Saturday, March 9, 2013
Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins
Skeptic scale: ♥♥♥♥
Can I just say that I am an unabashed KH fan-girl. The lady can do no wrong in my opinion. She's just a wonderful writer of people. I've noticed that in addition to the main romantic story there are these wonderful references to very diverse and interesting topics - gay rights, adoption, complicated family dynamics, race, diverse cultural backgrounds. Not that she references these heavy-handedly! No sir... it's more just THERE in the background, just happening. Very cool and very interesting.
Also, there's always has a dog. Which is awesome. Sometimes there are cats, which I don't care for, but there's always a dog which lets me stomach the cat stuff better (my apologies to cat people everywhere. I promise I'm not a horrible person. Some of my best friends have cats).
He: Former high school leather-jacketed, motorcycle-riding bad boy and current widower. He falls in love with his wife (the angelic counterpoint to his bad self) in high school but then she dies tragically of cancer and he moves back to his wife's hometown to raise their teenage daughter.
She: One of the uncools who attended the same high school as the H and his wife. She has harbored a terminal crush on the H that whole time. He was fleetingly (distractedly) nice to her but generally ignored her leaving her to nurse her unrequited crush in silent torment.
Conflict: He's unnaturally scared of being a bad father, of having harm come to his daughter, having her taken away from him and wants to avoid romantic entanglements. She is hopelessly in love with him from the get go so the conflict basically centers on him dealing with his personal loss, his family situation and some oddly endearing (but still serious) anxiety issues.
KH deals beautifully with both the H & h's internal struggles. I love the fact that they are "whole" human beings with interests and lives outside the whole romantic sphere. I really felt for the h! She was just so sweet and sincere when she tells the H how she feels I sighed and made my kindle cloudy. I felt actual PAIN that he didn't immediately respond by falling to her feet and telling her that she was the one for him and that she was WONDERFUL and AWESOME and he totally WANTED HER FOREVER. I'll never forgive him for that.
I will say that in this story there was a slight "wobble" in the mood on account of the rather somber theme of the H being a widower and all that. But KH is just a great writer (A+++ for dialogue) that the little moodiness just sort of become irrelevant.