Tis the season to be jolly. Tis the season to be in love. Tis the season to swoon over a book by Kristan Higgins! I have now read four of her books, and I love them all. But I think her latest book, In Your Dreams, is my favorite.
I love sassy and sarcastic characters. I love characters who are not afraid to call others out on their B.S.! And.....I love a character who can found joy in a pint of Ben & Jerry's (although I prefer Haagen Dazs)!
Emmaline Neal's ex-fiance is getting married. U-OH! Emmaline is invited, but she doesn't have a date. What's a girl to do? Well the busybodies in the small town of Manningsport, New York, have an idea. Get the handsome, but complicated, Jack Holland to take her. No attachments. No chance at romance. Just a local guy helping out a local gal. Riiiiiiiight! Of course some shenanigans are going to occur. Otherwise what would be the point of the book?!
Emmaline has carved out a nice life for herself in this small town. She loves her career as a cop. At the end of a long day, she loves coming home to her small cottage, her dog, and .... some ice cream. She's grown comfortable in her own space and in her own skin. But the thought of seeing her ex-fiance, Kevin, brings up so many emotions. Kevin used to be overweight, but as soon as he latched onto a super-hyper, super-angry personal trainer named Naomi, he ditched Emmaline. Without the weight Kevin was a totally different person on the inside and outside. Emmaline wants to show that she's over Kevin, but deep down she is still hurting.
Seeing Kevin at the wedding also means seeing her annoying parents and her perfect sister Angela. Emmaline's parents are divorced, but still live in the same house. As psychologists, her parents make it their mission to constantly analyze Emmaline's life and career choices. They're also convinced she's gay, despite her denials. Maybe Jack Holland is just the distraction she needs?
Of course Jack has his own problems. His three sisters, Prudence, Honor, and Faith, his father, and grandparents, all have opinions about how Jack should live his life. He also has an overly dramatic ex-wife, Hadley (a.k.a. Blanche DuBois according to Emmaline), who refuses to believe their marriage is over. On top of all that, Jack is quietly suffering. He saved four teenage boys from drowning in a freezing lake. Three of them have lived to tell the story, but the fourth, Josh Deiner, is languishing in a coma. Everyday since, Jack has been besieged by nightmares and an overwhelming sense of guilt.
It seems nature is forcing Jack and Emmaline together at just the right time. He can help Emmaline let her guard down. She can finally realize that she is a person worthy of love and to be loved. And maybe Jack can realize that he doesn't have to save everyone he meets. Emmaline is not Hadley. She is not the damsel in distress. She is not a woman who constantly needs to be saved. Maybe Emmaline can save Jack from himself?
In the end, this unlikely and unconventional romantic pair made me smile. As an author if you've made me smile, job well done!
Note: I received a copy from Little Bird Publicity in exchange for an honest review.