Shelf Unawareness: Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins

And now for something completely different!

Don’t worry, the live blog is still on, but I’d like to take a different tack for a moment.

I recently read and reviewed Kristan Higgins’s latest romance, Somebody to Love, for Shelf Awareness. Due to a small oversight, my review did not make publication, which bums me out because I love this author. I told her publicist, who not only represents some talented writers but is also a very nice human being, that I would run the review here. Obviously it’s not as big-time as running in Shelf, which has hundreds of thousands of subscribers to my eleven, but I wanted to do something… I loved the book, for Pete’s sake!

I thought about running it after I finished the 50SoG live blog, but then I realized that now is actually a perfect time to have a Shelf Unawareness post on this very book.


Because this is a romance novel. There’s nothing about Something to Love, or any of Higgins’s books, that you can call trashy or shallow unless you’re ignorant as to the contents. This story is about two adults with their own personalities, lives, and problems. They meet and experience attraction, but obstacles stand in their way, foremost being their own inabilities to let go and trust each other. Their interactions don’t consist of a mindless string of sexual encounters, and they don’t live in a cardboard cutout world. Their town has its own culture, its own inhabitants with their own personalities. Real thought, feeling, and wit went into this book, just like all of Higgins’s books. To me, her work epitomizes romance: two grown-ups, with all the baggage becoming a grown-up entails, caring enough about each other to figure out how to solve their problems and learn to be in a relationship together. Her books feature some of the most heartfelt relationships I’ve seen in the genre, and folks, there’s not even any sex. Well. Okay, let me clarify: Actually, some of her books have a TON of sex. This one, in fact, has quite the steam level. Higgins’s characters have serious cases of lust, and she writes sensual scenes well, but she doesn’t detail the sex act. To paraphrase Lynn Kurland, you won’t find any throbbing body parts unless someone has a headache. Or, in Higgins’s case, unless the heroine whacked the hero with a hockey stick because she thought he was a burglar. That’s a different book, though.

Anyway, her light, funny romances are, to me, exactly what romance is all about, and I think that if more people understood that, romance readers wouldn’t feel compelled to hide what they’re reading or label it “a guilty pleasure.”

The unedited review:

Somebody to Love cover artSomebody to Love

by Kristan Higgins

HQN Books, $7.99 mass market, 9780373776580, April 24, 2012

Kristan Higgins (Until There Was You) is back to win readers’ hearts again with a sweet, hilarious romance underscored with themes of family ties and forgiveness.

Author and heiress Parker Welles has little use for her estranged father and even less use for his gorgeous attorney James Cahill, whom she disdainfully calls Thing One. When her father loses their fortune in an insider trading bust, Parker and her five-year-old son Nicky go from riches to rags. Parker’s only hope for fast cash lies in flipping a decrepit house in Gideon’s Cove, Maine, left to her by her aunt. She’s shocked when Thing One insists on helping with the restoration work, but she warily accepts and soon finds herself living under the same roof as the very tempting, ever-so-slightly younger man.

James has loved Parker for years but blew his previous chance at her heart. He’s kept his distance, intimidated by her close friendship with her son’s seemingly perfect father and stepmother (the happy couple from Catch of the Day), but now he’s determined to prove his worth in Parker’s hour of need. He just hopes she’ll forgive him when she finds out his role in her family’s bankruptcy.

James and Parker both have difficulty with trust due to troubled relationships with their fathers, and their courtship is filled with missteps. However, Higgins balances hesitancy, tenderness, and passion with a sure hand, and readers will swoon as James and Parker learn to forgive their families and possibly start one of their own.

That’s my review! I give this book four big honking stars and suggest you go find a copy. And while you’re at it, go ahead and pick up this one, too:

Until There Was You cover art

Until There Was You is my very favorite of her books. I literally finished this book and picked up my phone to text the heroine, then realized she’s not real, and even if she were real, we live in different states and would never have met. I got so into the book and liked her character so much, it totally slipped my mind that she doesn’t exist.

Posey Osterhagen, you are real to me.