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Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: N/A
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Length: 416 Pages
Formats: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by HQN Books publisher Harlequin via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.

Quirky and Charming

All Posey Osterhagen had wanted when she was in high school was to be noticed by Liam Murphy. He was the genuine article bad boy with his own motorcycle and an attitude to match. He also worked for her parents at their German restaurant, so she got to see him often. Not that she could screw up the courage to talk to him, though. Not when she was a scrawny girl with stubborn hair and plain features and was so skinny she wore kids pants. Boys pants.

She's older now, though. Wiser. She has her own business she loves, a unique home that's a project-in-waiting, and while she never did grow boobs and still has the body of a twelve-year-old boy, she manages to have a boyfriend...of sorts. Maybe. She's even gotten used to her whacky family, though helping out at the restaurant is often cause for mortification because she has to dress up like a Fräulein on crack.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what she's doing and what she's wearing when Liam Murphy walks back into her parents' restaurant and smack dab into the middle of her life. So, really, that whole wisdom thing may have been an overly optimistic self examination.

Recently widowed, Liam has moved back to town so his teen-aged daughter can be close to her grandparents. Seeing him again does weird things to Posey's equilibrium. Especially when he keeps calling her by her given name, Cordelia, instead of the nickname everyone else calls her.

She thought she was over him. She should be long over him. She remembers how devastated she had been on the night of her prom, when she overheard him saying some cruel things about her to his friends. Liam Murphy should be no more than a bad memory for her older, not-so-wiser self. Pity he isn't.

Now that he's back, and every single and not-so-single woman in town is throwing themselves at him, Posey can't imagine that he'd give her any more time now than he did all those years ago. Until he does. Then she doesn't know what to think.

~*~

Did you have your own Liam Murphy in school? I did. That one guy that even now, years later, sometimes slips into my dreams. I never dated him. I can even say now that it would have been a disaster if I had. He wasn't a bad boy, per se, but he definitely had an aura that was unmistakable. Like he was above the petty high school politics and socialization. That nothing phased him. That he favored who he favored and the rest of the world could kiss it, for all he cared.

It was thrilling to be included in his favor, and for a while, I was. With my silly schoolgirl crush, it mattered to me that the boy who disdained yearbooks, who never had one and refused to sign them, signed mine. That we had classes together and he'd sit next to me. That we had extracurricular activities and there were times we joked with each other.

Stupid, I suppose, to hold those memories close. I still do.

This is a book for all of us, all those souls who loved someone once who didn't think of them that way. For those who would have happily died for just that special smile from the one person that made their hearts pound. Who would still, given the chance, risk much to be loved by that person in return...even in dreams. It's for all of us who have their own Liam Murphys in our past. And it's a wonderful gift.

As a romantic novel, it's just plain fun. Posey is a delightfully neurotic character brimming with a unique vibrancy that makes her irresistible. Liam has his own neurosis, and I adored getting some insight into his thoughts. Higgans hasn't done that before and it worked fabulously in this book. What impressed me most about both of them was that they were adults with realistic insecurities and issues given their histories and they stayed true to themselves throughout the book. Liam didn't suddenly get over the death of his wife, but he had a very real-world grasp on the good and bad in that relationship, he was an overbearing father with OCD issues, and he was just as delightfully messed up at the end as he was in the beginning.

Posey, with her self image issues and inferiority complex when compared to her German diva cousin, was still the perfect little tomboy. She was able to triumph over some of her issues, but it was more about embracing them than putting them aside, and I respected that. It was nice seeing her become more comfortable in her skin.

The story was chock full of charm and quirky characters. The layers of plot threads that comprised the story arc of the book did focus more heavily on the lives of the whacky characters than on the road to romance. While I wasn't thrilled with that fact, I was at least okay with it, because the romance that was there was so very satisfying for me. I could've done without the relentless onslaught of beiber exclamations, though. That got old for me fast. And I was never quite sure if it was some German word I didn't know or if the book had been possessed by Justin's ghost. It was never explained.

This was an absolutely wonderful read. Fans of scorching hot sex scenes may be disappointed, but for fans of well-written story that trends towards the lighter end of chick lit romance with universally relatable characters, this is one to be adored. I do wish the romance thread had a larger impact on the tale, but what was there was wonderful...and given my personal history with my own version of Liam, also cathartic.

Quotables:
God grant me the courage to date the men who aren't idiots, the wisdom to accept the fact that many men are idiots, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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Ratings Guide

Here is a rundown of what the star ratings mean to me! It's not a perfect system, so you may see me add in a .5 star here and there if my impression of the book falls somewhere between these:

5 Stars - Loved it
4 Stars - Liked it
3 Stars - It's okay
2 Stars - Didn't like it
1 Star - Hated it

2014 Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge

2014 Reading Challenge
Tracy has read 22 books toward her goal of 175 books.
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Tracy's bookshelf: read

Zero at the BoneHead Over HeelsLord of the WolfynIn Total SurrenderA Win-Win PropositionNorth of Need

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