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54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was such a fantastic book.

I came into this one expecting tolerable chick lit, and instead got one of the best books I've read in a long time.

There aren't many people who can create such incredibly three-dimensional characters, and every single person in this book - down to the smallest of secondary characters - seemed real. I read an ARC of this book and meant to just try the first chapter and then get back to it closer to the release date. Instead I kept reading and didn't do a single other thing until it was finished.

Harper is trying to mould her life into the one it's supposed to be: safe and secure, with an acceptable husband and a few kids. She doesn't want to care too much about anyone or anything. But then she gets the news her stepsister is marrying her ex-husband's brother, and that means seeing her ex again for the first time in a very long time. Of course things go wrong and they are thrown back together, but don't expect some contrived romantic comedy full of predictable situations. Beneath the outrageous characters and the humour is a very complicated story with an extremely realistic hero and heroine.

I'm not someone who cries. Ever. (Well, maybe once a year if it's a bad year!) But this book made me cry, more than once! People are always saying that there's nothing new in fiction, and you have to take things that have already been done and make them interesting. That's pretty much true, and on the surface you'd think My One and Only is just one cliché after another. But Higgins' book doesn't work that way. Sure, there were some situations I'd seen characters in before, but they never once did what I expected them to do. There were so many big, emotional moments for Harper: the way her marriage to Nick fell apart; her odd relationships with her mother and her stepmother; the way she struggles so much to act the way she's `supposed' to act.

Though not the sole focus of the story (the book has elements of more genres than just romance in it), the connection between Harper and Nick was the highlight for me. Things went wrong and they made mistakes and they fought. Yet the night they met as young students, Nick approached Harper and told her he was going to marry her, and no matter how bad things got he never changed his mind about her.

Nobody is perfect in this one, and nobody has some sudden revelation and becomes a different person. When Harper and Nick got back together and started making the same mistakes all over again it felt so much more believable than some weird transformations into the ultimate hero and heroine - which is pretty much what I expected to get.

What on the surface appears to be a fairly straightforward contemporary romance with a well-worn setup was anything but that. Harper comes across as a fairly aggressive and even irritating character at the beginning, but then as we learn more and more about her, the book became more than a little heartbreaking. This is one of those books I know I'll keep going back to. It was SO good.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Harper James is a 30-something divorce attorney on Martha's Vineyard. She's very good at what she does and half the divorcees in Martha's Vineyard hate her (that would be the half whose exes hired her, lol). She's got a realistic view of love and marriage (she thinks) and has been dating Dennis for 2 1/2 years; she's tired of waiting and is going to propose. Her plan is to present the facts and convince him it's time. Romantic, she's not. Right in the middle of her proposal, her sister Willa calls to tell her she's getting married...for the third time...to a man she's only known a few weeks...and also happens to be Harper's ex-husband's brother.

Nick Lowe married the love of his life 12 years ago, and lost her less than a year later. He's never forgotten Harper, and never gotten over her. He's moved on, but he knows she was his One Great Love.

Harper is the Maid of Honor and Nick is the Best Man at their siblings' wedding. They get through the wedding festivities and Harper thinks she's home free and can get away from Nick (and her memories)...but her flight gets canceled. Nick offers to drive her to the next big airport to get her a flight back home. During the drive, they talk a little, reminisce a little, and fight a little. And Harper realizes she's never gotten over Nick either. But neither can get over the past enough to look towards the future.

My Thoughts: Kristan Higgins writes the kind of books I love to read, and My One and Only is no exception. When the story opened, I found Harper to be a bit abrasive; BUT, as the story moved and we see more of her history with Nick and learn how her mother left her on her 13th birthday, I started to really like her. Nick was a sightly tortured hero, he had his own issues to deal with, and I loved him. He was patient and sweet, and he was there when Harper needed him. My only complaint was that to me he seemed a bit insensitive and expected Harper to change her life/location to be with him, in the past and the present. They tried to hide their rekindled attraction to each other and it was quite comical to see them put up a front:

"I don't think Bob's up for running," I said.
"Then you'll take my horse."
"What about you?"
"I'll stay here and whittle a sword and kill the bear or, if that doesn't work, I'll just be eaten alive, happily sacrificing my life for yours." He gave me a look. "Or I'll just stay on the horse and you can sit behind me. Satan can hold two, I'm sure."
"Oh, so you're a cowboy now? I wasn't aware that architects were also masters of horseflesh. You and Satan BFF's now? Practiced your stunt-riding this morning?"
"My dad gave me a few lessons."
"When? When you were six?"
"Well, you know, Harper, maybe we should just stay here and bicker until the bear can't stand it anymore and kills us both. Would that make you happy?"
~My One and Only, pg. 114

My One and Only made me laugh - from Harper's boyfriend Dennis, the hunky firefighter who still wears a rat-tail *yikes!*, to her step-mother BeverLee, a caricature of the big-boobed, bouffant haired Southerner (who I ended up loving as well), and it made me cry - Harper's memories about her mother and memories of her own broken marriage to Nick broke the surface and she was able to view her past from an adult point of view. The writing was fabulous and I fell right into the story - first with Harper and Dennis, then I couldn't wait to see where things were going with Nick, both on the road and in her heart. Throughout it all, I loved seeing Harper learn to let herself love and be loved in return.
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23 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have loved Higgins' books, her humor, her characters, her emotional romances. Her witty dialogue and thoughts were in this one, but I didn't find them funny. Harper was such a sad (not the crying kind), pitiful character her thoughts and words were not funny to me. She was such an emotionally stunted (Higgins' words) wreck she came off as shallow to me. Yes, her mother issue was very sad (the crying kind) and it explained why she was so cold emotionally, but she still came off as too callous to find any humor in her. Reading about her relationship with her ex-husband added to the depression. I really couldn't see how they could have a successful relationship. When they got back together, initially, I didn't believe they would last. Harper was just such a miserable person and Nick hadn't seemingly changed from their first go. But Harper's relationship with Dennis was so shallow it only reinforced my opinion of her. She left misery in her wake wherever she went, it seemed.

Ok, yes, she finally woke up and realized her failings and her part in them, but it came so late in the book and seemed rushed to finish the book. It just didn't balance out the majority of the book that was miserable. Adding to the misery was all the other failed, failing relationships around Harper. I like some angst in my romances, but don't like to be depressed for the majority of the book. Yes, I couldn't put it down, but it was more like a car wreck that you can't turn away from.

Even Higgins' usual fun characters were missing. The only other characters I found interesting, fun to read were BeverLee and the dog. They were my favorite characters.

I was disappointed, especially after reading so many rave reviews. I love humor in my romances, but the characters have to be less dark or heavy to carry off the humor, IMO. Higgins has great humor and knows how to pull the emotional punches, as evidenced in her previous books. I just couldn't find humor in such miserable (not an insult, but they were in misery) characters and their situations in this one.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2011
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Before I get to the substance of the book, did the over-use of the word "crotch" make anyone else crazy??? I wanted to scream at the umpteenth use of this nonsensical word. And how about "holy testicles Tuesday?" While people may have annoying verbal tics, this was inflicting it on the reader.

As for the substance, I thought that the story - of a divorce lawyer who has abandonment issues because her mother left when she was a young child - would have been more interesting if the resolution wasn't dragged out for a very long, long time. I did like the cross-country trip for the hero and heroine although it was an odd juxtaposition for a novel of this sort - rather like the old Chevy Chase/Charles Grodin movie, with romance rather than theft at issue. The author did a decent job of making the characters three-dimensional but she repeated, again and again and again, the same adjectives to describe them. Whether it was Nick or Beverlee or Willa, we got the same words and phrases to describe their physical looks and personalities. It really took away from the plot and the much-needed forward movement.

Nice sense of humor, some good dialogue, interesting secondary plots - all helped to keep me reading, although I wouldn't recommend this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those books that leaves me feeling a bit lukewarm. On the one hand, the characters are extremely well drawn and believable. There are real people like that. (With the possible exception of the idiot boy toy, Dennis). The story, if you analyze the plot line in theory, is also believable and appealing. The hero is absolutely lovable, vulnerable, kind, loving, and doesn't hold a grudge. I fell in love with him at the start and the more I read about him, the better I liked him. This is the positive part of my review.

But there are inconsistencies and annoyances that completely ruined the love story for me. The author's writing style is a bit hyperactive. She doesn't stop or even slow down for a second--it's non-stop talk (either in dialogue or thoughts, but frenetic throughout). The heroine personality, is a bit abrasive, aggressive, and downright vulgar. I just don't understand how Nick could have fallen in love with her at first sight and then continued to love her for 12 years. (There's a psychological issue here, for sure). Yes, I understand she also has issues, but the sympathy factor wears thin soon because she uses them to bash everyone over the head with them every minute and on every page. (Granted, she mellows a bit in the last few pages, but it's too little, too late). I give her a lot of credit for loving her family and making something of herself and for not feeling embarrassed by her relatives or her background--but she doesn't have to behave, and speak, and gesture like a drunk sailor--and not just when she loses her temper (which is often), but all the time. I've never been to Martha's Vineyard or graduate from Amherst, but I'm fairly she isn't a fair representation of either. At least, I hope not.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
I love Kristan Higgins and her books, but this one is my least favorite. I only stuck with it because I read and enjoyed some of her other books so I gave her the benefit of the doubt and kept reading.

Harper is a divorce attorney forced to take a road trip with her ex-husband. You can connect dots from there to figure out the ending. I don't mind formula romances at all, after it's the journey that makes the book interesting. The trouble with My One and Only is the characters.

Harper is not a nice person in the beginning. She's controlling and pompous and unlikeable. There are reasons for her behavior and Higgins does a great job doling out that information. Harper does become self-aware and figures out that she's the cause of most of her problems, so she is redeemed and becomes sympathetic, but she was too prickly in the beginning.

If this had been my first Kristan Higgins book, I would have quit reading it and would never pick up another one by her.

In the end, I'm glad I stuck with it, but it was a close call in the beginning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When Harper and Nick met years ago it was very much love at first sight. They were both young and made their mistakes and eventually that whirlwind relationship ended in a hasty divorce. It has been years since they have seen each other and now they are forced face to face when their siblings decide to tie the knot.

Harper is a divorce Attorney with a briefcase full of issues. She is a psychiatrists dream. But beneath the hard exterior is a soft underbelly that is endearing and I found myself liking her not despite her flaws, but because of them. She was so real.

Nick is a wet dream. He is sexy and successful and is also one of the most romantic and attractive main characters I have read in a long time. He isn't super Alpha but he isn't a sap, either. He is strong, loyal, and funny and I could eat him with a spoon. He was so real.

Kristan Higgins writes books that are so much more than romances; they are windows into other's lives. Her books are consistently hilarious and wonderful. I know I have said it before but I marvel at the way she can have me laughing out loud in one sentence and then crying ugly tears in the very next. I stumbled upon her books this past year and I have loved every one of them. In a genre where it is easy to fall into a certain rut or follow a general path, she paves her own way. In her books, like in real life, the path to happily ever after isn't an easy one, but once you get there you know the journey was well worth it.

Kristan Higgins is an author on my automatic buy/ must have list and I am making it my personal mission to make sure every book lovin' buddy of mine is reading her, too.

In case I haven't made myself clear, I loved it!! :)

Cherise Everhard, May 2011
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
What happens if you meet The One, that one person you know you'll love for the rest of your life, your other half, your soul mate...and you're not ready? You can't handle it, for whatever reason? You're not sure you even want it? Harper James met Nick Lowery when she was in college. He walked up to her at a bar on her twentieth birthday and informed her she was his future wife, the future mother of his children, and then set his mind to convincing her that he was right. The damnable misery of it all was that she loved him more than life, needed him more than air, and was so terrified of commitment and all that it represented, so emotionally crippled by her abandonment issues, that love wasn't nearly enough. Their marriage didn't last a year.

The pain of that failure lasted far, far longer.

Now on the cusp of her thirty-fourth birthday, Harper is a successful divorce lawyer on Martha's Vineyard. Apropos, really, given her cynicism about the institution in general and love in particular. She's in the process of popping the question to her boyfriend of two and a half years when a phone call from her younger sister shakes Harper down to her foundations. Willa getting married for the third time is bad enough, but it's the fact that she's marrying Nick's half-brother that really rips her guts out. She'll be seeing Nick again at the wedding.

As Harper gets closer and closer to the age her mother Linda was when she abandoned Harper and her father, and she sees Nick again after all those years apart, Harper starts to realize that a volcano of terrifying emotions and conflicting motivations is erupting in her. And love is the mother of all of them. If she's not very careful it will flow over her heart and soul and leave nothing but scorched real estate where her life used to be.

Nick has always been her greatest weakness, and maybe, just maybe there are such a things as second chances and new beginnings. If Harper can just believe.

Powerfully written with a flowing, descriptive narrative and three dimensional characters, My One and Only evokes a lot of emotion as it tells the tale of Harper James and her rocky past with the only man she's ever loved. Told in first person perspective from Harper's point of view, Higgins drops you into her lead character's head and wrings you dry as she details in sometimes brutal clarity Harper's fears, flaws, and foibles on her twisted path to happiness.

Nick was a great guy with his own flaws, but far more appealing a character, as at his core he was a simple man who fell in love, recognized it for what it was, and lost it before his wisdom caught up with his talent and intelligence. Some of his quiet admissions and honest emotional expression to Harper just killed me. It was heartbreaking, really, just how awful their relationship ended when they loved each other so much - if maybe not always smartly or carefully.

Unfortunately, despite the artistry of the writing and the well developed plot that evolved in a slow, steady, realistic fashion, I found Harper's persistent cynicism, negativity, and smug certainty to be largely unsympathetic and difficult to like. I can completely sympathize with the thirteen-year-old who lost her mother on her birthday, who took a scared stepsister under her wing and mothered her. I have no sympathy at all for the thirty-three year old woman who proposes to her Peter Pan complex-having mutton head boyfriend because she doesn't love him enough to scare her, with a list in hand of things she plans to have him agree to do before they wed. And I have difficulty respecting a character who is so terrified of being left by someone she loves she closes herself off from everyone and would rather break hearts than work things out maturely.

Reading about the stuff going on in Harper's head, finding out her past with Nick and how it all got wrecked, disturbed me. It was all just so tragic and sad, so understandable, so easy to see the reasons, and so frustrating because she never did anything about the reasons, just ran from the results. Even knowing that as a romance there would be some HEA in this book, there was just too much of Harper that depressed me. I wasn't able to love the story as much as the excellent writing, solid plot, loveable secondary and ancillary characters (including Coco), and romantic leading man would normally dictate.

I loved the end, though. Truly did. It was a little easy to see coming, and a few of the character confrontations with Harper were a little cliched, but I did enjoy it. I just wish the resolution and Harper's evolution had started a lot earlier in the book, some self awareness coming a bit sooner. As it is, it's a book that I think is very well written, but for my tastes, the heroine is too depressing to be thoroughly entertaining. I will say this, though, I admired and appreciated the style of writing to such a degree that I'll be looking for other books from Kristan Higgins in hopes of finding one with a little less emotionally stunted main character.

~*~*~*~
One Good Book Deserves Another
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 4, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVerified Purchase
While issuing the most unromantic proposal of all time to her reluctant firefighter boyfriend, top-notch divorce attorney Harper gets a call from her flighty sister advising that she is getting married ... again. Groom #3 is the brother of Harper's ex-husband, whom she married fresh out of college. And off the bridal party goes to a destination wedding in Montana, and Harper fears running into ex-Nick while trying to talk Willa out of mistake #3. When an airport shutdown forces her on a road trip with Nick, the two must confront their past in order to consider a future.

Holy testicle Tuesday, this was yet another great novel by Higgins, and like most of her novels, there is a serious side to all the hijinks. She never disappoints, with her wry and witty heroines who find themselves in comical situations, and the heroes who are not over the top, but more down to Earth. I always find that when I read a novel by Higgins, she is writing about normal people that I would befriend. Harper is a hot mess, with her abandonment issues and need to control everything (and everyone) around her. This one is definitely a keeper!
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon June 29, 2011
Format: Mass Market PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'll start by saying that I've never read a book by Kristan Higgins and I will likely never do so again. I've always heard the name and this book in particular received stellar reviews, so imagine my surprise when I settled down for a poignent modern second chance at love and found a zany, campy, non-emotional farce of a romance. The first three chapters are some of the worse story setting I've ever read in my life, and were I not actually pressed to write a review, I wouldn't have finished the book, but I can say that for me, the story starts at chapter 4 and actually levels out into a, at times laugh out loud, funny, witty story. I could have easily given this a four star rating at some point forgetting that the first three chapters ever happened, but regrettably it was tied to an equally crazy and intolerable ending that sealed its fate.

Harper James is a beautiful and very successful divorce attorney living on Martha's Vineyard who is still nursing some serious abandonment issues after her mother left her on her 13th birthday and her very brief marriage at the age of 21 ended in divorce. As her 34th birthday is approaching, Harper realizes she wants a good, dependable man and children, so in a business like manner, she purchases herself a diamond ring and proposes to her hot fireman boyfriend of 2.5 years. He's sexy and good hearted, will make a great father, but has the intellect of a pea. Although Harper is prepared for every response from Dennis, she get's distracted in her negotiations when her stepsister Willa calls to tell her she's getting married for the THIRD time at the age of 27, with none other than the half brother of Harper's ex husband, Nick Lowery. Harper ends up dragging her boyfriend and her dog (unlikely) on multiple flights to get to Montana for a long weekend to be the maid of honor, where she hopes she can at least delay what is a most likely disaster since her sister has only know the man for a month. Instead she's forced to accept what is and after seeing Nick again, he professes that he still loves her 12 years later. Harper gets nostalgic during the wedding and realizes she still has feelings for Nick, so after breaking up with Dennis, and him leaving, she gets stuck in Montana after a flight debacle and Nick offers to drive her to the closest operating airport so she can catch a flight home. They ensue on a funny and witty roadtrip where they bond and discuss what went wrong with their relationship and begin to think maybe they can make things work out now that they're older and wiser.

I will admit, if I were writing a review on just the roadtrip minus the first three chapters and the last three chapters, it would have been a nice little romance. It reminded me of the movie The Wedding Planner, where's she's so good at her job, she knows exactly which relationships will work and which ones won't. Aside from the tangent to crazy territory, there were several things that I found specifically annoying. 1. Harper's favorite terms to use, in abundance, when things aren't looking good are "crotch" and "holy testicle tuesday". I consider myself in the same age group here and have never once felt so inclined to quote a Jim Carey character. 2. Harper in the first three chapters comes off as a lunatic, and that's not how you really want to start an almost 400 page book about a person, but alas, the supporting characters are so much worse, they make Harper look like a diamond of the first water. Her sister is on marriage number 3, her step mom is on marriage number 3, and others are also looking for marriage number 3, 4 or 5, yet they keep referencing the divorce rate is 1 in 3... which actually it's closer to 1 in 2 in the US. 3. The entire story is one sided, so although we get a sense of what Nick was feeling, we never hear his point of view and that was a disappointment. Although I wasn't expecting chicklit, this is in essence what it turned out to be without sex scenes. We're told there's really good chemistry there, but we definitely don't see it and how it is resolved is not particularly satisfying. If it weren't for the Epilogue that actually resolved some of the real issues that Harper and Nick legitimately had, my opinion would have been even worse.
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