neurotic and mean she was, she treated James like crap and he didn’t deserve it. So why on earth did I find her endearing? I think Ms. Higgins’ ability to write a character filled with unlikeable traits in a likeable -almost relatable- manner is to blame for that. I could relate with her professional struggles and understand some of her issues, I felt deeply for the little girl she was, and found her personality entertaining. Most of her actions made me shake my head, and half the things she does and say lessened my enjoyment. However, I really, really liked the book.
If I had to describe James with one word I would say eager. I kept picturing him as a puppy, eager to please, eager to be liked, carefree and slightly clueless. But he wasn’t annoying and he had plenty of reasons to be that way, not to mention that his carefree front was exactly that, an act and a façade. He had a heartbreaking past that deeply marked his character and once I read that part, all about him made sense. Whereas Parker was tired and jaded, James was glad and appreciative, happy to have someone who liked him, and that someone was Parker’s dad. It is a complicated dynamic that gets worse due to Parker’s selfishness and at times I felt like James deserved better. And yet I wanted them together, in part because it was what James wanted, and in part because it was what Parker needed.
This book is the second time Ms. Higgins writes a story in third person POV, and the second time we get to see what’s going on inside the hero’s head. It’s a departure from her usual novels that have more of a chick-lit feel to them and are told in first person. This one is definitely a romance. I enjoy both styles and I think she does them very well, but I miss her original way of writing. That’s just personal preference, though. There’s nothing wrong with the way this story is told, and it works because the hero has a journey and we need his POV just as much as we need the heroine’s.
The author’s trademark comedy is also present, some parts were hilarious and we get to revisit familiar characters like Maggie and Malone from Catch of the Day. It was a nice wink to the fans but you don’t have to be familiar with those books to enjoy this one, it is a standalone even if previous characters feature prominently here.
Now that I’m writing the review I feel like I had many issues with the book, more than I was aware of while reading the book. But the thing I keep remembering is how much I liked it, how much I laughed and how I couldn’t put it down. And because I read Romance for entertainment and this book certainly delivered, I will recommend it to you. Just bear in mind that the heroine might not be to your liking and that the hero is, at times, too beta. If you’re new to the author but love Romantic Comedy I’m sure you will enjoy it. And if you’re a fan I bet you already read it and I would love to hear your thoughts.
Review by Brie
After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled…even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.
Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC….
Mira. April 24, 2012.