Wednesday, July 27, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Publisher: HQN (Harlequin)
Page Count: 382
Source: Complimentary copy provided by Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!!!)

Just when she thought she had life and love figured out...

Divorce attorney Harper James can't catch a break. Bad enough that she runs into her ex-hubby, Nick, at her sister's destination wedding, but now, by a cruel twist of fate, she's being forced to make a cross-country road trip with him. And her almost-fiancé back at home is not likely to be sympathetic.
Harper can't help that Nick has come blazing back into her life in all of his frustratingly appealing, gorgeous architect glory. But in Nick's eyes, Harper's always been the one. If they can only get it right this time, forever might be waiting—just around the bend.
What Stephanie Thinks: To be as straightforward as possible, I loved this book. I don't think I've read a contemporary romance that's all of heartbreaking, tearjerking, humorous, and connecting in a very long time. Higgins's voice is relatable and realistic, and her characters are lovable. So lovable, I find myself getting attached to them on a personal level. Don't you just hate it when you crush on fictional characters?

There are a few different conflicts within the story, the main one being Harper's unquenched feelings towards her ex, Nick. Nick... oh Nick. Be still my beating heart. Nick is probably the ideal flawed hero, who's intense, gorgeous, smart, sexy, sex... uh. Where was I? Oh yeah. One look at him—the first time in twelve years—and Harper knows she's putty in his hands. Another issue branches off of this one—her relationship with her now-boyfriend, Dennis. Dennis may not be the brightest crayon in the box, but he's sweet—boyishly, adorably sweet—and yes, I've gone and fallen in love with him too. Sigh. What is it with me and Higgins's male protagonists? Anyway, Harper and Dennis have been together for three years now, and he still hasn't popped the question. Pushing her mid-thirties, Harper's clock is ticking. Dennis needs to propose, and he needs to propose now.

And eventually, he does. At the exact wrong moment, that is. The plot has so many clever twists that have me both wincing and laughing at the same time. There's a more desolate story in this novel too. It involves a sad but poignant understanding of Harper's mother, who left her when she was only thirteen, and that sometimes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. But that doesn't mean the absence is damaging.

The only teensy fault in My One and Only is that Harper is a bit full of herself. She's beautiful, smart, successful—but something is a little off when she's the one telling me that.
 I understand complacency is her tragic flaw (thankfully she admits and resolves it in the end), but for the most part, I find her very annoying. To be honest, she is one of my least favorite characters. Well, she was one of my least favorite characters, until I heard her complete story. Which, by the way, is unravels slowly throughout the novel, revealing her past with her family, and with Nick, that has shaped her to be the woman she is today. By the end of the book, I was nearly bawling—for two reasons. One, because the book was over. Two, because Harper's story was over. I initially didn't like Harper, but after discovering her story—her entire story—I sympathized with her like she was a real friend, not a storybook character. And this is what makes Higgins's masterpiece of a novel perfect, perfect, and more perfect. With a fresh, sentimental voice, she creates a reality which I fantasize about—and that, as a writer, is her biggest, and most brilliant accomplishment.

Stephanie Loves: "I knew we were too young. I knew I wasn't ready. I wanted to wait. Years, preferably. But once we were engaged, Nick put on a full-court press to marry quickly, and I lost the battle on that one.
Eleven months after his marriage proposal, and six months after our wedding, we both lost the war."

Radical Rating:
 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥