This book falls into my Contemporary Reading Challenge.
Okay, I think you all know I'm a Kristan Higgins fangirl. Out of the five books she's written, only one was disappointing to me and one is on my keeper shelf. I was really looking forward to The Next Best Thing, and I loved it!
Lucy Lang became a widow at the young age of 25 after less than a year of marriage. She's been a widow for almost five years, working at the family bakery with her mother and aunts. Who all became widows at a young age. It seems to run in the family, whose maiden name is Fekete, which is Hungarian for Black - they're known as the Black Widows.
As the story opens, Lucy is at the hospital where her younger sister has just given birth. Lucy decides this is what she really wants, and thinks maybe it's time to start dating again. Which will require that she end her "friends with benefits" arrangement she's had going with Ethan. Ethan has spent his life living in the shadow of his older brother, Jimmy. He's also in love with Lucy, although she doesn't know it. When she breaks off their arrangement, he agrees, but he's not too happy about it, because he loves her.
There is so much going on in this book - there's no way I can even begin to explain how good it was. I laughed a bit and I cried a bit. I'm not going to say I laughed out loud, more like a chuckle here and there, but here's where the TMI comes in: Occasionally, depending on where I am in my, uh....cycle...I might cry a bit while reading something sad. I'm nowhere near that hormonal hell right now, but there were several scenes in this book where tears just poured out of my eyes; times when Lucy missed her husband, or wondered if she was doing the right thing. Ms. Higgins just wrote those scenes so, so sweetly. And when the gypsy gave Lucy the message...Oh! It took me a few pages but once I figured it out I wanted to reach into the book and make her see!!! This book took a few turns but I enjoyed reading it and the characters kept my interest; I read this book in a day.
The Next Best Thing was a great read! I really enjoyed it and give it 4.5 stars out of 5.