Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blog Tour, Review & Guest Post: The Best Man by Kristan Higgins

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins
Harlequin HQN
February 2013
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Source: Meryl Moss Media Relations

First line: On a beautiful day in June, in front of literally half the town, wearing a wedding dress that made her look like Cinderella and holding a bouquet of perfect pink roses, Faith Elizabeth Holland was left at the alter.

From the back cover: 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


My thoughts: I really enjoy reading Kristan Higgins - she writes with great emotion, but also adds just the right amount of humor to her stories to make them really good. The Best Man was laugh-out-loud funny at times, sad and touching at others and just an all around good romantic love story.

Faith had left her small hometown after being jilted at the alter - and finding out that the man she had loved for ten years was not who she thought he was. And as if that was not bad enough, it was Jeremy's best friend and best man, Levi, that outed the whole thing. Well, of course on her return to town years later, it would only be fitting to have Levi be the first one she runs into - not on purpose but because as Chief of Police, he pulls her over to give her a speeding ticket. Just her luck!!! From that meeting on, sparks start to fly, but because Levi is a man of few words, it takes a while for those sparks to amount to anything.

Along the way, we get flashbacks of Faith in high school from Levi's point of view. These provide some history to understand the dynamics between Faith, Jeremy and Levi. We also learn that both Faith and Levi are dealing with some heavy issues of their own. Besides suffering with epilepsy, Faith also believes that she was the one to cause the accident when she was little that killed her mother. This is what motivates her to find someone for her father when she is back in town - that and the fact that he seems to be totally oblivious to the gold digger that has set her eyes on him. Levi is dealing with some PTSD after serving four tours in Afghanistan - which is why Faith constantly smells chocolate cookies being baked in the middle of the night! He is also responsible for his sister, Sarah, now that their mother has died. 

I have to say I think the best part of the story, besides the romance that develops between Faith and Levi, are the quirky characters that Kristan Higgins seems to assemble. First, there's Jeremy, who despite leaving Faith at the altar, you just can't help love. Then there are Faith's grandparents, Goggy and Pops - they have been married 65 years and who always seem to be at each other's throats. There are a slew of other characters as well that all provide some type of comic relief.

When I first got this book, I noticed that under the cover, it says "A Blue Heron Novel." Not having read a Kristan Higgins book in a while, and certainly not having read all her previous books yet, I did a little digging and found out that The Best Man is the first in her new series of books set in Blue Heron. Luckily, Kristan addresses this in her guest post below! I can't wait to read the rest of the books and to see who they feature.




Guest Post with Kristan Higgins

About the author: Kristan Higgins is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA® Award; she lives with her family in a small Connecticut town that boasts a wonderful library, a great agricultural fair, a really good ice-cream stand and not much else. She is the mother of two lovely kids and the wife of a brave firefighter who is also (perhaps more important) a fantastic cook. Previously a copywriter, Kristan began writing fiction when her children graced her life with simultaneous afternoon naps. Writing, she found, was infinitely more satisfying than folding laundry, and so began her first novel. Kristan holds a B.A. in English from the College of the Holy Cross, which means she can identify dangling participles, quote many great novels and play a mean game of Scrabble. Kristan is an award-winning baker, devoted fan of the New York Yankees and an avid reader. She and her crew spend as much time as possible at the family home on Cape Cod, where they shiver in the Atlantic, ride bikes, swat horseflies and don’t catch any fish.

Visit Kristan's website.

Can you give us some background on THE BEST MAN, and how you came up with the idea for the Blue Heron series?

Well, I wanted to write a series for a couple of reasons. The first was simply that I tend to become deeply attached to my characters and settings. As fun and invigorating as it is to start fresh, it’s always hard to leave those towns and people behind. The second was because readers asked for a series…I guess they feel the same way.

Because families are so integral to my stories, I wanted to create a family business that would serve as a foundation for the first two books and set the backdrop for the area. I wanted something scenic, a business that had a lot of heart, beauty and fun to it…so a vineyard seemed perfect. Being a Yankee, I wanted to stay in the Northeast; one of the things I think I do well is capture the sensibility of a region, and it would be hard to do that if I set a book in California, simply because I haven’t spent too much time there. My brother, who owns a wine shop and has worked in the wine industry all his adult life, recommended the Finger Lakes region of New York and put me in touch with a tourism bureau up there. A couple of emails, and I had some very nice contacts up there.

My husband and I went up for a long weekend, and it was truly one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited. We met with some winemakers, tasted a lot of great wine, and the series started to take shape.

The idea for THE BEST MAN started with a scene—Faith, the youngest of the Holland children, is jilted at the altar. I loved that idea, the sheer visual impact of such a scene. As with any kind of romantic trope I use, I wanted to make sure that there was an excellent reason for her being jilted. I literally sat there at my computer and said, “Okay, what are some really good reasons to stop a wedding?” I even made a list. He’s a drug addict. He’s had an affair. He’s abusive. But in those cases, the heroine would’ve had to have been really obtuse or weak or scared…I didn’t think I could relate to someone who would let things get all the way to the altar in those cases. Besides that, I don’t write dark stories. So I kept typing away.  He’s gay.

I stopped at that last one. Mulled it over. What if Jeremy, the fiancé, was gay? And no one knew it. Why would they not know? Because he doesn’t fit any of the clichés. Because he’s been with Faith since high school. Because he played football and became a doctor and seems too evolved to have been in the closet, not to mention too wonderful a boyfriend to have been pretending.

Only one person suspected, and that’s Levi Cooper, Jeremy’s best friend…and best man.
So with that scene firmly in mind, the book was born. Since that information comes out in the prologue (along with Jeremy, I guess), I don’t think I’m giving anything away. From there, it was really fun to look at both Levi and Faith, and see why and how they got to that defining moment, and how they move forward. 

Thank you Kristan for writing this great guest post...and be sure to check out the other blogs participating in the The Best Man blog tour.
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2 comments

  1. I'm a big fan of Kristan Higgins and can't wait to read this. I bought it now I just need the time :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This was my first Kristan Higgin's book. I liked it so much and was glad to find out it was the first of a series.

    ReplyDelete

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