31 October, 2011
Review: Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins
Posey works at her family's kitschy German diner when she's not working at her thriving salvage business or dropping by her secret boyfriend's house. In a family full of tall buxom blonde beauties (except for her gay Vietnamese brother) Posey is a short, slender (if she doesn't eat every few minutes she will pass out) dark haired waif. Because she is not her cousin, Posey hides in the background and takes everything to heart. While she allegedly found her spine one sordid night in high school, Posey doesn't use it very often. Her dream man has always been Liam Murphy. Never mind that Liam refuses to use her preferred name, never mind that Liam never looked at her twice, never mind that Liam was an architect of her teenage downfall, Liam is the man for her. Because he is hot and he was nice to a kitten once. Really, that's enough.
Pity poor Liam. He could have been an interesting character. He is an overprotective father, a widower, a victim of PTSD and OCD with the self esteem of a gnat. Women fall in his path and offer to disrobe at his every glance. He met his dream girl in high school, married her, lost her, and has returned home to raise their child. Despite this golden girl dating him, marrying him and having his child, Liam secretly thinks she might not have loved him. Because he is unloveable. Liam is a bit of a black hole when it comes to emotional need. (That's a theme here, Posey's best friend has a disturbing dynamic with her own adopted son.)
So. The return of Liam and the recognition of Posey. Except it's more like the return of the Liam and the any-port-in-a-storm of Posey. Fleeing the aggressive attention of other women, Liam is attracted to Posey's pretense of disinterest while Posey is just grateful to have sex with him. Liam rarely opens up to her, almost never meets her needs and generally acts like a guy who might be on the spectrum. Posey loans her hateful cousin cash, keeps her secrets from the family, lays herself out like a doormat for anyone to wipe their feet on, and endears herself to Liam's kid. You can see why the dog has a headache. Still, I did like Until There Was You. Lacking in surprises it may be, but it's a great comfort read for a cold day. Nothing happens that can't be solved by five minutes of conversation. (I mean that sincerely, all problems in the novel are ultimately resolved that way.) Unrealistic construction projects are executed, adoption issues are breezily overcome, orphaned children move on readily. There is no baby in the final chapter, at least not for Posey and Liam. In fact, Posey is far more stable than some other Higgins heroines I've read and no one is required to give up their day jobs. If you overlook some flaws, there's a lot to enjoy here.