August 29, 2011

Book Review: Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

At First Sight: For as far as she can remember, Posey has been in love with Liam Murphy, the guy who, over fifteen years ago, rolled into town - all bad attitude and good looks - and fell in love with the local princess Emma Tate, whom he eventually followed to California.

Now, Liam is back in town. A widower, he moves back to the East Coast so his fifteen year old daughter can be close to her grandparents. He's still as handsome as Posey remembers - and he still calls her Cordelia, which is her given name - and he still doesn't seem to care about her.

Liam doesn't want to date, doesn't want a fling. All he wants is to establish his custom bike business and keep his daughter safe from harm. His marriage to Emma might not have been a fairy tale, but his daughter is the best thing Liam has ever done and  he won't stop at anything to ensure her safety - much to his daughter, Nicole, annoyance.

Still, when circumstances - that mostly revolve around Liam's spying on Nicole and her boyfriend - keep bringing them together, Liam finds a strange comfort in Posey, who calls him out on his over-protectiveness, on his past behavior as God's Gift to Women (she even calls him that sometimes), and is the first person to tell him he sells himself short. 

Posey, meanwhile, is dealing with the fact that she's falling for Liam again, that her perfect cousin - and celebrity chef - Gretchen is coming to work at Posey's parents' restaurant; and that, lately, she has been thinking more and more about her birth mother, much as she loves her adoptive parents.

Second Glance: I was pleasantly surprised with Until There Was You, I often go up and down with Kristan Higgins' books, and I didn't particularly like the previous book (My One and Only). I liked Posey and her unusual profession -she owns a salvage yard - and Liam - who openly admits he's an hypocrite trying to protect his daughter from all the things he did with her mother when they were teenagers. 

In this book, I can see the progression of Ms Higgins' writing. She dabbles on the third person for the first time, and - also for the first time - she shows the hero's point of view. I really liked Liam, though he had plenty of hang ups and he wasn't particularly romantic all the time - though he does grasp the concept of 'The Big Gesture' - but he was nice, even with the bad boy rep. 

Posey was less neurotic than the usual Higgins heroine, and for once her family didn't suck - I didn't hate her mother, which is also a first - and I actually loved her interactions with her brother Henry and his partner Jon - they were funny, totally gay but not overdone, which I appreciate. Sadly, the dog in this book didn't play a big part, which was also different.

I did have a couple of hang ups, like I felt there were entirely too many characters (by chapter 3 there were over 15 names I was trying to remember) and some of them where just there, rather than serve a purpose -though I have an idea of on whom the next book is going to be, and if I'm right can I say: Exposition much?, but oh well. 

Also, it felt like it was much more Liam's story than Posey's and it was a fairly uneventful plot.

Bottom Line: A quiet book where nothing much happens, Until There Was You is, none the less, a good read to spend an afternoon. Fair warning, though, this is not a plot driven book, so you gotta like the characters to like the story.  This book will be released in October 2011.

Favorite Quote:
"Yeah, well, this nice boy is not nice. Trust me. I've been a boy. You have no idea how not nice we are." - Liam

"Hypocritical? Absolutely. The essence of parenthood."

"I was you age once, too." Liam said.
"I'm aware of that, sir."
"I know what you think about." 
"I'm sorry." 
"You can think about it. You can't do it." 
- Liam & Tanner (Nicole's boyfriend)

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