All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Best Man – Kristan Higgins

on November 4, 2013

Best ManThe Best Man (Blue Heron #1)
Kristan Higgins
Harlequin HQN
2013, 426p
Read from my local library

Around Manningsport New York, Faith Holland couldn’t take being the girl who was jilted at the altar by her childhood sweetheart who then came out to her, right there in the back room at the church. She didn’t have a clue. Faith left for California and there she stayed for several years until once again a romantic disaster combined with her siblings urgently calling her home for her assistance lead to Faith returning to her hometown.

Her brother and sisters want her to help them with their father. A widower, John Holland has started dating and the candidate prices the silverware and coyly asks about bank accounts in front of everyone – highly unsuitable. Faith decides that while she’s visiting and attempting to find her father a better match she will also undertake a dream project – a barn conversion on the family’s vineyard which will allow them to host weddings and functions. Faith has dreamed of doing up the barn since she was a teenager and now as a qualified landscape designer, she knows exactly what she wants.

Being back in Manninsport means running into Levi Cooper – now Chief Levi Cooper of the local law enforcement. He was best man at Faith’s ill fated wedding that didn’t quite happen and he instigated the groom’s decision to call it off then and there. According to Levi, he ‘always knew’ that Jeremy wasn’t straight but apparently he also felt the best time for everyone else to be enlightened was just before Faith said ‘I do’. Faith has always felt that Levi didn’t like her – not in school, not when she was dating Jeremy and certainly not when she and Jeremy were engaged. And obviously not when they were about to get married.

However the more Faith sees Levi when she’s back home (and that turns out to be rather often) the harder it is to remember that he had such a hand in ruining her perfect day all those years ago. Instead she finds herself focusing on his green eyes and on his body – and the way he makes her feel. The way which, she has to admit, that Jeremy was never able to make her feel.

The Best Man is the first in Kristan Higgins’s Blue Heron series and one I checked out of my local library to read before I read the follow up book, The Perfect Match. Unfortunately circumstances meant that I ended up reading it after the second book but I’m actually sort of glad about that because for me, this one is the far superior book.

All her life, Faith was the princess. She was younger than her siblings, particularly her eldest siblings Jack and Prudence and she is also the only one not to have made her career within the family’s winery. She was babied and cosseted and she was also the only one who was in the car when her mother died, something that she has always crushed her with guilt. She believes that the accident was her fault and also that various members of her family resent her for it in different ways, or perhaps blame her. A bright spot in Faith’s life was her relationship with Jeremy which was perfect, if a little chaste. When Jeremy jilted her at the alter because he was gay, Faith was devastated and ever since then, her love life has been nothing but disaster.

In The Perfect Match the heroine is Faith’s sister and I mentioned in my review of that one just how much I loved the crazy Holland family and this book is no exception. Goggy and Pops are seriously hilarious but there’s also a touching sad side to their story as well. Faith’s father John is utterly oblivious to the potential gold digger within the mix and Faith’s attempts to fix him up prove to be almost as disastrous. As well as the funny moments, there are plenty of touching ones too which show how tight knit the family is and how much they care about each other even though they may have differences and have spent time apart.

And then there is Levi. I sort of fell a little bit in love with Levi and the descriptions of his looks which rate between a 1-10 on what Faith nicknames the ‘Boredom scale’. I really enjoyed the history between Levi and Faith and the underlying reason for Levi’s distance and Faith’s nervousness when they were around each other. There were moments that were cute and I liked the way Faith connected with Levi’s younger sister Sarah and helped him understand how she might be feeling, having lost her mother (as Faith did) and going through her first year of college where everything is different to what she is used to. The chemistry between the two is fantastic and the way in which the two of them trust each other with things they don’t tell other people (for example Faith confides in Levi that she believes the car accident that killed her mother is her fault and in return Levi admits that he suffers nightmares from his time in Afghanistan in the Army) shows the deeper feelings for each other that they just can’t admit to quite yet.

There’s a couple of things I would query in this book though: one is the constant referencing of other women as “sluts” which I find unattractive and unnecessary. Give them a legitimate reason to be disliked please! Also there’s a pretty distasteful scene where the characters mock a transgender character for humour. It felt a bit insensitive and given the book was funny and easy to enjoy, these cheap jokes felt a bit beneath an author who I feel does have talent at writing romance.

Other than that – this one ticks a lot of boxes for me.

9/10

Book #283 of 2013

LitExp ChallengeI’m counting The Best Man towards my participation in the Literary Exploration challenge 2013. It’s the 16th novel read and reviewed for this challenge… am hopelessly behind!

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2 responses to “The Best Man – Kristan Higgins

  1. Good review. good pick up at the end there, too. now get reading!!!

  2. I was so excited to see your review today, Bree, as The Best Man is one of the (many) titles I’ve had languishing unread on my Kindle for months now. So, I was very happy to see you enjoyed it 🙂 As you mentioned in your own review, I’ve read some rather lacklustre reviews of this novel based largely upon the questionable ‘humour’ and distasteful and utterly unnecessary comments regarding both slut-shaming and the transgender community, both of which I found extremely off-putting and are the reason I’ve yet to read this one. I do plan on reading The Best Man eventually as I’ve gone to the trouble to pay for it and would like to make up my own mind on the subject, and I can only hope I’ll be able to put my feelings about the author’s rather questionable choices aside and enjoy the novel as a whole. Fingers crossed!

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