Review: Anything for You by Kristan Higgins

January 4, 2016 contemporary, Kristan Higgins, romance 6

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Connor O’Rourke has been in love with Jessica Dunn since they were twelve years old. In high school, he was just about the only guy that “Jessica Does” didn’t.  After a chance reunion with Jessica a few years later, all of Connor’s dreams came true. At least for one night.  Over the next ten years, he waits patiently as Jessica insists that their on-again-off-again relationship stay a secret.  Every time he dares to hope for something lasting, Jessica ends things all over again.

It’s not entirely her fault.  After all, she is the sole caregiver for her younger brother Davey who hates Connor and has major meltdowns whenever they cross paths.  Still, Connor’s tired of waiting. His restaurant is thriving, new adventures are brewing, and all the women in his life seem to have found lasting love. So, he does the only thing he can do.  He proposes to Jessica…

…and she says no. Calmly and fondly.  But still, no.

Jessica is surprised when Connor gives her an ultimatum. It’s all or nothing. If she ends it again by not accepting his proposal, he’s not taking her back anymore.  He needs to move on – with Jessica or with someone else.  He can’t know how tempted she is to say yes but Davey is never going to quit needing her.  And he’s never going to like Connor.  While Connor would do anything for Jessica, she would do anything for Davey.  And she has. So she does the only thing she can do this time.  She says no and walks away.  Again.

As Connor’s very pregnant twin sister jumps at the chance to find him a match, Jessica begins to regret her decision. Will she figure out what she wants – and how to make it work – before her new coworker snatches Connor up for herself?

HQN Books | December 2015

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my thoughtsAs I normally review mainly Christian fiction, I don’t read a lot of general market contemporary romance. But when I do, it’s probably by Kristan Higgins. Or Robyn Carr.  But we’re talking about Kristan Higgins today 🙂

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading Anything for You.  For starters, I have never liked Jessica (right from book one in the Blue Heron series), but I have always liked Connor.  I couldn’t wrap my mind – or heart – around the two of them together.  But, it was Kristan Higgins, after all, and everything she writes is impeccable, so I knew I had to give it a try.

The outcome: Everything Kristan Higgins writes is still impeccable.  I still don’t like Jessica, though I do understand her a bit more. I still adore Connor. I’m still unsure about the two of them together. J

The spotlight on fetal alcohol syndrome and parental alcoholism is an element of the story that gave this book even more heart than usual.  Kristan Higgins writes Davey with grace and honesty, showing both the endearing and the frustrating.  At no time does he become a poster boy for the syndrome – he is simply Davey.  The scenes with just him and Connor are some of my favorites in the novel! Jessica’s fractured relationship with her father is handled very well, too, in my opinion.

In Anything for You, we are given – for the first time, really – some insight into Jessica Dunn and her less-than-pure reputation. Instead of disdain, then, we can summon up a good deal of compassion and admiration for her.  Even a measure of understanding for her choices.  There, but for the grace of God, go any of us.  Overall, I do like Jessica more after reading this book than at any other point in the Blue Heron series.  Her attitude toward Connor for the majority of the book completely irritated me though, and while I understand her motivations it doesn’t excuse the fact that she basically took advantage of him for ten years.  That Connor continues to put up with it just shows how deeply he loves her and makes me like him even more.

I have always said that all stories are a reflection of the Big Story; innate in all of us is the story of eternity and therefore every crafted work of fiction rings with Divine truth.  Anything For You is a perfect example.  While certainly not fitting into the genre of my usual Christian fiction by any stretch of the imagination, Higgins’ latest romance paints the perfect picture of God’s love for us.  In that Big Story, we are Jessica – loved and pursued by One who waits patiently and steadily for us to return.  He would do anything for us.  He did do anything for us.  Little by little, if we allow Him, He chips away at our defenses and our excuses.  Always, He loves us.  Always, He waits.

And that is why, even though I still don’t like Jessica, I love Anything For You – because in Connor, I see a picture (albeit flawed) of my Savior.  In Jessica, I see a reflection of me.  And in the two of them together, I see grace.

(Reviewer’s Note: This is normally a blog for Christian fiction, so I wanted to point out that “Anything For You” is a GENERAL MARKET novel and does contain some general-market-type language and situations.) 

My Rating: 4 stars / Enjoyed it!

KissingBook Level: 5 / May be reduced to sticking your head in the freezer to recover from being an incoherent puddle on the floor. 

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

*This review also appears on Straight Off The Page*

digger-KH.jpgAbout the Author:

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA TODAY and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. Her books have been translated into more than twenty languages and received numerous starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Library Journal, Kirkus and Romantic Times. She is a four-time nominee for The Kirkus Prize for best work of fiction.

The author loves animals, children (even teenagers), the New York Yankees and dessert.

Along with her heroic and tolerant firefighter husband and two snarky and entertaining children, Kristan lives in her hometown in Connecticut.

Connect with Kristan at: website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Carrie

6 Responses to “Review: Anything for You by Kristan Higgins”

  1. deannadodson

    Wow. Amazing that the secular world recognizes how we crave forgiveness and unconditional love even when they don’t recognize the Source. I’m not much of one to read contemporary romance, especially secular, but this is tempting. Reminds me of my hero, Tom, in By Love Redeemed. Readers didn’t much like Elizabeth (and deservedly so . . . because she was meant to be ungrateful, damaged, faithless US), but they loved Tom. I just might have to check out Connor. Thanks for another interesting review. 🙂

    • Carrie

      Thanks Deanna! 🙂 All stories can’t help but point to the Big Story! But this one did so more than most 🙂 You will understand Connor and Jessica more if you go back to read the whole Blue Heron series, starting with The Best Man and onward…but you can still get a pretty good idea from just this one

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