Monday, October 24, 2011

Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

Posey Osterhagen can't complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she's surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something's missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.

When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he's back, sending Posey's traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….

2011 has been the year of reading short stories for me and it has also been the year that I started reading contemporary romances. In the past I only read a couple of authors, but this year I have been reading quite a few. One of the new to me authors I have started reading is Kristan Higgins. Reading her backlist has been a bit hit or miss (Just One of the Guys = hit, Fools Rush In = big miss). This is the first time I have read a Higgins book as it was released.

This book was somewhere in the middle for me - not a complete miss, but I did have some issues with it!

First of all, this book is different from her previous books in that, finally, we get to hear from the male character. In the past the point of view was limited to the thoughts of the heroine and in a way there was a disconnect to the hero, but this time we hear from both Posey and Liam and I must say I liked it!

Posey Osterhagen was in love with Liam Murphy in high school. He was the local bad boy, complete with motorcycle and a bad attitude and he broke her heart on prom night in high school. While he knew that Posey existed, he only had eyes for Emma the local sweetheart. Liam and Emma moved away, had a daughter and went on with life. Posey is still single (mostly) and is running a business that she loves (as an architectural salvager which sounds very cool) and has a full life with her friends and family.

I loved most of the secondary characters in this book! There is Posey's brother Henry and his partner, Jon, her best friend who has boundary issues with her teenage son, her coworkers, her parents. Have to say I didn't think much of her cousin Gretchen who has returned home and is causing issues within the family and .

Also returned home to Bellsford is Liam. He is now a widower and he has changed from the ultimate bad boy into the ultimate over protective father! The interactions between Liam and his teenage daughter Nicole were so much fun!

"Well, listen, sweetheart. Boys only want one thing, of course, and guess what that means for you? Heartbreak. Pregnancy. Chlamydia, herpes, syphilis, crabs.”

That’s beautiful, Dad. You should set it to music."
Liam is dealing with being a single dad, overbearing grandparents and his own feelings of guilt, inadequacy and mortality which all build up to OCD and panic attacks. I really loved reading Liam and his struggles. As written he seemed really hot, and really human.

The bad boy returning home is a common trope as is the bad boy turned good by the love of a good woman. I really appreciated that in this book Liam had transformed his life, but that it wasn't transformed by the heroine. He had left his past long behind him with the help of his wife and daughter and he was ready to show that to the town when he came back even if the town wasn't quite ready to accept that he had changed.

I wasn't quite so fond of Posey for a number of reasons. The major reason was her tendency to replace curse words and phrases with cutesy phrases - for example Holy Elvis or using the word Bieber as an explanation! Drove me crazy! Fun for a little while but when it goes through the entire book.....step away from the gimmick.

It is always interesting to me to read about the prom scenes in romances. We had school dances but it just wasn't the huge coming of age deal that it seems to be in America as we see in novels and movies. The thing is though that there just don't seem to be that many great proms written in romances. Posey had had a terrible prom experience and so she shied away from even being a chaperone at the event because of the bad memories. I can understand there being a redo moment for her but I don't necessarily feel as though this scene really worked all that well.

I didn't necessarily feel the connection between Posey and Liam and felt the resolution scene came a little bit out of left field. Still, I was emotionally involved with the characters, I laughed and I cried so on that level the book worked for me.

I wouldn't start with this book if you are new to Higgins, but it wasn't a bad read. It just wasn't a great read. The book is available in stores on 25 October.

Rating 4/5

Thanks to Netgalley. Please note that all quotes from the egalley and therefore may be different in the final version of the book


  1. I don't really do contemporary romance myself. I know it's very wrong of me, but I always think of it as chick-lit and I just often don't like the way women in those stories are portrayed. This one seems different in that it has a male voice, but I don't think if this author is so hit or miss that I should start the genre with her.

  2. I also haven't read a lot of contemporary romance, and sort of stay away from it unless it's a secondary element in another story. That being said, it might be worth investigating some of Higgins' work at some point. It sounds like if I picked the right one, I could have a very nice experience!

  3. I've never read her and this is the only book of hers that I have! Yikes!

  4. This was my first Higgins and though I wasn't blown away I liked it. I have to agree with you that "bieber" wore on me too. I wonder where she came up with that.

  5. wow ~ love this review, you nailed it, IMO. i have read this one as well and liked it, but didn't love it. i've read two other books by Higgins and she is a touch hit and miss, eh.

    Thanks for the tip of your fave Higgins ~ haven't read that one yet :)

  6. Hm, it wasn't a great read but it still gets a 4?

    But ok I would start with another Higgins then

  7. Blodeuedd, grading is always so subjective. At the time I finished it, I had still laughed, I had still teared up a bit, and I still closed the book with a sigh so I still gave it a 4, but yes, I still had issues with it!

    Nomes, I am about to read another Higgins. I am, of course, hoping for another hit but we will soon see!

    Holly, yeah, the Bieber thing was weird. I think it was meant to be cute but you can easily overdo cute!

    Staci, you may not be distracted by the same issues I was.

    Zibilee, if you are interested in reading some contemporary romance, let me know and I will come up with some recommendations.

    Aarti, thinking of it as chick-lit is interesting because to me there are marked differences between chick-lit and contemporary romance.