Looking for a fun, humorous, light-hearted romance this fall?
As cliché as that sounds, I’m 100% serious! When I received Kristan Higgins’ latest book in the mail, I had no idea what to expect. I saw the ‘Harlequin’ logo and thought “oh nooo… what if it’s full of sex scenes and no plot?!?” So, I visited the author’s website, and saw that her tagline is:
Real life, true love & lots of laughs…
And I felt a lot better about reading the book. Here’s how it went:
All I Ever Wanted – Kristan Higgins
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….
This book is adorable! The heroine is capable yet flawed, the hero is brooding but has a soft side… and there are animals everywhere! Dogs, specifically. I was very impressed with the way Higgins incorporated animals into her story in a natural way, without them getting in the way or seeming like they were just there to add something ‘extra’. After looking at the covers of her other books, it looks like Higgins includes animals in all her novels – something to look forward to!
I also really liked the tone of the book. It’s very light, cheerful, and peppered with humor throughout the entire novel. I hesitate to say this, since I know the negative connotations some people (often falsely) have toward it, but the writing, pacing and plot development reminded me of some of the best chick lit I’ve ever read. It just so happens to be packaged under a romance label in this case.
Now, before you go all “whaddaya mean, chick lit?” on me, what I’m saying is that the romance is sweet without being overwhelming or drowning the rest of the story, the heroine makes real mistakes that bring her to a point where you wonder “how will she EVER make this right?!?”, and the surrounding cast of characters is realistic to the point where you wonder if the author has been spying on your life. That’s what I mean.
And just in case you thought I wouldn’t get back to the whole ‘Harlequin’ thing, guess what? Higgins’ books fade to black. Yes! Really! Nothing here to make you blush, but still steamy enough to satisfy the romance-hungry.
I’m not the only one to think so: Higgins’ novel Too Good to Be True won a RITA Award this year (and she won another back in 2008), and I won’t be surprised if All I Ever Wanted is a serious contender next year.
So, if you’re looking for a sweet romance with realistic characters and plenty of laughs, this is definitely one to read.
And if you like the book? Drop Kristan a note on Facebook and let her know! She’ll write back!
About the Author: Kristan Higgins, author of All I Ever Wanted, combines real life, true love and lots of laughs in her stories. Her books have received praise and accolades from readers and reviewers alike. Kristan won a Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award in 2008 for Catch of the Day, and received a 2010 nomination for Too Good To Be True. Called "one of the most honest and creative voices in contemporary romance," Kristan is hard at work on her next book. She lives in a small Connecticut town with her heroic firefighter husband, two lovely children, one devoted dog and a regal cat. Kristan loves to hear from readers! Visit her website at www.KristanHiggins.com.
I received a copy of this book for review courtesy of FSB Media.