Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review: Too Good To Be True by Kristan Higgins

When Grace Emerson’s ex-fiancee starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she’s seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone … exactly unlike her renegade neighbor Callahan O’Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.

Whoa. No. Callahan O’Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so … right?

Grace Emerson is a good girl done wrong by love. But she’s over him, really. She has her students, her best friend Julian and weekends spent at Civil War re-enactments (oh how I love that unique character trait). She lives in her dream house, purchased with her ex and then used as sort of breakup recovery. She also has Angus, her white West Highland terrier (the most adorable fictional dog I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet). Life is good. Life is grand. And then she attends her cousin’s wedding (the third wedding). And Andrew is there, dating her youngest sister. Suddenly, Grace isn’t so sure she’s “just fine”. But before she has time to explore that thought, she finds Nat in the bathroom crying. Before she knows it, Grace has invented a pretend boyfriend and assaulted her new ex-con neighbor all in one night.

Callahan O’Shea, ex-con and house flipper, just wants a quiet life. He wants to meet that perfect woman and settle down with a few kids. He doesn’t want the cops called on him or find himself at the receiving end of a field hockey stick. But that’s just what happens. Fortunately for him, the woman who assaults him with her hockey stick ends up being his dream girl. But he holds back. He has a past and once Grace knows of his crime (embezzlement, with a very good excuse), he waits for her to accept what he has done and come to him on her own.

Grace does come to Callahan on her own terms. Throughout the book she realizes that she has left Andrew and the hurt of their failed relationship far behind. One of my favorite scenes occurred when Grace climbed up to the roof where Callahan lay. She spent better half of the book spying on him from her attic and finally she was invited up.

“Were you ever married?” Callahan asked.

“Nope,” I said, staring at the hypnotic stars. “I was engaged a couple years ago, though.” God. A couple of years ago. It sounded like such a long time.

“Why’d you call it off?”

I shifted to look at him. Nice, that he assumed it had been my decision. Nice, but untrue. “I didn’t, actually. He did. He fell for someone else.” Funny … saying it like that didn’t sound all that bad. He fell for someone else. It happened.

Callahan O’Shea turned his head. “Sounds like he was an idiot,” he said softly.

    Oh. Oh. There it was again, that warm, rolling squeeze of my insides.

Ms. Higgins brings her signature humor and heart to her fourth effort, Too Good To Be True. Readers follow the trials and tribulations of Grace, a woman trying to heal herself while she navigates the choppy waters of dating, family issues and morality. The warmth of her characters seeps through the pages and creeps into your heart with very little effort. Three days after reading the final pages, I find myself still thinking of Grace and Callahan. Ms. Higgins is an auto-buy for me and I bought Too Good To Be True without even reading the back blurb. I was rewarded with the best Higgins book yet. 

Things I Liked

~ Grace’s family, the Emersons. They’re dysfunctional, they’re funny, they care about each other and most importantly, they are REAL. Ms. Higgins creates a true, caring relationship between the Emerson sisters. When you read about the sisters, you come to understand why Grace would allow and even set-up a romantic relationship between her youngest sister and her ex.

~ My favorite scene: Grace trapped in the closet at Julian’s dance studio while her parents acted out a sexual fantasy … or Grace and Callahan on the roof … or, oh yes, Nat’s wedding. I won’t ruin it for those of you who haven’t yet read the book, but Grace’s act of closure is priceless.

~ Grace and Margaret’s use of particularly fun exclamations. As Margaret once said: “Gentle Jesus of the three iron nails …” And Grace’s favorite: “God’s nightgown!”

~ Most importantly, I loved Grace’s love of the Civil War and Gone With the Wind. As a history geek myself (and yes, I have participated in a re-enactment or two), this was a refreshingly unique character trait for our heroine.

Things I Didn’t Like

~ For the better part of the book I wasn’t quite sure I even liked Callahan. He was mean and surly and I wondered how he and Grace would ever come to love each other. As the book progressed, so did their relationship (in a believable way) but his initial bad attitude was distracting.

Additional Info

~ Published ~ January 2009

~ Price ~ $6.99

~Favorite Author Book ~ This one!

~ Author Website ~  www.kristanhiggins.com


Kristie (J) said...

*chuckle* I'm not sure an author can become an autobuy after reading two books - but if she can - she is for me. I loved both Just One of the Guys and now this one. I liked Callahan right from the beginning and I loved Grace :)

Emily said...

Kristie ~ Definitely check out Fools Rush In!

Mollie said...

This is my third book by this author. I didn't care much for Fools Rush In, but I LOVED Just one of the Guys, and I enjoyed this one, but didn't love it. One other blogger commented on how it's more chick-lit than traditional romance. And I'd agree. But I will definitely continue to read this author!