When I began reading this book, I was so sure that I would really like it. However as the story went on I really began to dislike it.
The things that attract me to Kristan Higgins' writing and storytelling are very evident in this book. Great family dynamic, a heroine who has some issues but also has a great sense of humor about it, and some really interesting break-out secondary characters. She also has a voice that I find comfortable and easy going.
However I all that couldn't overcome my exasperation and sometimes dismay at the two main characters.
Posey Osterhagen has loved Liam Murphy since she first set eyes on him when she was a sophomore in high school and he a senior. She was the adopted daughter of a pair of German restauranteurs and he a bad boy just out of Juvie. But High-school was a nightmare for Posey. She was picked on, ignored, belittled. While Liam, who also worked for her parents (so she got to be in close proximity to him and thus nuture her crush even more fiercely), quickly became the social Alpha dog.
But Posey's crush is, well, crushed, when she over-hears Liam saying something really cruel about her to her date on the night of the senior prom. Liam later leaves town with his high-school sweetheart at the end of the school year.
Fast forward 20 years later, Liam returns to town, a widower with a 16 year old daughter of his own in tow. Posey is now a successful business owner but in many ways she is also still that somewhat outcast teenager. And still like that teenager, Posey discovers that her crush has come back to life with a vengeance.
I wanted to like Posey. I did. But she was just too much of a pathetic doormat to me. People just kept kicking her and she would let
them. Her loser boyfriend Dante saw her as nothing but a booty call, her cousin tormented her and was cruel to her and worst of all was how Liam treated her. He treated her so dismissively and so casually for most of the book and yet she was just starry eyed in love with. At one point they begin an affair but he breaks it off because of problems he is having with his dead wife's parents. Posey begs
him to take her back even though, as she says, she knows
she'll be second best to Emma (the dead wife). Just...ugh! I kept wanting her to grow a pair. I don't need a kick ass heroine in my books to like her, but i don't want a dishrag either and I certainly don't want to have to pity her. She needed some dignity.
But then my issues with Posey really pale in comparison to my issues with Liam. The big deal with this book is that for the first time KH has decided to give the hero a POV. Normally she writes in first person from the heroine's perspective. Well, really, I could have done without it because it made no difference in the book except to actually make me question what was the point? What good is giving the hero a POV when it give absolutely no insight to his feelings about the heroine? Posey barely registered in his thoughts.
What was supposed to be (I guess) and amusing aspect of Liam's personality was his over-protectiveness of his daughter. He kept saying he knew the mind of a teenaged boy because he was one (and truthfully he was a real slut in high-school). In reality I found no real humor at all in Liam's over-protective hi-jinks. I thought they went over the line into obsessed-stalker vibe. His POV chapters were mainly focused on his need to protect his daughter and reflections on his life with his now dead wife. I kept waiting and waiting and waiting for him to think about Posey. To give some glimmer of an idea of what he felt about her. That came at about,oh, 70% into the book. But by then it was a little too little and a little too late.
At least if the book had been kept at heroine's first person POV like KH's previous books, I could have preserved the illusion that he was thinking about her and she just wasn't aware of it. Oh well.
It does end on a high note and he ending is sweet. But still, too little, too late.