Review: My One and Only by Kristan Higgins

Thursday, April 7

Title:   My One and Only*
Author: Kristan Higgins
Genre: Contemporary/Mainstream Romance
Publisher: HQN
Format: Mass Market Paperback, Digital e-book
Date/Year: April 1, 2011
Reviewed by: DD

*This book was purchased for my own reading enjoyment.

Summary from the publisher:

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.

My Musings:

I have read all of Kristan Higgins’ Novels. That means I have bawled like a baby more than the average emotional female.

No, these are not steamy love stories. I don’t know if this is a “guideline” of the HQN series, but frankly it doesn’t matter because these are some of the most emotionally draining books I’ve ever read. (In a good way). I have similar thoughts about other authors, but the difference here is instead of feeling like you’re sinking in quicksand, you feel as though you’re having a catharsis and heading for something better. You know the whole ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ metaphor.

This book was different for me from Higgins’ other books. I was actually starting to worry, because I was 60% done and hadn’t cried yet. I was thinking “what’s wrong with me? Is it the wrong time of the month for me to be super emotional? Is she not going to poke my soft heart with a hot stick like her other books?” Then, she did it. There is always that one line, or one situation, that is just so heartbreaking you can’t stand it. It happens, now I can say this with confidence, EVERY TIME with a Kristan Higgins book.

The story goes like this: Harper James (The name Harper is really popular lately) is a divorce attorney on Martha’s Vineyard. Her best friends consist of Kim, her next door neighbor with 4 children, and a Priest named Father Bruce. She also has a REALLY hot firefighter boyfriend named Dennis Costello, who is as nice and loyal as a man can get. They have been together for over two years, have a great sex life, and have settled into a very content existence with each other. Harper’s Dad is reserved to the point of being mute, and her Stepmom BeverLee is a sweet “Bless Your Heart-aholic” with an affinity for spandex and big hair. Harper also has a little sister Willa (BeverLee’s daughter) whom she painfully adores. She is a butterfly, fluttering and flailing about in life, and has been married twice already. She has also had several almost - careers courtesy of Harper’s money, and has had Harper to catch her every time she stumbles in life.

Harper is, understandably, very cynical and somewhat Germ-x and Purell about love and romance in general. Given her career, this is not surprising. She sees “love” fall apart every day at her job. Regardless of her pooh-pooing of Happily Ever After, Harper knows it is time for her to consider a marital partnership. She does not think that true passion and longing is really possible for her anymore. She thinks Dennis is astounding, although somewhat academically stunted compared to her. He is steady as a rock, and precious as a pearl, and Hot, so she decides to ask him to marry HER. She very methodically gives him all the reasons why, thinking this is the best way to go about making a partnership. He hems and haws, spits and sputters, and he doesn’t really give her an answer. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Dennis), in the middle of this awkward conversation, Harper’s sister calls to tell her she’s getting married. For the third time. Harper, being a divorce attorney, sees this as an extreme emergency, and she and Dennis table the marriage discussion; Much to Dennis’ delight and relief, of course.

Harper is floored to the point of being catatonic about Willa making a THIRD marriage mistake. As if that isn’t bad enough, she drops the bombshell-the intended groom is her ex’s brother-The ex, Nick, she hasn’t seen in over a decade. (Insert impending doom music here). Old feelings better left buried come to the surface and eventually open Harper’s eyes and soften her heart, ushering her into a new existence.

Higgins writes this novel in First Person as she does in her other novels. As much as it usually annoys me for other authors to do it, I feel it is essential in this novel and I really liked it. Part of me would really like to know the thoughts going on in the heads of the other characters, but this story is more about Harper and how she views the world. Enough is said in the dialogue between Harper and the supporting characters to give them well rounded personalities, so that it is not necessary to know their inner thoughts. The exception to this is Dennis. We didn’t really get to know him in the story-He had some maturity issues, but I kind of wish Higgins would have made him a little less……something. He said “Dude” way too much, and I felt that cheapened him and he was really a better guy than that (minus the rat-tail). He was good and a gentle soul, and I felt he deserved more. I realize he isn’t the main character or focus and therefore has to be somewhat disposable, but my heart broke a little for him. I guess it was supposed to and that’s the point; Higgins made me care about him enough as a character for me to feel like he didn’t get enough respect. That makes her a darn good author.

Kristan Higgins is absolutely a comic writer. I could NEVER think of the one liners she has stored up. I laughed so many times. Especially when she uses “Crotchety Crotch Crotch” and “Holy Testicle Tuesday” as curse phrases instead of the usual stream of vulgarity (which doesn’t bother me, but it’s a breath of fresh air). The banter between Harper and Nick cannot be beat for entertainment-they have battles of witty dialogue that make you wish they were real friends of yours. Yesterday was Tuesday, and instead of my usual shit or f*$k, I happily shouted “Holy Testicle Tuesday!!!” That’s right Kristan; I stole your hilarious euphemisms for my own personal use. Thanks a Million. My curse word vocabulary is now complete!!

  • Overall: 4.75 Stars. I have never been disappointed in a Kristan Higgins novel, and I’m not disappointed in this one. I want to give it 5 stars, but the Dennis character kind of irked me. 
  • Sensuality level: 2.50: This book isn’t about sex: It’s about Love and Family and all that warm fuzzy stuff :)
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Alexa April 7, 2011 at 10:15 PM  

I have heard nothing but great things about her books. I will have to add this one to my wish list.
Thanks for the great honest review.

DD,  April 11, 2011 at 11:53 AM  

Hi Alexa! I promise you won't be sorry. Your eyes may not thank you the next day though...(They will be puffy) :) This lady knows how to pull the heart strings. I think my favorite was Fools Rush In, followed by All I Ever Wanted. Boohoo Fest!

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