Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Gideon's Cove #2

The Next Best Thing

Rate this book
Lucy Lang isn't looking for fireworks...

She's looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who'll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbeque, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important... someone who won't inspire the slightest stirring in her heart...or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can't risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn't enough either. So it's goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate "friend with privileges" and hello to a man she can marry.

Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn't going anywhere. As far as he's concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?

400 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 2010

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Kristan Higgins

61 books11.3k followers
Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than twenty novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. If you want to receive a free short story and be notified when Kristan releases a new book, sign up at kristanhiggins.com.

Kristan enjoys gardening, mixology, the National Parks and complimenting strangers on their children. The mother of two entertaining and wonderful humans, and the grandmother of one perfect child, Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, cuddly dog and indifferent cat.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,366 (29%)
4 stars
4,463 (38%)
3 stars
2,927 (25%)
2 stars
705 (6%)
1 star
145 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 909 reviews
Profile Image for Melissa.
647 reviews28.7k followers
August 9, 2017
Kristan Higgins has done it AGAIN. Seriously though—and I hope this doesn’t come back to bite me—it’s not like I had any doubts, she’s become one of my favorites for a reason. Through this easy to adore cast, with varying views of the world, Kristan Higgins delivers a host of emotions—utter heartbreak, longing and even a touch of giddiness, to name just a few—all while driving home the notion that happiness can be found in the most unexpected places, if you open yourself up to the possibility.

It’s the arrival of Lucy’s precious little niece that sparks something in her. After five years of wallowing in her grief—incessantly watching and re-watching her wedding video, avoiding the taste of her own handcrafted desserts and constantly reminiscing about what could have been—she’s ready to let her dead husband go. She’s determined to find a guy she can love just a little bit, nothing even remotely close to the crazy-intense feelings she shared with Jimmy. Someone safe, predictable and ready to start a family. The obstacles Lucy has to tackle first—breaking the news to her former in-laws, along with the ‘Black Widows’, and cutting off the ‘friends-with-benefits’ situation she has going on with Ethan. Have I mentioned, he’s her former brother-in-law?

I know, I know. On the surface, Ethan and Lucy together sounds like a messy, taboo or even awkward situation in many ways, but believe me when I say, their relationship proves to be so much more than meets the eye. If you’re anything like I was, you’ll find yourself exhaling a resounding “awwwwww” or putting your hand over your heart as the reality of how things came to be unfolds in a startling way.

“Check the toast.”

Like all of Kristan Higgins’ stories, this one tugs on the heartstrings, but still manages to bring a healthy dose of humor. The ‘Black Widows’, a zany group of old ladies, made up of Lucy’s widowed aunts and mother, provide a ton of comic relief along the way and add an interesting dynamic to the storyline with their life lessons. It was Ethan’s playful and cutesy flirting during happy hour with the old broads that initially made me fall for him, but it was everything else that proved Lucy would be a lucky, lucky woman to end up with him. Why in the heck did it take her so long to figure that out? That was probably my one and only contention with the story—the number of times Lucy wavered in her decision.

So, if you’ve read any of this author's books, you know she has a penchant for working a loveable dog into the storyline, but not this time. I know it’s silly, but the crazy cat lady in me was over the moon that finally the feline population was represented. Fat Mikey, might have been a complete curmudgeon, but he sure stole my heart with his moody ways. Meow. =^..^=

I feel like I’ve said this a hundred times already—okay, not literally—but if you enjoy a great mix of romance and women’s fiction, pick up a Kristan Higgins book or put on your headphones and listen to the audio version. I’ve been doing a combination of both, as I make my way through her extensive backlist, and it’s proven to be a fun experience. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so motivated to clean my house or if traffic has ever felt as tolerable as does when I’m listening to Xe Sands (amazing narrator, by the way!) bring this author’s words and characters to life.
Profile Image for KatLynne.
547 reviews564 followers
February 1, 2015
There are things about this story I liked, but unfortunately, there are more things that didn't work for me.

KH is an intelligent writer and I never have a problem with the way her stories flow. This one was written in first person POV and I have no problem with that. I liked the setting and I enjoyed that it involved bakeries, cooking, chefs, etc. I like that there is always humor in her books as well as decent character development. This book had all that.

Unfortunately, by the middle, I was gnashing my teeth and found myself wanting to shake the heroine. It’s been nearly six years since she lost her husband and her whining the entire time was tiring. I couldn’t rise above it and I felt the hero would have been much better off running!

Ethan is the shining star here. He does get a HEA and there's an epilogue as well. This is another for my shelf, "everyone loved but me."

Profile Image for Carrie.
1,704 reviews72 followers
March 24, 2010
Pros: Kristan Higgins can write. You won't find clunky phrasing or bad transitions in the book.The writing is tight and solid.
Ethan is a great hero. I loved him and his sexy, gentle ways.

Cons: Lucy was a totally unappealing and unsympathetic heroine. She's emotionally stunted (and surrounded by emotionally-stunted family, her mother being the worst), self-absorbed, dense, and obsessive. Almost 6 years after her husband of 8 months died, she is still wallowing in self-righteous grief. She can't walk through the cemetery, she can't eat her own desserts, she buys expensive cloths she won't wear, and can't see the great guy she has right in front of her. Oh, yeah, and she watches and rewatches her wedding video! This is not a "funny but flawed" heroine. This is the portrait of a woman in dire need of professional help~ grief counseling at the very least. (The only person in the book who is really emotionally healthy is Parker, the mother of Ethan's son.)

Higgins often uses cringeworthy scenes of embarrassment and/or humiliation for humor. Many authors do this and I know it's popular. It's not my favorite, although it can be funny if not overdone.

The ending came together a little too neatly. We're suppose to believe that Lucy finally let it all go in one fell swoop and was miraculously able deal with all the grief and doubts, even though she'd had Ethan in front of her for years and hadn't been able to see the truth.

I had a aha moment while reading this book: Ms. Higgins has a habit of writing self-absorbed, dense, and obsessive heroines.

I gave this book 3 stars because of the writing and Ethan. ;-)
Profile Image for Mo.
1,362 reviews2 followers
February 13, 2017
3.75 Stars

Enjoyed it. Seemed to drag a bit in the middle ... Lucy sort of annoyed me with her wishy washy, couldn't make up her mind what she wanted attitude. I loved Ethan. He was so sweet.

Alone again, naturally, like that sappy song I'd discovered in my parents' tape collection. Oh, I'd love that song! Many happy, maudlin hours were spent weeping and singing along to my cassette player, until my mom burst in one day, snatched the tape from the machine and snapped it in half..

LOL. Gilbert O'Sullivan - Waterford's finest, mentioned in a KH book. Was never a huge fan but Himself loves him.

"Let me tell you, were awfully happy when you showed up, Lucy. Sure, you weren't Italian, but at least you were Catholic and a nice girl, you know what I mean?"

Sweet, sweet ending ... and epilogue.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,743 reviews6,670 followers
March 11, 2018
The Next Best Thing is the second installment in Kristan Higgins's adult contemporary romance series: Gideon's Cove. This was a heartbreaking, conflicted, and healing novel. As a reader, in my opinion, the heroine is not easy to love because she's "stuck" and can't quite see what's right in front of her but don't give up on her because grief can be a frustrating and long process that sometimes doesn't make sense to bystanders much less to the person actually going through it. I connected with the emotions that were running strong in this story: the guilt, fear, panic, and all the other very human responses to trying to resume life after half of you is torn away. I loved this book which makes total sense because the fabulous Kristan Higgins wrote it. If you haven't experienced this author yet then grab any title and get started!! Series or not, they all can be read as standalones. Enjoy!

My favorite quote:
"...a good father loves his daughter like no one else. He adores her, protects her, bails her out when she gets in trouble, defends her from her mother's chastisement. He urges her to be whatever she wants (president, astronaut, princess), and later in life, advises on which boy is good enough for her (none) and when she can start dating (never)."

Kristan Higgins's Gideon's Cove series includes the following installments as of March 2018:
#1-Catch of the Day
#2-The Next Best Thing
#3-Somebody to Love
Profile Image for ♥Sharon♥.
971 reviews142 followers
July 4, 2017

It is safe to say that Kristan Higgins has become one of my go to authors when I am in the mood for a sweet, funny and emotional romantic read. I enjoyed this one.

But I have to be honest, it took a while for Lucy to grow on me. I understood why she was hesitant with her love life but her wishy washy behavior drove me batty at times.

Now Ethan, well he was just wonderful. What a sweetheart. I loved how he treated Lucy with such tenderness and kindness. Even when his heart was being bruised he was always there for her.

All and all this was another sweet love story. The ending was done in true KH form....LOVED IT! And the Epilogue could not have been any more perfect. ❤

Profile Image for Didi.
865 reviews287 followers
February 6, 2015
Sometimes I don't even know what to say! We've all read books that resonate with us and affect us long after we've turned the last page. This was one of those books for me. I LOVED IT! I've just come to accept that Kristan Higgins writes for me...well, not for me specifically, but for people like me. Her stuff is always emotional and sweet and funny. But sometimes it's also excruciatingly heartbreaking and sad. But there's always an underlying hope in her books, so yes, for people like me, WE LOVE THAT!

Lucy is a young widow who lost her husband to a fatal car accident almost 6 years ago. She's decided it's time to start dating again. She wants a family, kids and a husband that won't stir anything in her dormant heart. Just someone she likes, gets along with, but NO LOVE. Problem is, she's been having a friends-with-benefits with her handsome neighbor, Ethan. So he needs the axe, because she's ready...but not for him to be in the running.

Lucy was also trained as a pastry chef but works as a bread maker in her family's bakery. I was salivating half the time over all the yummyness Lucy was baking! The bakery is mainly run by the 3 Black widows--her mother and two aunts--all losing their husbands prematurely, so you could say it runs in the family**grimace**. So Lucy starts her quest for a husband but Ethan won't give up, he wants a chance, a chance Lucy is not willing to give.
I really felt for Lucy and can't imagine how it feels to lose the love of your life so early on. She wasn't quite over Jimmy, seeing him in places, hearing him sometimes. She always compared everyone to him and although I could empathize, it started getting on my nerves. Especially since Ethan was so willing. So eager to prove he could be the one for her. But she kept pushing him away and after a while it bothered me. The worst part of it all was she knew, KNEW, her connection to Ethan was real, and that scared the crap out of her. I often wished Ethan would say something, but he always gave her patience and the time to figure it out. He was such a great guy. So nice and sweet, but strong and comforting. I really fell for him. She deserved his anger not his understanding at times.

And the Black widows, while a fun bunch, they seemed to discourage Lucy from trying to re-marry. They weren't supportive and although they may have felt scared to find love after their own loss, I don't think giving that same advice to a young widow was rational. Some people don't want to move on, don't have the capacity. But not everyone. I'm so glad Lucy strove for more in her life than just being a widow. That was her main fear, being MORE than a widow. Perhaps finding another love and proving her first love wasn't meant to be her only. Her mom was also not supportive, it really upset me that she didn't try and understand her daughters dilemma.

Needless to say this book did a number on me! I was crying and slobbering one minute, laughing and clutching my heart another, sigh. Some scenes really did me in. One scene while Lucy was watching her wedding video with a date, she notices something she never had before---I swear, I was an emotional mess. Another scene towards the end where she confronts Ethan at his new restaurant--again, an emotional landslide of feelings!

The romance was beautiful, the realizations that life doesn't end with tragedy, the promise of hope and a love like no other, the ability to strive for MORE...can't say enough! Loved this book! And like typical KH, fade to black sex, but don't mistake that for no steam. There is, and it's hot. But the writing and story are so moving, so good, so...GAH!!! Just amazing! That you don't notice the fades. Don't get fooled by the cover or book jacket either, this isn't fluff.
If you haven't read KH, you really should, she's amazing!
Profile Image for Suzie Quint.
Author 12 books146 followers
January 21, 2012
At 400 pages, this book is 100 pages too long. There are some fun things in this book but the heroine wallowed too much in the grief of being widowed. She was so blind to the hero's love that she was cruel to him. And selfish? Oh, man. Even at the end where she finally realized she wanted him, she had to tell him on her timetable. The hero was either a saint or a doormat, depending on how you want to see him. She walked all over him enough for me to vote for the latter. What gripes me the most is that the author clearly knew this because a couple of secondary characters come right out and say it as when Parker tells the heroine that she (the heroine) likes hurting the hero and has been hurting him for years. Talk about dysfunctional, codependent relationships.

I just don't think I want to read any more from this author.
Profile Image for Fanny.
2,202 reviews54 followers
November 25, 2018

Hora De Soñar de Kristan Higgins narra la historia de Lucy y Ethan.

Las historias de esta autora suelen gustarme bastante, son sencillas y predecibles pero en el 80% de los casos me suelen dejar satisfecha y con un buen sabor de boca, en cambio esta lectura no me convencio del todo.

La trama no esta mal, es muy del estilo de la escritora, mi problema fue que la protagonista femenina me resulto muy pesada.

Lucy pasa por un momento muy duro ( el cual espero nunca tener que vivir ) pero me aburrio soberanamente su actitud victimista, en una ocasion dice que no quiere que la traten como una viuda, pero es ella la primera que no para de recordarlo una y otra vez, y de recordarselo a todo el mundo, casi parecia que no queria ser nada mas, estaba conforme con ser solo la " pobrecita viuda de Jimmy " y esa actitud me saco de quicio.

Como personaje no me agrado, era sosa, prepotente, repelente, egoista y un poco ( bastante ) inaguantable, fue por ella principalmente por lo que tarde tanto en terminar este libro.

Ethan en cambio si que me gusto mucho, es tierno, cariñoso, paciente ( quizas demasiado ) y bondadoso, honestamente se merecia a una persona mucho mejor que Lucy, la cual no para de hacerlo sufrir durante años.

Era tanto mi desagrado por la protagonista que realmente desee que se quedara sola, ella no se merece a Ethan, ademas mis escenas favoritas fueron en las que su enemiga de la infancia le decia todas las verdades a la cara, sobretodo porque Lucy se creia superior a ella por la forma de vida que llevaba o porque habia tenido hijos sin estar casada.

En general, Hora De Soñar no es una novela horrible pero Lucy Lang me cayo taan mal al creerse la unica que habia sufrido que acabe harta de ella y de su drama y eso influyo en mi opinion sobre la novela.

Personalmente creo que es una de las historias mas flojas de la autora, tiene otros libros muuucho mejores.

2.25 Estrellas!
Profile Image for Andrea.
739 reviews111 followers
November 17, 2018
Well Hello there, awesome book!
This felt like a departure from Higgins’ typical romp (fresh & funny vs small-town cozy) But hey, I’m the one reading out of sequence! It was just the right book at the right time. 📚
Profile Image for BookLover.
387 reviews80 followers
November 20, 2018
I loved my escape to the fictional town of Mackerly this week. This story was rich with a town full of enchanting characters.

Lucy becomes a part of a group of family members dubbed “The Black Widows” after losing her husband Jimmy several years ago. I loved the interaction between these women consisting of Lucy’s mother and two aunts. They were very entertaining and I loved every scene they were in. Lucy handled all of their oddities like a champ, especially her mom's constant criticism of her lack of fashion sense.

“Then her gaze drops down to my faded jeans with the fraying hem, my utterly unremarkable brown wool sweater. "Is that what you're wearing?" she asks.
"No. I'm wearing a ball gown, but it's invisible." I twirl around, taking care not to spill the goodies. "Do you like it?”

Lucy’s entire family, especially Lucy and her sister Corinne, are deeply scarred and traumatized by all of the deaths in their family, leaving most of the women widows before their time. I felt bad for poor Corinne and her paranoia over something bad happening to her husband or her child. She was in dire need of therapy.

“Sit. Calm down." He goes to the cupboard, takes down my favorite mug and pours me a cuppa joe. "I called the bakery a while ago, told Iris you were sick last night and needed the day off."
"Oh." I pause. "How many times have they called since then?"
"Four. Iris is wondering if you have Lou Gehrig's disease. Rose thinks it sounds more like cancer. Your mom said feel better, she'll see you tomorrow.”

After Corinne gives birth, Lucy decides that maybe it’s time to start dating again so she can have a family of her own. Before she can do this, though, she needs to first break the news to her deceased husband's family, particularly her former brother-in-law, Ethan, who has been her rock since Jimmy’s death.

“Right. Um...well, here's the thing, Ethan. You know that Corinne had a baby, of course. And it got me thinking that, well..." I clear my throat. "Well, I'd like to have a baby, too." Gah! This isn't coming out the way I want it to.
His right eyebrow raises. "Really."
"Yeah. I've always wanted kids. You know. So, um..." Why am I so nervous? It's just Ethan. He'll understand. "So I guess I'm ready to...start dating. I want to get married again. Have a family."
Ethan leans forward, causing Fat Mikey to jump off his lap. "I see," he says.
I look at the floor for a second. "Right." Risking a peek at Ethan, I add, "So we should probably stop sleeping together.”

To say I was gobsmacked at this revaluation would be a huge understatement, particularly since Lucy and Ethan’s past hadn’t been revealed yet. Kristan Higgins is such a great storyteller. I loved the way this story unfolded. I loved Ethan so much. He’s been one of my favourite heroes by Kristan that I have read about so far.

So why was this only a 4 star read for me? Well…. Lucy. As much as my heart broke for her over her loss and inability to put herself out there, as the book went on, I moved from sympathy to annoyance to aggravation. I suppose, given her “support system”, the Black Widows, I shouldn’t be surprised that she wasn’t guided towards therapy so that she dealt properly with her grief. I understood her reasons for pushing love away, but the more she hurt Ethan to self preserve, the more my sympathy dwindled. I felt bad for Ethan and as the book moved on, my desire for Ethan and Lucy to get together started going away.

Despite this, I loved this book. Like Ethan, I forgave Lucy and found the ending very satisfying.
Profile Image for Karen.
809 reviews1,026 followers
June 28, 2017

Another fabulous romance, as expected from Kristen Higgins. My only issue with this one was the issue of the SHS. (stupid heroine syndrome) Lucy was a likeable character, but she just couldn't see the forest through the trees sometimes. She was fairly self-absorbed most of the time, and her epiphany was long in coming. But I suppose I'll cut her some slack, she did have quite a bit to deal with.

And luckily, there was Ethan... who I myself am now madly in love with. He evened out the score in this one. As she tortured the poor guy until I thought she'd ruin things completely, he bore it all, with little more than a twitching muscle on his face. Not a doormat though, I wouldn't call him that by any means. But he was steadfast. A truly great guy.

I loved the ending. And especially the epilogue. Well done.

Profile Image for A_Ryan.
619 reviews178 followers
June 9, 2017
5++++ "Totally Blew Me Away" Stars!!!

The best bits:
Ok, I'm just going to say it. Pretty much EVERYTHING was the best bit!!!

This has got EVERYTHING!! It's a forbidden love/ best-friends-to-lovers/ friends-with-benefits/ neighbours-in-love/ reluctant lovers/ romantic comedy/drama that will burst your heart, keep you up late at night, and ultimately stay with you for a long time after you've finished.

And it's by Kristan Higgins!!! It's no secret that I DEVOUR everything this woman writes. And The Next Best Thing is one of her very best.

I totally swooned over Ethan, Lucy became a best friend by the end of page 2, and the Black Widows felt like family.

I loooved the way the H loved Lucy in this story. I felt it all the way down to my toes.... it's why I'm a sucker for romance. That irrepressible feeling you get when you read about true love. The kind that conquers all. A love that's passionate and patient and unconditional. The kind that surges off the pages and still lingers between every line. Yeah baby... that's the stuff!

The worst bits: None. Nada. Zip. For me, this story was perfection. (Well, the cat should have been a dog, but I'll let it slide!)

Recommended for: fans of KH awesomeness, fans of slightly taboo/best friend romances that take place in small communities, filled with humour and heart-break, quirky characters and an amazing beta-man hero!
Profile Image for Sharon.
506 reviews272 followers
May 24, 2017
Ohmygosh this book is so cringeworthy. This girl is a fuckin’ mess. I can’t. She’s just… The. Worst.

I enjoyed the 1st book, but this was honestly disappointing. I liked the ending, but everything else was just not my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,242 reviews968 followers
July 25, 2017
Lucy Mirabella was widowed 5 1/2 years ago at the at the age of 25. Her husband's death devastated her and she's unwilling to go through that kind of pain again. Her solution is to find someone that she can like, raise a family and move on again. The person can never be her one true love again because she doesn't think she could survive it.

Lucy is surrounded by lots of family who are committed to keeping her grieving. Her aunts and her mother, known as the Black Widows (maiden name is Black and they were all widowed young), think Lucy is following their tradition and should be committed to staying single and martyred. Her in-laws want her to keep their favored son enshrined for the rest of her life. Thank goodness for her friend Parker who brings some balance to the mix, encouraging Lucy to live full out. Lastly, there's Jimmy's younger brother, Ethan, who's stood by her and been her best friend throughout.

I liked this story, full of humor, quirky characters and Lucy's angst as she struggles to release the shackles of the hurtful loss of her husband and those around her who would keep her crippled. She knows she needs to move on and has come up with her own scheme for how to do it, in spite of her family. Ethan is an extremely appealing character, who unknown to Lucy (because she's deaf, dumb and blind to it!) has always loved her. He gives her to space to get where she needs to be, even at his own expense. Some may find Lucy terribly frustrating but her journey is realistic, especially when you factor in the lovable nuts around her.

I enjoyed each character and what they added to the story, no matter that they sometimes drove me crazy. It's well written and I found it hard to put the book down.

(FYI - Higgins' book, Somebody to Love, is a sequel to this story.)
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,448 reviews482 followers
October 19, 2018
Mixed emotions about this one, and scrapes to a 3 star for the crazy characterization of some of the secondary characters and the humor.

Definitely in the Contemporary Romance section. Unfortunately, we have a problem with the heroine. She doesn't deserve the hero.

Plot: The heroine is the GRIEVING young widow who has been having a friends with benefits affair with her BIL. It's not as creepy as it sounds, and this is usually a hard rule for me. The heroine has decided she needs to date as all she does is work and hang around with her mother and aunts all of whom were young widows too. It's a family curse. She tells Ethan they can't be lovers anymore.

The cutesy dates start to happen, and, yeah, okay. KH has done better, and I just decided I am subtracting a star.

The heroine inner monologues about her perfect dead husband and everything, but we really get little about Ethan other than he has been second best to his older brother with everyone from his parents to now the heroine. Yep, that's life, but, folks, I don't read romance because I want life.

It turns out her husband may not have been as perfect as she thought, and the heroine slowly grows up. Things turn for Ethan, and she had better be good to him.

As some of the other readers have mentioned, Ethan has a son from a previous relationship. The mother of the son is named Parker and is a hoot. She takes the heroine on one of those timed dating function where you switch ever few minutes and ends up with three dates of her own. She gets a book, Somebody to Love, so yay!

Crossing my fingers that the character isn't ruined when she's the primary focus of her own book.
Profile Image for Miss Kim.
535 reviews133 followers
May 18, 2010
Kristan Higgins is going on my ‘must read least’. This is my second read by her, after Catch of the Day, which I really enjoyed. She writes in first person, so that may put off some readers. However I don’t mind. I this one, the man communicates very openly so there really isn’t a question about what he is thinking.

Lucy has been a widow for over five years, after losing her husband in a car accident when she was 25. She’s still trying to put her life back together. She’s part owner of a bakery with her two aunts and her mother. The three sisters are known as the Black Widows. Their maiden name is Black, and there’s there pesky problem of all of their husbands dying young. All three older women have sworn off ever finding a second husband, and discourage Lucy from entertaining the idea.

What they don’t know is that she’s been seeing her dead husband’s brother on the sly for about two years. They’ve had a ‘friends with benefits’ set-up, that they are both comfortable with. One day she decides to drop a bomb on Ethan by telling him that she’s going to start looking for a husband, so they should probably stop having sex. He takes it well, or so she thinks. Through this entire book she is blind that Ethan has been in love with her for years. She has an image of her husband that no one can ever live up to. Even his parents favored the dead son over Ethan, which hurts him, too.

She is convinced that it is inappropriate for her to be going out with her brother-in-law-- even though it was ok to have sex? She goes out on a series of crappy dates. She wants to find someone boring and safe that doesn’t do anything risky to bring along another early death. She thinks her family is cursed. Her sister is happy with a husband that she over protects. She also has a new baby, and every time she sees her she is filled with longing for a baby so badly.

Ethan spends a lot of time trying to convince her to give him a shot at a real relationship, and stop comparing him to his brother. Meanwhile, he suffers through watching her date a parade of losers instead of him. By his actions in this story, there was never a doubt in my mind that has always loved her.

The supporting characters are funny and abrasive at the same time. I highly recommend this read, and it comes with a sweet HEA
Profile Image for Colleen.
301 reviews14 followers
March 8, 2010
Ugh, I really wanted to love this book. Heck, I would have taken to just really liking it, but **sigh** it was not meant to be.

The story is about Lucy who is a widow, she lost her husband Jimmy in an auto accident. She's been having a friends with benefits relationship with her brother-in-law Ethan for over 2 years until she decides it's time for her to get back into the dating game. She wants a family one day, but she doesn't want to be in love like she was with Jimmy.

Let me preface my next statement with this: I'm not trying to say I understand I know what it's like to lose a husband, but I do understand loss (loss of a child, personally). I also know that everyone handles grief differently and I guess for me I'm more of a deal with it and move on type of person (not forget, but move on with your life).

What annoyed me with this book is how Lucy was still seriously grieving for Jimmy after FIVE YEARS (longer than five). I mean, having panic attacks and watching your wedding DVD over and over again after five years is a bit much (again, only my opinion). The entire book (except maybe the last 20 pages) was about her great love with Jimmy. It was so obvious to me how Ethan felt about Lucy (from the very get go when they first met) that I wanted to knock her upside the head. I felt so bad for Ethan, he kept putting himself out there and she kept slamming him down. I seriously don't know how anyone could continue to have the door slammed in your face that way, but Ethan persevered (and I guess it paid off in the end). I just thought Lucy was really, really selfish when it came to Ethan and my heart went out to him. If it wasn't for Ethan, I probably wouldn't have bothered finishing the book.

Anyways, that's my thoughts. Take it for what they are worth, just one reader's opinion. I normally enjoy this writer's stories, this one just didn't sit well with me. I'm just glad I'm done with it.
Profile Image for Jena .
2,247 reviews2 followers
May 16, 2022
Reread 2022.. 1 star from 4. Couldn’t stand the chick lit vibe of this book, and that’s exactly why I stopped reading this authors books.

5 stars for the H.
1 star for the whiny, annoying h.

I seriously just wanted to slap her. She spent 6 yrs in her own pity party and using people, especially the poor H who was simply 2nd best.
Profile Image for Tina.
1,780 reviews288 followers
January 28, 2010
Not the hit out of the ballpark her other books were for me. Kristan Higgin's trademark humor is still there, but it was at a lower simmer than usual. All in all, I think this one fell curiously flat.

I was very turned off by the perfect dead husband who seemed to really dominate the book. Ethan was way too understanding and a little too beta of a hero for my taste. Also KH usually does family dynamics perfectly. It is one of the things that I really appreciate about her books. But that too felt a bit off in this book. Lucy's family was a one-note quirk. Ethan's family was better presented but even they felt a bit 2-dimensional. Even the usually laugh out loud hysterical bad date montage that is also a staple in her books wasn't up to her regular standards.

The supporting characters really stood out, though. Parker, Lucy's best friend, and Doral-Ann her lifetime nemesis were especially break-out characters.

So, not a great read for me, but I still very much like this author and still plan to keep her on my autobuy list.
Profile Image for willaful.
1,155 reviews370 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 6, 2012
While I admire Higgins for writing different and difficult romance plots, this one was just too challenging for me. Falling in love with an in-law after you’re no longer in-laws is one thing, and Higgins does that plot fairly gracefully elsewhere. But a widow using her husband’s younger brother as a booty call... well, that’s pretty icky, and from skimming the book, she just generally comes off like a callous, clueless user. I'm not going to give a rating though, since I didn't read it through. I am looking forward to seeing the character of Parker, who seems very sensible and likable, get her own story in Somebody To Love.
Profile Image for MB (What she read).
2,349 reviews14 followers
July 6, 2010
Hmmm...this was kind of an anti-romance for me. I spent 348 pages developing a very strong dislike for the heroine who was so neurotic and blocked by her grief and her inability to move forward that she needed counseling considerably more than a happily-ever-after. (I started out with compassion, but by 2/3 of the way through, that had changed to annoyance.) I felt--and still feel sorry for the hero, and hope his martyr complex, and selfless unfailing love holds out for him and that the HEA and the magical 'REAL TRUE LOVE' on switch has changed the Lucy's character enough to make it a HEA indeed. (Doubtful, but it's a romance, okay?)

I have been experiencing a real dislike/antipathy for reading romances lately--which is fairly unusual for me. Consequently, I put off reading this book for months, waiting until I was 'in the mood' enough to start AND finish it. (I've read 5 of Higgin's books so far, and in spite of her hilarity, and her intelligent writing, her heroines always manage to irritate me. Due to this, I knew going in that this one would likely be problematic for me.) Well, once again, I found Lucy intensely annoying. Higgins' books continue the streak of being like/but hate books for me. (There's a new one out in August....hmmm...am I up for it???)

Higgins writes very well and she's very funny. So I'm torn between the grade. I'm going to go with a 3-star because I don't think I'll forget this, but it wasn't a blissful reading experience for me, as I spent a large part of the time wincing as Lucy continued to mess up her life.

Frankly, I think someone should publish Higgins besides Harlequin. I think she is more similar to authors like Elizabeth Buchan or Marian Keyes or Jane Green, etc. and may do better in hardback sales with the women's fiction/Mom Lit audience. She's certainly a good enough author. And the books are more about the journey/actualization/changing and growing experience than they are the 'romance'. (Just my opinion of course.)

Oh, and btw, this one actually had a bearded hero. Seems as if I don't see that very often--at least not in contemporaries. That was an interesting touch. And the 'big surprises' were not surprising. I'd already guessed them. (Probably I read too many reviews before-hand, so that may have been to be expected.)
Profile Image for Leona.
1,731 reviews18 followers
October 17, 2018
This was a bit of a mixed bag. The quality of writing was excellent. No surprise there. Kristan Higgins is a wonderful writer. Her words flow seamlessly and she knows how to weave an exceptional story. However, the flow of the plot and the storytelling got stuck. There were too many obstacles that took too long to resolve. There was Lucy's codependancy, her eccentric and thoughtless relatives (including her own mother), the love of a good man (that she was too blind to see). All these things were over played to the point I lost interest in Lucy and Ethan. The book was definitely 100 pages too long.

However, there were three bright spots that salvaged the story for me: Ethan, Parker, and their son, Nicky. I got to the point where I hoped they would make it together which is sad because I did get the overall "message" of the book.

The conflict was there. It just needed a more subtle touch and better execution.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,173 followers
June 14, 2015
Rating: 3.5 Stars

While I thoroughly enjoyed THE NEXT BEST THING and fell head-over-heels for Ethan Mirabelli, the protagonist, Lucy, could grate with her naivety and obliviousness from time-to-time. Still, this is a solid Higgins novel--not her at her best but certainly not her at her worst.
Profile Image for Bren.
820 reviews129 followers
February 3, 2019
En esta ocasión Kristen Higgins me ha quedado a deber, si bien es verdad que me gusta mucho como escribe y que la mayoría de los libros que le he leído me han gustado, este libro ha quedado muy por debajo del listón.

Para empezar la protagonista es impasable, realmente le llegue a tomar una tirria como pocas veces me sucede con personajes de libros de este género, egoísta, llorona, egocéntrica, débil, en fin, que tiene tantas cosas que no van conmigo que de verdad me ha hecho pasar un mal trago.

El que sí me ha gustado es el protagonista masculino, sin embargo, todo el libro está centrado en ella y contado en primera persona, pero aun así me ha gustado mucho como se ha dibujado a un hombre leal por sobre todas las cosas.

No digo mucho más, este libro no ha sido lo que me esperaba, una pena
Profile Image for Christa Schönmann Abbühl.
948 reviews20 followers
March 15, 2018
Did I say the heroine in the first book was a mess? I stand corrected. Compared to the heroine in the second one, she is totally together and well adjusted.

This book was a very uncomfortable read (or rather: listen) for me. It kind of speaks for the author, as her characters are just so real to me. But I hated how (nearly) everybody treats Ethan! It was awful to watch, again and again, in a never ending story of woe and bad to non existent communication.

It is clear from the start that he loved Lucy since they met, and that it was Jimmy who took her away from him. I have a hard time believing that someone could love so deeply, that he’d wait through all that, being this incredible friend, never asking for more than the scraps she was willing to give. Is this even love?

Lucy is a train wreck. Understandably, since she lost her husband as a newly wed under tragic circumstances, and there is apparently a curse on her whole family, that all the husbands die young. It is quite possible that the way this book deals with widowhood and the way people cope (or don’t) is very accurate and realistic. Which does not help with the enjoyment ;-)

So while I understand why Lucy is the way she is, and treats others the way she does, I just wanted her to be better. Or for the change in her to happen sooner. Which would have been less realistic, but easier to stomach.

I loved the aunts and the bakery, the family drama and the friendships. Higgins is such a fine hand at drawing colorful and believable people. And Parker was the shining exception to everybody else, a true friend to Ethan and Lucy both, the voice of reason in the emotional turmoil of this story.

I also liked how the author plays with the subject of superstition ;-)

There is no direct connection to Gideon’s Cove in this book. The only connection is Parker, who moves there in the next one.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Duchess Nicole.
1,258 reviews1,547 followers
December 19, 2011
4+ (such a tough book to rate - I may change this to a 5, b/c I have a feeling that I won't be able to get it out of my head!)

What an emotional roller coaster! I was five starring this all the way until around page 200, when it started to get a bit redundant and I kept wanting to smack Lucy. She's a widow who lost a truly wonderful man, the love of her life, in an accident after a very brief marriage. It's now been almost six years, and she's still dealing with the emotional baggage that comes from such a disaster. She finally decides to start dating again, realizing after the birth of her niece that she badly wants to be a mother and just get back to living a normal life. But it seems that the decision to move on brings up a whole host of other issues. She doesn't want to actually LOVE her sperm donor husband, for fear that she wouldn't survive another death. Therefore, she breaks it off with the man that she's been 'having fun' with. See, she can really see herself falling for him, and she just won't risk that.

This isn't a fluff piece. It's heartbreaking at times. Anyone who knows of the nightmares that come along with loving someone, and the fear of losing them that springs up out of nowhere can at least somewhat empathize with Lucy. She had such a devastating loss, and this book covers a little bit of the past, but mostly the present. Moving on comes with its own set of decisions, doubts, and fears. On the other hand, this is also a warm fuzzies kind of book. I fell for Ethan, soo hard. He's this wonderfully adorable person, who really lets Lucy wallow a bit too much. At times I wished that he would get angry and just yell at her and let her know what he was going through, and had gone through for years.

I'd only read one other book by Ms. Higgins, and found it to be a bit tame when it came to the sexual tension. There's nothing wrong with fading out on the love scenes, but if you can't feel the passion between the H/h, it makes the love story a bit unbelievable and tends to fall flat for me. Ethan and Lucy had plenty of heat, and the smexy scenes were hot but tasteful. Overall, a very good book. Made me cry and laugh, and thank God that nothing this devastating has happened to me or mine.
Profile Image for Renee.
345 reviews55 followers
March 3, 2010
This is a hard one to review. I LOVE Kristan Higgins engaging writing style, and her cast of characters. I was up until the wee hours last night finishing it, because I really wanted to see how it turned out.

Yet, Lucy made me so frustrated. Through most of the story, I kept thinking, "You seriously need to get into therapy. Grief counseling. Something." I didn't expect her to "get over" her husband's death. But, by the end of the book, I never really felt convinced she dealt with her grief in any significant way, and she was still doing some of the unhealthy things she'd fallen into--and showed no sign of stopping.

I loved Ethan, a beta hero if there ever was one. But, the 1st person pov made it really difficult to get where he was coming from, until the very end of the book. I really wanted more of him in the early and middle parts of the book.

One of the things I did enjoy greatly about TNBT was the family setting. Ethan's parents treatment of him made me want to howl at them, but it felt real. Also, I loved Lucy's "Black Widow" aunts. Often, main characters seem to live in a vacuum devoid of family attachments. A hallmark of Kristian Higgins book is big messy families, and I always like the energy they bring to her books.

A lot of Lucy's motive for resisting love with Ethan was that she was afraid he'd also die, and she was unable to risk loving and losing him like she did Jimmy. Yet, that issue felt like it was brushed aside at the end, not addressed. So while I enjoyed the "big declaration" moment, this one issue made the end a bit frustrating for me.

In the end, I still love Kristan Higgins writing, and am really looking forward to her next book, coming out this summer. There was enough good stuff in TNBT that I'm glad I read it (and don't begrudge the 4:30 am bedtime), but it's not one of my favorites by her.
Profile Image for Shannon Stacey.
Author 120 books2,640 followers
February 26, 2010
I don't know what to say about this one. I loathed the heroine and yet I couldn't stop reading. And I actually wanted the hero to live happily ever after with one of the secondary characters. But the ending was so emotional and I got that warm and fuzzy AWWWW feeling. Not my favorite, but still a good book.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 909 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.