Kristan Higgins is a best selling author for a reason, she delivers the goods. She also bucks the trend of sexually descriptive romance to show that real intimacy happens with our clothes on. I’d feel comfortable handing this book to a young adult reader or my great grandmother. Since books are more fun when they’re shared, I appreciate her choice.
90% of My One and Only is engaging, realistic, heartwarming and rewarding. 10% of it made me want to toss it out the window. It’s not that the 10% was bad (far from it) but it threw me out of a story I was totally engaged in. Our heroine is a hard charging divorce attorney jaded by life and jaded by her clients. What she hasn’t done she’s seen and what she’s seen has made her deeply cynical. Harper’s self protective and prides herself on being free of illusions. She also curses like a three year old child.
This might not bother you, in fact it might please many readers, but for me when the hardbitten Red Sox fan lets loose with “Crotch! Crochety crotch!” It’s hard for me to take her seriously. Sure, she can conjugate it “Well, crotch! Oh, crotch!” but it doesn’t help. Really, who says that? Do you have a friend who pulls her cell phone out of her pocket, looks down and says “Crotch. It’s my boss.” (Maybe I just need to get out more.) The other thing that threw me came in the last few chapters. Everything gets tied up neatly and cutely and by everything I mean every single little thing. I’m shocked the dog didn’t get a surprise litter from a pedigreed princeling. It’s a bit much. However! There’s the other 90% of the book.
Our heroine has a pretty tidy life with an island home, a firefighter boyfriend and a priest for a best friend. She’s doing alright. Sadly, she also has family. In Harper’s case there’s a little sister who likes to marry guys she’s known about five minutes. Her most recent engagement is to Harper’s ex-brother-in-law. As Harper would say, “Crotch!” (Ok, I’ll let it go) Harper boards a plane and heads out to confront her sister’s latest folly which means confronting one of her own. Nick is more than ready to reexamine their past. Since their divorce, he’s moved on with his life but he never moved past Harper. They may have married too young, but they weren’t wrong to marry.
Harper and Nick are savvy people damaged by life and afraid to invest too much in each other. They are also achingly familiar. There’s an element of “Just communicate!” at play, but it works here because the characters are afraid to talk to each other. Exposing their fears means exposing themselves to pain. Neither is the trusting type. I have to say I’m Team Harper all the way. I’d have divorced Nick too. But I can’t blame her for taking him back, either. Older and wiser, he’s still the right one for her. Even though he’s a Yankees fan. Which reminds me – Kristan Higgins totally won the cover jackpot. Right down to the NY plate on the car and the dog by her side, My One and Only has the perfect cover for the story inside. Bold, charming and appropriate, I love the cover as much as the contents.