Tuesday, August 6, 2013

THE NEXT BEST THING by Kristan Higgins

THE NEXT BEST THING by Kristan Higgins 
Advanced Reading Copy
To Be Published: August 27, 2013, Harlequin HQN

Amazon US
Amazon Canada

A pastry chef by trade, Lucy Lang has ended up baking the bread in her family's bakery after the death of her husband five and a half years ago. It seemed like a good idea at the time, since the bakery is run by her mother and her aunts, all widows, the Black widows. Her name may not be Black, but  her curse to end up a young widow just as crippling.

Ethan Mirabelli has been her best friend since college and the only male who is able to charm the collective Black widow clan, except perhaps for his 4-year old son. Ethan is also the person who introduced Lucy to her husband, Jimmy, his older brother and chef for their family restaurant. And the last few years Ethan has also become Lucy's 'friend with benefits', nothing more, and purely for convenience.......after all, he's her neighbour too!

But now Lucy is ready to date, or so she claims, she doesn't want to spend the rest of her life alone, even though she is determined to keep her heart out of play this time around. If she should fall in love, she might lose another husband to the 'curse', so any potential risks must be eliminated beforehand. That means Ethan has to go.......first of all, he drives a motorcycle.....right. Also, he likes adventure, that's a definite strike against him, and lastly......he might have the ability to really destroy her, should something happen, and there is no way she can do without her friend! 

Ethan is not impressed with that plan, in fact he is quite tired of playing second fiddle, especially when it comes to Lucy. But will he be able to convince her to let go of her fear and take hold of what was hers all along? 


Ohhhh it's a great book when you've laughed and you've cried and everything in-between!! I've had the pleasure of reading more of Kristan Higgin's work and knew she was capable of pulling out every possible emotion I have in my arsenal, and she has done it again!! And yes, that includes anger and frustration!!!

I uttered OMG in frustration plenty of times, when Lucy's internal struggles came up, but I have to admit, I'm generally one to make a decision and throw myself in. Not so Lucy, poor thing has not had the best of examples either, with a mother and a bunch of aunts who continue to worship their long deceased husbands as if they were virtual Gods when still alive, perfect and faultless. HA. She also gets no assistance from her in-laws, heck, they continue to mourn their son as if it was yesterday and expect her to do the same. This girl needs some hair on her chest, not her lip!!! I wanted to poke my elbow in her side or teach her to whistle on her fingers, anything to prompt her to take a stand for herself.
Ethan was also not one of the most decisive people, although I appreciate he wanted to let Lucy come to her own conclusion, part of me wanted him to grab her, shake her and tell her how it was going to be!! I also wanted him to give his parents a good talking to, geeze....I was ready to give them a piece of my mind!
But both of them learned, they unstuck themselves from the place they had almost become rooted and found a way to choose the path that was meant for them.

I love the mute character working in the bakery, amidst all the crazy cackle of the sisters, he was an oasis of quiet reason. Without saying a word, he ended up providing that little injection of encouragement at the exact right time. That was perfection and told an entire story in itself.
The interaction between the Black sisters and also Lucy's in-laws is at times hilarious. Especially when you throw in the questionable Gypsy psychic, then the bakery becomes a true three-ring circus.

Kristan Higgins has found a perfect balance in using clever humour to ensure that the serious and quite emotional nature of the story doesn't become too overwhelming. Your emotions will run the gamut, but you will end up with a big smile on your face, that I guarantee!

A moving, witty and captivating story of overcoming.

**ARC courtesy of NetGalley and Harlequin HQN in return for an honest review.**

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