I should have hated this book. There are so many things in it I simply cannot bear. A woman desperate for a husband. Horrible cruelty forgiven far too easily. And public humiliation so profound I had to stop reading several times, because second-hand embarrassment is just painful and the worst and why, world, why?
However, romance phenomenon Kristan Higgins has become a mainstay of the genre over the past decade or so for a reason, it turns out — I am very into Romance, I even cover it for a living, and yet I had never read any of her books before now, which is more an indication of just how many romance authors there are than of this particular author’s appeal — and I somehow completely adored this book, despite everything in it that I usually cannot abide.
The whole really is much greater than the sum of its parts, in this case. Very much more.
This first person narrative (another thing I don’t usually love in romance) gives us the lovelorn Maggie, diner owner and twin, who longs to have what her sister has: a husband and a kid and approval from their uptight mother. Unfortunately, she’s in love with the local priest — and he’s a piece of work, especially in his orthodox attitudes to divorce, deliberate charm offensives and general obliviousness — but gets over it when she becomes strangely attracted to taciturn fisherman Malone, who takes the strong silent thing to a whole new level. (He won’t even tell her his first name, even after they are sleeping together. Damn, Malone, that is cold.)
Side note: I LOVED that they slept together, but that Higgins maintained a strict closed door policy, telling us that it was good and stuff, but never showing it. That’s my favourite.
Anyway. Their small Maine town soon knows all their — and others’ — business, mostly because Maggie can’t keep her mouth shut, and yeah, my discomfort levels were constantly raised due to her penchant for constantly being the town laughingstock. (JUST SHUT UP, MAGGIE!) But for all that Malone acted like an outright jerk for most of the book, and Maggie acted like a needy, high maintenance stalker for most of the book (breaking into a guy’s house to make him dinner? Not cool), I still really enjoyed their addled path to love and have certainly added Kristan Higgins to my autobuy list, should I happen upon any more of her books. I’ll especially be on the lookout for the others set in this same town, for which I now have an odd affection, despite the busybody nature of everyone, and how glad it makes me that I live in the big, anonymous city.
Speaking of which? There was a time when I would never have read this book in public, unless on my Kindle, because I wouldn’t want people — strangers — to judge me by my reading material, and the cover of this book clearly declares its genre for all to see. But I have grown past such petty concerns, I am happy to report, and reading this book on the tram today, I was approached by two separate people (both women, it must be said) who wanted to talk about it and their love of either Higgins or Romance at large. This made me very, very happy.
Because, love what you love, you know?
TBR DAY 142: Catch of the Day (Gideon’s Cove #1) by Kristan Higgins
GENRE: Romance, Women’s Fiction
TIME ON THE TBR: 5 years.
PURCHASED FROM: Kmart.