Colleen O’Rourke is in love with love…just not when it comes to herself. Most nights, she can be found behind the bar at the Manningsport, New York, tavern she owns with her twin brother, doling out romantic advice to the lovelorn, mixing martinis and staying more or less happily single. See, ten years ago, Lucas Campbell broke her heart…an experience Colleen doesn’t want to have again, thanks. Since then, she’s been happy with a fling here and there, some elite-level flirting and playing matchmaker to her friends.
But a family emergency has brought Lucas back to town, handsome as ever and still the only man who’s ever been able to crack her defenses. Seems like maybe they’ve got some unfinished business waiting for them—but to find out, Colleen has to let her guard down, or risk losing a second chance with the only man she’s ever loved.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is the first Kristan Higgins novel I’ve read. She’s been on my radar for a while now as quite a few people have recommended her work to me before. I actually met Kristan at the Romance Writers of America Conference this past summer and she signed a copy of Waiting On You for me, which is, eek(!) pretty awesome.
I see now why so many people enjoy her work. She is a very talented writer – the characters in her books are well developed and fleshed out. I really fell in love with Colleen and Lucas in this book, as well as many of the side characters. Higgins did a great job of really bringing the reader into the small town charm and the wonderful type of people you might find in it.
Colleen, our heroine, is a strong woman who looks out for the people in her town. She looks out for everyone. She encourages her friends to find love and she even manages to set up the right people. She knows when someone will click and who will bring the best out in someone else. But when it comes to herself, she protects her heart. Because there was only one guy she has ever felt truly connected to, and he painfully left her behind in Manningsport and married someone else. This deep love – painfully real love –reminded me of The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks. Higgins writes this well and makes us feel the pain and love that Colleen and Lucas once felt.
This is a long book, and the reason is because of all the backstory. Kristan doesn’t bring the backstory out in little pieces here and there – well she does – but then she flashes back to the past and shows us every detail of that scene of that time. This lengthens the book quite a lot. This is the only thing I feel so-so on. I personally don’t need to see the entire backstory play out. I’m fine with the details and information coming out in the present. I don’t need to see when Colleen and Lucas met, or Lucas’s life as a child, or Lucas’s time coming to live with his cousin. I’d rather stay in the present. BUT that’s just me. After reading this book, I see why all those scenes and flashbacks were included because they show the depth of the feelings of these characters and the choices they made that led them to this point. It helps really flesh them out and shows the readers every angle of these characters. Every detail in this story is important. Every piece is put into place.
The dialogue is by far the best part of Higgins’ writing. She is a master at this. It’s very quick and witty and it somewhat reminds me of the quickness of an Aaron Sorkin script. Also, she does a wonderful job at the deep POV.
Higgins also does a great job at creating conflict; internal and external. Even the super small bits of conflict that make a difference in the grand scheme of things. She really fine-tunes this and it works wonderfully. Just when you think our Hero and Heroine have smoothed out one road bump, another comes along out of the blue, making the car swerve off the road. And the more she heightens the conflict, the better the pay off is in the end.
This book has a lot of the hot feelings and yearnings from the characters, but once it’s time to get down to business those scenes are actually skipped over. I think the sex scenes are pretty important in a romance novel because it shows a big change in the relationship after, so I did think that was a bit of a let down.
For romance and chick-lit lovers, I definitely recommend this book. I know I’ll be going back to read some of her past work, and will definitely read her future work.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
To read more of my reviews or submit your book for review, click here.