Series: Book 2 in the ‘Gideon’s Clove’ series
This is my second Kristan Higgins novel. And I have been eyeing the books, every time I visited the library.
I knew two things while picking it up:
1: I enjoyed all the entertaining aspect of ‘All I Ever Wanted’.
2: I didn’t like the female protagonist much in ‘All I Ever Wanted.’
3: The blurb of ‘The Next Best Thing’ made me smile. So I thought it’d make for a good weekend read.
Let’s find out a little more about the story….
Genre: Chick-Lit Romance.
Main Characters: Lucy Lang, Ethan Mirabelli.
‘The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins’ ~~ Synopsis:
Lucy became a widow at the tender age of 25 and hasn’t thought much about starting her life fresh with someone else.
As her late husband, Jimmy was the love of her life and no one comes even close to anything like him.
Also, Lucy isn’t sure if she should get married again and put someone’s life in danger again. Here’s what the weird issue is:
“The biological men in our family are spared…it’s just the husbands who seem to meet an early death.” ~~ Kristan Higgins (Book: The Next Best Thing)
After her husband’s death Lucy quietly joins her mother and her two aunts, known as the ‘Black Widows’, mostly because that’s their maiden last name.
She dutifully works in her family’s bakery as a baker despite the fact that she’s trained pastry chef and loves to make pastries.
But Lucy’s feelings change the moment she holds her younger sister’s daughter in her hands. All of a sudden, all Lucy wants is to have a family.
So she decides to start dating again. There are a few tiny obstacles in her way before she’d chase her goal:
1: She’s still in love with her husband and doesn’t want anyone else to replace him.
2: She’s also close to her in-laws and doesn’t want to hurt them by indicating that she’s moving on with her life.
3: Over the years, by chance, she got into ‘friends with benefits’ relationship with her best friend-cum-brother-in law, Ethan.
Lucy expected some resistance from Ethan after listening to her decision, but he simply leaves her as per her request. That she doesn’t like.
Lucy gets to the job of tactfully informing people around her about her decision.
Begins her search for the Mr. Right for Marriage, once in a while assisted by her quirky aunts, who tries to set Lucy up with almost much any or everybody.
“My aunts may not fully approve of my efforts to remarry, but that hasn’t kept them from advertising my wares to every male who comes in the bakery.” ~~ Kristan Higgins (Book: The Next Best Thing)
While Lucy searches for the special someone with certain conditions:
1: She knows that she may never fall in love with whoever she’d decide to marry. And it’s okay.
Even if he’d fall prey to the ‘Black widow’ curse in her family, she wouldn’t be left behind heartbroken again.
Lucy didn’t believe in the curse before, but now wonders if her younger sister is right to put her husband through hell, just to prolong his life.
2: Someone a good father material.
Ethan pretends to go with Lucy’s decision. All the while waiting patiently for her to come to her senses and see all the love she need is right in front of her.
Let’s get this out of the way that I could not relate to Lucy.
For a while I understood and sympathized with Lucy’s hesitant to move on with her life. After some scenes I lost interest in her many excuses and co-dependency issues.
All her whining (read: reasons to not date or date certain type of guys or simply not wanting to move on with her life) makes the story dull. I mean I got it the first time, no need to repeat it again and again; even if I know most of us do just that in real life. But it’s a fiction for fiction’s sake, stop repeating.
There are few other issues that kept bothering me like:
Lucy doesn’t have a mind of her own and wants someone to take care of herself (if only life worked like that).
I don’t like heroines who don’t know how to take decisions for themselves and simply succumb to circumstances or believe other people’s statements.
The reason her attitude is all gloom and doom is because her family, her mother and aunts, keep promoting the kind of life they are living and how happy they are.
And expect Lucy to follow their lead as well, as if desiring more from life is a crime.
Her mother’s detached attitude towards Lucy and her sister Corrine doesn’t help either.
People around Lucy are discouraging and unfortunately Lucy’s a personality that’s easily influenced.
Lucy goes around seeking approval, so no surprises it took her five years to see that Ethan loves her.
The narrative is from Lucy’s perspective and is not compelling in an emotional way. That’s another reason preventing connection with Lucy.
Maybe if Ethan’s perspective was also included the plot would have held a more emotional appeal.
It seems like he’s something to share because all Lucy has to share is her complaints and her repetitive reasons ‘why she should or could not move on?’
It’s difficult to not like Ethan’s character unless you’ve something against ‘nice heroes in fiction’.
The story isn’t all that hilarious, but it’s funny in parts.
Getting tired of reading in the midst is a real possibility as some elements seem repetitive, especially Lucy & Ethan’s on-off relationship and Lucy’s thoughts on ‘how perfect Jimmy was’ etc.
Since I didn’t get the feeling that it’s a romantic read, I checked Goodreads and turns out ‘romance’ is one category I can file it under, something I won’t do.
Despite all this, I’m looking forward to reading Parker’s story. She seems like a fun character.
Hit or Miss: Time-pass.
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