Sunday, April 10, 2011

‘My One and Only’ by Kristan Higgins –Review-

Read and excerpt: here
Charming, emotionally-charged, and quirky as all get out; My One And Only was a heartfelt and exhilarating read! I started the book late at night so I couldn’t read it straight through and that messed with me big time; I was so anxious to read more of the story that I couldn’t stop myself from getting distracted every 20  minutes and day dreaming about how the book would play out from where I left off. You’ll need the Jaws of Life to pry yourself away from Higgins' latest. The characters worm their way into your heart before you even have a chance to say “Holy Shitake!” This one is definitely a keeper!

Being a top-notch divorce attorney certainly helps skew your view on the whole institution of marriage. Throw in a failed marriage of your own that didn’t even make it to a full year and you’ll find it very easy to look on at the world in Harper-colored lenses. Infamous and loathed by the divorcees (at least on the losing side) of a town in Martha's Vineyard, Thirty *mumbles* year old Harper James is driving even the local priest to shaking his head in hopelessness at her dry wit and second skin of cynicism. Fanciful and naive dreams of a perfect marriage were left to the just-out-of-college, newlywed Harper. But now, she has traded in the title of ‘hopeless romantic’ for ‘habitual realist’.  A much older and wiser Harper doesn’t see the point in dwelling on failed marriages and crushed dreams and has the ultimate formula to a happy life: 1 superhot, slightly wet behind the ears, rat tail having, firefighter boyfriend + 2 ½ years in a committed relationship + some wicked hot sex = time to say “I Do”.

While in the midst of laying out a very compelling marriage proposal (and when you read the book, proposal is just the word for it), Harper gets a call from her sometimes flighty but oh so loveable sister, Willa. Looks like Harper wasn’t the only one doing some proposing, because Willa calls to inform her big sis that she’s getting hitched (for the third time). She wants Harper to be her maid of honor and travel down to Montana for the wedding. Harper couldn’t be more thrilled... [insert sarcasm here]

The wedding is in a few weeks, so besides being on a time crunch to convince her sister to not marry some guy she just met, Harper won’t have a lot of time to prepare herself for seeing her ex-husband of 12 years- who also happens to be the groom’s brother and best man.

The whirl wind that swept up an ambitious Nick Lowe 12 years ago when he married Harper James may be coming back to cause more destruction as Nick travels to Montana for his brother’s wedding. Being the best man, Nick has a responsibility to his brother to make sure the next few weeks go by with as little conflict as possible; but how can anyone expect Nick to do his job when his ‘stunted’ ex-wife jumps into the fray and tries to talk her sister into backing out every chance she gets?

 The weekend of the wedding will hold a lot of fortunate happenstances. (Superhot boyfriend, meet crazy sexy ex-husband.) The best man and maid of honor are destined to butt heads during the festivities leading up to their siblings’ big day, but what sort of hazards await the not-couple when they must travel cross-country together with a dog and a horde of repressed memories?

Nick and Harper never got over one another despite how much time has passed and maybe the road trip down memory lane will be just the thing needed to convince the exes to make peace with the past and embrace their One and Only.

My Rating:
My Favorite Part of the Book: Is surprisingly enough, the road trip reflections where we get all the backstory and emotional rehash we could ever want. Usually, when books have these flashbacks, they can be lengthy and start to fell like one big info-drop after another. I can never really enjoy them. When I realized that most of the backstory would be told during the road trip, I cringed and thought “Well, there goes the book.” Higgins delightfully surprised me by executing the reflections wonderfully. I was absorbed by my interest in the characters past. I had to stop reading around these parts so I could run some errands, and a more distracted shopper at Pathmark you’d never find. The road trip reflections were well crafted and stayed with me even after I finished reading.
This book was like 27 Dresses meets Sweet Home Alabama. Higgins has an infectious writer's voice and the book was one filled with pizazz and personality. Nick was very interesting but at first, I thought he would be more of a prop than a protagonist. As the story progressed, however, his vulnerability shines through and you want to pat him on the back for knowing what he wants and going balls-to-the-wall to get it.
Harper reminded me a lot of the pragmatic, sometimes stick-up-the butt-ish women we see in romantic comedies like the ones I mentioned above. She was a BOSS. But she was also as vulnrable or even more so than Nick. Yeah, it takes balls to propose to your boyfriend and give him an ultimatum, but as you read, you see she's covering up her fear of abandonment with a mask of practicality. 
Harper was a character that you instantly liked and simultaneously rolled your eyes at when she said things like:
Sometimes our minds just need time to accept what our hearts already know
The book didn’t only have lovely protagonists, but a strong supporting cast and intriguing settings. If this latest is anything to go by, Higgins will be a permanent fixture on my bookshelf. Her unique style and relatable characters will certainly enchant her to romance readers everywhere.

[I received the galley  for
 this book through Netgalley]

*Check out another Higgins novel, ‘The Next Best Thing’

*And in the spirit of second chance romance and movies, check out the classic movie ‘The Philadelphia Story’. One of my all-time favorites with some debonair 1940’s Man Candy (Mmm, James Stewart)

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