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The Next Best Thing (Hqn) Mass Market Paperback – January 19, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 219 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Gideon's Cove Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Lucy Lang became a widow in her late twenties when her husband Jimmy fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car. She blames it on the family curse: her mother and her aunts all lost their husbands at relatively young ages, and now she and The Black Widows, as she calls them, channel their energy into running their Hungarian bakery. But when Lucy’s younger sister has her first baby, Lucy starts to think that maybe it’s time to get back in the dating game—it has been five years, after all. She’s still young, and attractive, and she still wants a family, so she should put herself out there, even if nobody can quite measure up to her Jimmy. However, this means she has to stop sleeping with her best friend Ethan—who also happens to be her brother-in-law. But maybe she doesn’t need to look so far for what she wants. Higgins’ latest novel is just as sweet, charming, and tender as her previous books. --Hilary Hatton


"Kristan Higgins is a rising superstar, thanks to...sweet plots with a deliciously tart edge."

--USA TODAY on My One and Only

"Both gut-wrenchingly emotional and hysterically funny at the same time...Kristan Higgins writes the books you don't want to end."

--#1 New York Times bestsellingauthor Robyn Carr

"Romance fans and lovers of women's fiction will devour this witty and tender novel. Highly recommended." -Library Journal, starred review on Somebody to Love

"A funny, poignant romance."
-Publishers Weekly, starred review, on My One and Only

"Higgins has a special talent
for creating characters readers love."
-RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars on All I Ever Wanted

"A heartwarming, multi-generational tale of lost love,
broken hearts and second chances."
-BookPage on The Next Best Thing --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Hqn
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HQN Books (January 19, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0373774389
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373774388
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #218,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages and received numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and Romantic Times. She is a four-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction.

She loves to connect with readers on her website www.kristanhiggins.com and her Facebook page www.facebook.com/KristanHigginsBooks

Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, National Public Radio, Library Journal, iBooks and Amazon have named Kristan's books to their best books of the year numerous times. The author is a popular speaker at schools, writers conferences, bookstores and book festivals.

Before she was a writer, Kristan worked in advertising and public relations. She waited tables and nannied while in high school and college, cleaned houses as a young mother, and is the proud descendant of a laundress and a butcher.

The author loves animals, children (even teenagers), the New York Yankees and dessert.

Along with her heroic and tolerant firefighter husband and two snarky and entertaining children, Kristan lives in her hometown in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a love-hate relationship with Kristan Higgins. I've read them all, and I'm sure I'll continue to read anything she writes in the future. But. There's always a "but," different for each book. The last one, "Too Good to be True," was definitely her best so far, so I had high hopes for "The Next Best Thing." And it does have a lot going for it. For one thing, I couldn't put it down. I read it in a day. The characters are compelling, and the idea of getting over a marriage that seemed perfect is heartwrenching. But. :-)

The quick summary: Lucy's marriage to Jimmy, the love her of her life, ended after just eight months when he was killed in a car accident. Five years later, when her sister has a baby, she decides she's ready to re-enter the dating scene because she wants children of her own. This involves breaking off her "friends with benefits" arrangement with Ethan, Jimmy's brother, who has been her rock and best friend for years. I confess I've never suffered through the death of a husband, so maybe I'm not the best judge here, but Lucy's utter devotion to her dead spouse FIVE YEARS LATER seemed overdone to me. I could completely sympathize with her reluctance to begin dating again, and her inability to visit his grave rang true. But two-thirds of the way through the book, she is still breaking down into broken-hearted sobs on almost a daily basis. She is unable to have the simplest experience with another man without comparing it to the wonder that was her marriage with Jimmy. She still watches their wedding video so often that she leaves it in the DVD player. She just seemed pathetic to me. I skimmed through about a third of the book, partly because it didn't seem believable, but mainly because I felt so sorry for Ethan.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
My Review:
Confession....this book is a re-read for me. I discovered Kristan Higgins books way early in her career. I'm thinking she only had 2-3 books out when I read her the first time. I love every single one of her books, but this one is definitely at the top of her releases list for me. As a result, when I saw it on one of my review lists because of the re-release, I jumped at the chance to do a re-read, especially since I never wrote a proper review for it the first time around.

This book is about Lucy and Ethan. They've been best friends ever since they met at culinary college. In fact, it was Ethan who introduced her to the love of her life, Jimmy, Ethan's older brother. BUT, the women in Lucy's family are cursed....they are all widows because their husbands died young. Lucy didn't escape that curse and her husband, Jimmy, died only 8 months after they were married in a car accident. She's mourned him in the 5 1/2 years since...and Ethan has been there every step of the way, supporting her and providing her with a friends with benefits relationship the last couple of years.

But when Lucy's sister has a baby, things change for Lucy. She wants a husband and family...she just needs that husband to be someone that she won't fall desperately in love with because she can't go through the heartache of loss again. That rules Ethan out...first of all, he is Jimmy's brother. No one would understand, but second of all, she could really fall in love with him if she allowed herself to, but she's just not willing to risk it. So she calls off their arrangement. She can't find another man and still have sex with Ethan. But Ethan is hiding things from her.

The book is told entirely from Lucy's POV and she honestly doesn't really see Ethan.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
At an age when many women are just beginning to think about getting married, Lucy Lang has already been a widow for a little over 5 years. When her younger sister has a baby Lucy realizes that it's time for her to move on - meet someone new and hopefully start a family of her own. There is however the small matter of Ethan Mirabelli, her late husband's brother. Ethan has been Lucy's "rock"; a friend, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on. Well, to be precise, Ethan has been sharing more than just his shoulder with Lucy for the last couple of years ... and Lucy is determined to put an end to it.

This story has a lot going for it. The author has an obvious affection for her characters and they really come alive as the story unfolds. The small town off the coast of Rhode Island where Lucy lives is described perfectly (if it's based on a real place I'd love to visit it!). Many of the funniest scenes in the book take place in "Bunny's", the family-owned (and solidly mediocre) Hungarian bakery where Lucy, her mother and her two aunts (all widows) work. What surprised me is how touching some parts of the story were. Without dwelling on the sadness the author does give you a glimpse of what Lucy has been through and I thought it was very well done and gave the story a nice balance.

This is a first person narrative from Lucy's point of view, which does present the obvious problem of never knowing what Ethan is thinking or feeling. There were times when Lucy's treatment of Ethan bordered on callous and it stretched credibility a bit for me that he kept coming back for more. And as great as the characters were, I felt the story got a little crowded. ( I could have done without the neurotic younger sister and her henpecked husband). But these are minor issues and overall this was an entertaining read that I highly recommend.

There is some (very) mild sexual content and occasional swearing.
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