Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: 2/26/13
Source: Received from publisher for review
Sometimes the best man is the one you least expect
Faith Holland left her hometown after being jilted at the altar. Now a little older and wiser, she's ready to return to the Blue Heron Winery, her family's vineyard, to confront the ghosts of her past, and maybe enjoy a glass of red. After all, there's some great scenery there .
Like Levi Cooper, the local police chief—and best friend of her former fiancé. There's a lot about Levi that Faith never noticed, and it's not just those deep green eyes. The only catch is she's having a hard time forgetting that he helped ruin her wedding all those years ago. If she can find a minute amidst all her family drama to stop and smell the rosé, she just might find a reason to stay at Blue Heron, and finish that walk down the aisle.
When I started The Best Man, I figured it would end up being our typical boy jilts girl (probably by cheating on her), best man swoops in to save the day, they fall in love and get their HEA. Well let me tell you, Kristan Higgins version completely surprised me. Completely!
You see, Faith gets blindsided on her wedding day by Jeremy finally telling her that he is gay. Prompted by the best man, Levi, who Faith thinks is really trying to ruin her life. Holy crap! I don't think that has ever been the reason a wedding gets ruined, and it really took things in a way different direction. I don't intend for that to be a spoiler, simply because that isn't the end of the story. That information is in the prologue, but is a focus throughout the entire story and resulted in a lot of laughs and tears on my part. I was really hoping it was in the blurb, because c'mon that is catchy, who doesn't want to know where THAT is going...
I thought to myself "Hold the freaking phone.." What! Then, when you're told they've been together for 8 YEARS, people...8 freaking years! How on earth did she not realize this? How could he not tell her? How could they get to their WEDDING DAY before Levi thought that he should stop all of this madness, because he thought Jeremy was gay the second he laid eyes on him. The phrase the plot thickens applies here, and trust me it is thicker than gravy, as some of us southern folk know well how thick that should be!
Our story begins with Faith coming home to New York after living in San Francisco for 3 1/2 years post wedding fiasco. Levi is now out of the military, and the chief of Police in Manningsport (how I love military men in my books). Jeremy is the town doctor, and neighbor to Faith's family with adjoining wineries. Higgins includes not only alternating viewpoints from Faith and Levi, but also trips down memory lane. As it is well established that I am a sap and it takes next to nothing to get me teary, then I will say yes, I cried on more than one occasion. The detail taken to finding out how things went down at the wedding (sob), after the wedding, and how and if the journey back to love and acceptance will happen was written beautifully.
Forgiveness is a huge theme for this story, but not just for Faith and Jeremy. Faith blames herself for a lot of family issues and Levi has to deal with life post-military, post-divorce, and as the sole person in his sister's life as she starts college. Now, here is the part where you don't need to write this off as a downer and boring. It is really funny too! As quick as I can cry, it takes a lot for me to actually laugh out loud. Usually I'm more of a LOTI (laughing on the inside!), but I did a lot of laughing. I loved that Faith was just as awkward as the rest of us, and while she was a pretty confident person, she was genuine and relatable. She has a boredom scale for Levi's facial expressions that are just hysterical! Add in small town living with everyone knowing your business (gosh, I can relate to that), grandparents who joke (might be serious) about killing each other, speed dating with seniors to make her father go (with a best friend who actually likes old guys), and a sister who kicks her husband out of the house because he is spicing up their relationship (with 50 Shades sexting, but lets him come home for conjugal visits) and you have a very, very well rounded story. I learned a bit about wineries in New York, which was fun and something I didn't know anything about. I thought the descriptions of the landscape and wines really added an element to the story. Where I grew up is an huge backdrop for my life, so I like when a place is just as much a character as the people are.
Worth the time and not a lot of effort to read The Best Man. I really enjoyed it, and while it seems much like a story that has been done many times, Kristan Higgins did a fantastic job making it her own and giving us a memorable story.
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