Introvert, Worrier, Owner of the blog "Caught in a FAB Romance", and resident Romance Guru on Parajunkee's View. I've been blogging about books for four years - if it's got romance in it, I'll read it! You can also find me on twitter, tweeting about books, my family, and sometimes, The Saints: @TheLoveJunkee Find me on Instagram:
PJV Quickie: An entertaining blend of humor and seriousness, The Best Man delivers what I’ve come to expect from a Kristan Higgins novel: great characters, a sweet story, some laugh-out-loud moments, and an ending that left me with a smile and a sigh.
Faith Holland was left at the altar by the love of her life. And she couldn’t even be that mad at him; more…disappointed and sad. She had been dating Jeremy for eight years – since they were teens, and thought they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. Her family vineyard and his family vineyard butt up against each other, and everyone assumed they’d make beautiful babies together – until Jeremy’s best man convinced him to acknowledge the truth he’d been trying to ignore: Jeremy is gay, and marrying Faith would not be fair to either Jeremy or Faith.
Levi Cooper spent his youth living on the wrong side of the tracks, but he’s been best friends with Jeremy ever since Jeremy moved to Manningsport. Levi knew right away that Jeremy was gay and didn’t care. Jeremy was a great football player and a great friend, and if Faith couldn’t see that he was gay, that wasn’t Levi’s problem…right?
After high school, while Faith and Jeremy went off to college, Levi joined the Army and did two tours in Afghanistan before coming home to Manningsport. Now he’s Police Chief and after his mother died he also has the daunting task of being guardian to his teenaged sister.
Faith is now living in San Francisco, working hard at her landscaping business and making a name for herself, but her love life is in the toilet. She gets a call from her sister, telling her she needs to come home before her widower father marries a gold-digger. As she hurries back into town, the first person she sees is Levi…who gives her a ticket for speeding.
I love Kristan Higgins’ books for so many reasons: her characters are engaging and relatable, I always laugh out loud several times while reading her books, and she drags your emotions through the wringer before the hero and heroine get their HEA. Let me just say this: Kristan Higgins writes sigh-worthy HEAs.
The Best Man is classic Kristan Higgins and fans won’t be disappointed. I loved Faith, she was dealt a severe blow when Jeremy left her at the altar, and she picked herself up and created a successful career. Her sadness and fear that she’ll never find a husband, or at least someone to love and share her life with felt true-to-life; not that she wanted someone to take care of her, but a partner to share with. Her continued love and affection for Jeremy led her to carry a grudge against Levi and she continued to blame him for the break-up.
The flashbacks to the past with Faith, Jeremy and Levi, growing up together and encountering all the prejudices and expectations that accompany small-town life gave such depth that I felt like I knew them and was an actual resident in the town. The feelings of inadequacy from high school carried into adult life and shaped their relationships with each other. Even though Faith and Jeremy couldn’t be together, their affection for each other was sweet and heartfelt.
Have I mentioned that The Best Man is laugh-out-loud funny? Because it is: from Faith’s bathroom rescue to the “Levi boredom scale” that she invented in high school to her sister’s “sexting” in an effort to keep her marriage fresh, The Best Man will definitely make you smile. Although there are some sad moments, there are a lot of side-stories that keep the reader entertained and lighten up the story. I enjoyed reading about the daily goings-on of a winery business and would love to visit a working winery if I ever get the chance.
In reading over my review, I don’t think I’ve done Levi justice: he’s a quiet character, honorable, maybe even a bit cantankerous. He has a hard time showing his feelings, but is an upstanding friend and tries to do the right thing. I don’t know about anyone else who’s already read The Best Man, but I liked him right from the beginning.
I think my only complaint is that Ms. Higgins uses quite a bit of gay stereotype – good dresser, has to imagine Justin Timberlake during sex – and one scene involving a transgender individual. I think The Best Man would have been just as entertaining without it.
Fans of Contemporary Romance, enemies to lovers, and romance set in a small-town.