Sunday, October 23, 2011

Early Review of Kristan Higgins' Until There Was You

Title: Until There Was You
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publisher: HQN Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback & eBook
Source: NetGalley
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Rating: 4 out of 5

This contemporary romance made me laugh and cry, and I absolutely loved it! I highlighted so many different sections of the book and have re-read them so often that if I were reading a physical book instead of my Kindle the pages would be falling out. Scrawny 5’2” Posey is charmer, and you’ll fall for hottie bad boy Liam. Who wouldn’t? He rides a motorcycle, wears black leather, and only shaves every few days. Reformed bad boys make for great romance heroes, and you’ll definitely swoon for this one!
Until There Was You is a reunion romance of sorts – Posey Osterhagen was madly in love with bad boy Liam Murphy when she was sixteen, but he barely noticed her. In fact, he was indirectly responsible for her disastrous prom experience, so when he moves back to Bellsford, New Hampshire, with his 15 year old daughter, Posey tries to play it cool around her former crush. Posey runs a successful architectural salvage company in town, and she tries to keep busy to avoid him, but her adopted parents’ attempts to play matchmaker with the good-looking widower and their niece Gretchen ensure that Liam and Posey are thrown together. But Liam’s not looking for romance, and some well-meaning family members seem determined to keep the two apart. Can the bad boy and the quirky runt from high school find a way to be together?
Kristan Higgins always manages to crack me up with her humor, and despite several teary moments, this book was no exception. The secondary characters will keep you rolling in the aisles, especially Posey’s adopted parents, who are large, boisterous owners of a German restaurant in town. Posey herself has a dry wit that provides some great one-liners, and Liam’s protective instincts towards his daughter Nicole make for some hilarious moments as well. When her prom date shows up and Liam threatens him, I was crying with laughter. And Ms. Higgins clearly has teenagers of her own, as Posey uses “Oh, Bieber” as an interjection, and Liam tells his daughter, “Whatevs.” Of course, in my experience, if your Mom’s using slang in a book, it’s probably not cool anymore, but it makes for a fun read.
There’s also plenty of angst to go around, as we witness several flashbacks to Posey’s disastrous prom experience and Liam reflects on his marriage with the town’s golden girl. The relationships between parents and children are a constant theme in the book, whether those children are adults or teens, and you’ll definitely find yourself tearing up at times.
The biggest problem with the book and the reason I only gave it a four when I clearly love it is the lackluster romance between Liam and Posey. It’s clear from the beginning that Posey has feelings for Liam, but Liam’s feelings for Posey are never quite as obvious. In fact, at times I felt that he spent more time thinking about his dead wife and their marriage than he did thinking about Posey. He clearly cares for her and the ending feels like a scene from a John Hughes movie (set at prom, no less!), but afterwards when I was thinking about the book, I had the distinct impression that his wife had been the love of his life and Posey was merely second best. This is a pretty serious failing in a romance novel, so I think it speaks volumes about the book that I loved it in spite of this.
If you’re looking for a fun contemporary romance with a little angst and lots of humor, I highly recommend this one. It’s definitely going on my keeper shelf, and I suspect I’ll be re-reading it for years to come.

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