The Next Best Thing (Gideon's Cove Series #2)

The Next Best Thing (Gideon's Cove Series #2)

by Kristan Higgins

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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 barbecue, 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?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780373777341
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 08/27/2013
Series: Gideon's Cove Series , #2
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 341,223
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kristan Higgins is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly and USA TODAY bestselling author whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages. She has received dozens of awards and accolades, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, The New York Journal of Books and Kirkus.

Kristan lives in Connecticut with her heroic firefighter husband, two atypically affectionate children, a neurotic rescue mutt and an occasionally friendly cat.

Read an Excerpt

"You have a whisker."

Though I hear the loudly whispered comment, it doesn't quite register, as I am rapt with adoration, staring at the wonder that is my hour-old niece. Her face still glows red from the effort of being born, her dark blue eyes are as wide and calm as a tortoise's. I probably shouldn't tell my sister that her baby reminds me of a reptile. Well. The baby is astonishingly beautiful. Miraculous.

"She's amazing," I murmur. Corinne beams, then shifts the baby the slightest bit away from me. "Can I hold her, Cory?" My two aunts mutter darkly—only Mom has held the baby so far, and clearly, I'm breaking rank.

My sister hesitates. "Um…well…"

"Let her, Cory," Chris encourages, and my sister reluctantly hands over the little bundle.

She's warm and precious, and my eyes fill with tears. "Hi there," I whisper. "I'm your auntie." I can't believe how much I love this baby…she's fifty-five minutes old, and I'm ready to throw myself in front of a bus for her, should the need arise.

"Pssst. Lucy." It's Iris's voice again. "Lucy. You have a whisker." My seventy-six-year-old aunt taps her upper lip. "Right there. Plus, you're holding her wrong. Give her to me."

"Oh, gee, I don't know about that," Corinne protests, but Iris deftly takes the baby from me. My arms feel lonely without the sweet weight of my niece. "Whisker," Iris says, jerking her chin at me.

Almost against my will, my finger goes to my upper lip…gah! Something thick and almost sharp, like a piece of barbed wire, is embedded in my skin. A whisker! Iris is right. I have a whisker.

My tiny aunt Rose sidles up to me. "Let's take a look here," she says in her little-girl voice, studying my lip. Then, before I know it, she seizes the offending hair and yanks.

"Youch! Rose! That hurt!" I press a finger against the now smarting hair follicle.

"Don't worry, honey, I got it. You must be coming into the Change." She gives me a conspiratorial smile, then holds my whisker up to the light.

"I'm thirty years old, Rose," I protest weakly. "And come on, stop looking at it." I brush the whisker from her fingers. The whisker was a fluke. I'm not menopausal. I can't be. Could I? Granted, I'm feeling a bit…mature today, given that my younger sister has had a baby before I did…

Rose scrutinizes my face for another hair. "It can happen. Your second cousin Ilona was thirty-five. I don't think you're too young. A mustache is usually the first sign."

"Electrolysis," my mother recommends as she tucks the blankets around Corinne's feet. "Grinelda does it. I'll have her look at you next time she comes in for a reading."

"Your psychic also does electrolysis?" Christopher asks.

"She's a medium. And yes, Grinelda is a very talented woman," Iris says, smiling down at Emma.

"Don't I get a turn to hold that child? I seem to remember I'm also her great-aunt," Rose peeps. "And personally, I bleach. Once I shaved, and three days later, I looked like Uncle Zoltan after a bender." She accepts my niece from Iris and her wrinkled, sweet face morphs into a smile. "Oh, shaving. Never shave, Lucy," Iris says. "You get stubbly."

"Um…okay," I say, shooting a glance at my sister. Surely this is not normal conversation in a labor and delivery room. "So how are you feeling now, Corinne?"

"I'm wonderful," she says. "Can I please hold my daughter again?"

"I just got her!" Rose protests.

"Hand her over," Christopher orders. With a martyred sigh, Rose obeys.

My sister gazes down at the baby, then looks up at her husband. "Do you think we should put some Purell on her?" she asks, her brow wrinkling in worry.

"Nah," Chris answers. "You girls scrubbed in, right?"

"Absolutely. Don't want Emma to catch the polio," Iris says, not a trace of sarcasm in her voice. I suppress a smile.

"Chris, honey, how are you feeling, sweetie?" Corinne asks her husband.

"A lot better than you, honey. I didn't just give birth, after all."

Corinne waves away his protest. "Lucy, he was so wonderful. Really. You should've seen him! So calm, so helpful. He was amazing."

"I didn't do a thing, Lucy," my brother-in-law assures me. He reaches out to touch the baby's cheek. "Your sister…she's incredible." The new parents gaze at each other with sappy adoration, and I feel the familiar, wistful lump in my throat.

Jimmy and I might've looked at each other like that.

"Hello! I'm Tania, your lactation coach!" A booming voice makes us all jump. "Well, well! Quite a turnout, I see! Do you want an audience, Mother?"

"Corinne, we'll go," I say, though it's quite possible that my mother and aunts would like to stay and offer a running commentary. "We'll see you later. I'm so proud of you." I kiss my sister, touch the baby's cheek once more and try not to notice as Corinne wipes her baby's face. "Bye, Emma," I whisper, my eyes filling yet again. "I love you, honey." My niece. I have a niece! Visions of tea parties and jump rope fill my head.

My sister smiles at me. "See you later, Lucy. Love you." She risks a pat to my arm with one hand, already instinctively adept at handling the baby.

"Let's take a look at those nipples," Tania the lactation coach barks. "Husband, take the baby, won't you? I need to see your wife's breasts."

Like a well-trained border collie, I herd Mom, Rose and Iris out of the room. In the hallway, I notice something. My mother, aunts and I all seem to be wearing black today. My step falters. Mom is clad in a chic black wraparound sweater, something that wouldn't look out of place on Audrey Hepburn; Iris wears a shapeless black turtleneck and Rose a black cardigan over a white shirt. My T-shirt of the day happens to be black—I get up at 4:00 a.m. and don't spend a lot of time on clothing choices…this one just happened to be on the top of the pile.

By an ironic and unfortunate twist of fate, my mother, Iris and Rose bear the maiden name Black, translated from Fekete when my grandfather immigrated from Hungary. By an even more ironic and unfortunate twist of fate, all three were widowed before the age of fifty, so it's only natural that they're called the Black Widows. And on this happiest of days, somehow we're all wearing black. It dawns on me that today I, also widowed young, am more like a Black Widow than like my radiant sister. That today I found my first whisker and was advised on facial hair management.

That I'm a long way off from having a baby of my own, a thought that's been on my mind more and more recently. It's been five years since Jimmy died, after all. Five and a half. Five years, four months, two weeks and three days, to be precise.

These thoughts override the chatter of my aunts and mother as we drive over the short bridge to Mackerly, back to the bakery where the four of us work.

"We're going to the cemetery," Mom announces as they pile out of the car, first Iris, then Rose, then my mother. "I have to tell your father about the baby."

"Okay," I say, forcing a smile. "See you in a while, then."

"You sure you don't want to come?" Rose asks. All three of them tilt their heads looking at me. "Oh, gosh, I don't think so."

"You know she's got a thing about that," Mom says patiently. "Let's go. See you later, hon."

"Yup. Have fun." They will, I know. I watch as they walk down the street toward the cemetery where their husbands—and mine—are buried.

The sun shines, the birds sing, my niece is healthy. It's a happy, happy day, whisker or no whisker. Widowed or not. "A happy day," I say aloud, heading inside.

The warm, timeless smell of Bunny's Hungarian Bakery wraps around me like a security blanket, sugar and yeast and steam, and I inhale deeply. Jorge is cleaning up in back. He looks up as I come in. "She's gorgeous," I say. He nods, smiles, then goes back to scraping dough from the counters.

Jorge doesn't speak. He's worked at Bunny's for years. Somewhere between fifty and seventy, bald, with beautiful light brown skin and a tattoo on his arm depicting Jesus' agony on the cross, Jorge helps with cleanup and bread delivery, as Bunny's supplies bread—my bread, the best bread in the state—to several Rhode Island restaurants.

"I'll deliver to Gianni's tonight, Jorge," I say as he starts loading up the bread. He nods, heads for the back door and stands for a second, his way of saying goodbye. "Have a great afternoon," I say. He smiles, flashing his gold tooth, then leaves.

The freezer hums, the malfunctioning fluorescent light over the work area buzzes, the cooling ovens tick. Otherwise, there's just the sound of my own breathing.

Bunny's has been in my family for fifty-seven years. Founded by my grandmother just after my grandfather died at the age of forty-eight, it has been run by women ever since. Men don't tend to fare that well in my family, as you might have noticed. After my own father died when I was eight, Mom started working at Bunny's, too, alongside Iris and Rose. And after Jimmy's car accident, I came on board as well.

I love the bakery, and the bread I create is proof of a beneficent God, but it's fair to say that if circumstances were different, I wouldn't work here. Bread, while deeply rewarding, is not my true passion. I was trained to be a pastry chef at the great Johnson & Wales Culinary Institute in Providence, just about a half hour from Mackerly, a tiny island south of Newport. Upon graduation, I snagged a job at one of the posher hotels in the area. But after Jimmy died, I couldn't keep it up. The pressure, the noise, the hours…the people. And so I joined the Black Widows at Bunny's. Unfortunately for me, the division of labor had been decided years ago—Rose on cakes and cookies, Iris on danishes and doughnuts, Mom on management. That left bread.

Bread-baking is a Zenlike art, not fully grasped by much of the world, and an art that I've come to love. I arrive at four-thirty each day to mix the dough, measure it out, let it rise and get it in the oven, head home for a nap around ten, then return in the afternoon to bake the loaves we supply to the restaurants. Most days, I'm home by four. It's a schedule suited to the erratic sleep patterns that came home to roost when my husband died.

I find that I'm feeling for another whisker. If there was one, after all, there might be others. Nope. I seem to be smooth, but I check the mirror in the bathroom just in case. No more whiskers, thank God. I look normal enough…strawberry-blond hair pulled into a po-nytail, light brown eyes—whiskey eyes, Jimmy used to call them—a few freckles. It's a friendly face. I think I'd make someone a very cute mom.

I've always wanted a family, a few kids. Despite one errant whisker, most of the evidence still indicates that I'm still young. Or not. What if Aunt Rose is right, and menopause is lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce? One whisker today—a few months from now, I may need to start shaving. My voice may change. I'll dry up like a loaf of bread left to rise too long in a warm oven; that which was once light and full of promise, left alone too long, now a hard, tasteless lump. That whisker was a warning. Crikey! A whisker!

I risk a quick squeeze to my breasts. Phew. The girls seem to be in good shape, no drooping or sagging yet. I'm still young. Fairly ripe. But yes, perhaps my shelf life isn't as long as I like to pretend it is. Dang whisker.

Jimmy would want me to move on, to be happy. Of course he would. "What do you think, Jimmy?" I say out loud, my voice echoing off the industrial-size Ho-bart mixer, the walk-in oven. "I think it's time for me to start dating. Okay with you, honey?"

I wait for an answer. Since his death, there have been signs. At least I think so. In the first year or so after his death, dimes would turn up in odd places, for example. Sometimes I'd catch a whiff of his smell—garlic, red wine and rosemary…he was head chef at Gianni's, the restaurant owned by his parents. Once in a while, I dream about him. But today, on the issue of my love life, there's nothing.

The back door opens, and my aunts and mom come in. "The cemetery was beautiful!" Iris announces. "Beautiful! Although if I catch those mowers cutting it so close to my Pete's grave, I will strangle them with my bare hands."

"I know it. I told the committee the same thing," Rose cheeps. "Last year, they mowed right over the geraniums I planted for Larry. I thought I'd cry!"

"You did cry," Iris reminds her.

Mom comes over to me in a cloud of Chanel No. 5. "That baby sure is beautiful, isn't she?" she says, smiling.

I grin up at her. "She sure is. Congratulations, Grammy."

"Mmm. Grammy. I like the sound of that," she says smugly.

Iris nods in agreement—she's already a grandmother, courtesy of the two kids her son, Neddy, and his ex-wife produced. Rose, meanwhile, pouts.

It's not fair," she says. "You're so much younger, Daisy. I should've been a grandmother first." Rose and Iris are well into their seventies; my mother is sixty-five, and Rose's only son has failed to reproduce (which is probably a good thing, given Stevie's propensity for stupid acts).

"Oh, Stevie will get some girl pregnant, don't worry," my mom says mildly. "I wonder, though, if he manages to find someone who'd marry him, if she'd die young, too." Then, aware perhaps that this is a sensitive subject, the Black Widows turn as one to look at me.

You see, in my generation, the Black Widow curse has only struck me (so far). My sister lives in constant fear that Chris will die young, but so far, so good. Iris's daughter, Anne, is gay, and for some reason, the Black Widows are confident that Laura, Anne's partner of fifteen years, will be spared due to sexual orientation. Neddy's ex-wife is also deemed safe. Both Ned and Stevie are healthy, though Stevie's on the dim side. (He once ate poison ivy on a dare. When he was twenty-two.) The biological men in our family are spared…it's just the husbands who seem to meet an early death. My grandfather, my great-uncles, my own dad, my aunts' husbands…all died young.

Also, no Black Widow has ever remarried. The late husbands became saints, the wives became proud widows. The idea of finding another man is traditionally scoffed at, as in, "Bah! What do I need a man for? I already had my Larry/Pete/Robbie. He was the Love of My Life."

Back before I was a widow, I thought that maybe the Black Widows almost liked being alone. That they were independent women, proud of how they'd coped. Maybe their disdain of remarrying was more a statement about their own security, independence, power, even. When I became a widow myself, I understood. It's fairly impossible to imagine falling in love again when your husband's life ends decades before you expect it.

The back door opens again. "Friday night happy hour has arrived!" calls a familiar voice.

"Ethan!" the Black Widows chorus, flattered and feigning surprise over his arrival.

"I hear from my sources that it's a girl," he says. "Congratulations, ladies."

Customer Reviews

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Next Best Thing 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 651 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading "Just One of the Guys" so much so that I downloaded "The Next Best Thing". I found this book to be rather farfetched and depressing. Lucy needed a psychologist. Too many flashbacks and much too much talk about the dead husband. The family focus on everyone being widowed was much too much as well. I am anxious to read "Too Good To Be True".
Niff More than 1 year ago
It was a lovely book, but I found myself skipping chapters at a time because of the ridiculous amount of flashbacks. I wish she had spent more time addressing the relationship between the two main characters, than focusing on the woman's relationship with her dead husband. *sigh*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read 1 of Kristan Higgins' books and it was pretty good. This one however just kept going and going and going. Honestly, about 1/2 through I wanted the male character to just walk away and find someone that didn't treat him like crap. Inevitably they would get back together everything was fine then she would treat him like crap again. I'm not sure if K. Higgins wanted you to sympathize with the lead character...but it's hard to pull for someone that uses people the way she did. She had her reasons but still. You just don't treat people that way. After reading this book, I'm not sure I'll read any of her books again. Kind of disappointing because I thought I'd found a new author to read. Oh well, the search continues.
RZAZ31210 More than 1 year ago
This is probably the least favorite book by Kristin Higgins.sadly. I still enjoyed it, and I am sure many people can relate to the main character after losing a spouse. I did feel bad for her and Higgins did a good job portraying her emotions throughout. I thought though that Higgins dragged the book out with having the main character go back and forth, back and forth. It was also kind of weird that she had a fling with her deceased husband's brother. But, like I said, I did enjoy it. I like Kristan's writing style. Her books are usually comical, romantic, and sad/heartfelt. I now think I have finished all of her books.can't wait for more!
tracynurse13 More than 1 year ago
The Next Best Thing is by far Kristan Higgins' best work. You'll fall in love with Ethan, Lucy, & the rest of their crazy family. It will make you laugh out loud & shed a few tears. Great read! Highly recommended for those who love a good romance.
AuthorKellyMoran More than 1 year ago
Author Kristan Higgins is an award-winning author of several published books in the romance genre. Other titles include: Too Good To be True, Just One Of The Guys, Catch Of The Day, and Fools Rush In. She resides in Connecticut with her firefighter husband and two children. Lucy Lang has been a young widow long enough. Finally feeling like it's time to settle down again and remarry, she says goodbye to her 'friend with benefits', Ethan Mirabelli, and hello to the dating scene. Except finding the right guy for her isn't as easy as she thought. After all, all she wanted was a nice guy with whom she could have kids and not form a deep attachment to. A broken heart once was enough. But much to her dismay and delight, Ethan isn't going anywhere, and Lucy knows he's the one man who could break her heart again. And this time, she may not recover. First person point of view typically isn't my first choice, but this is a perfect example of what stellar writing is about. If you haven't laughed, cried, and sighed with contentment a hundred times while reading this, then there's something wrong with you. The hero and heroine are relatable, and the secondary characters are memorable. From the setting to the story-line, this is impossible to put down. Bravo. Recommended. Kelly Moran, Author of SUMMER'S ROAD
romance_addict82 More than 1 year ago
I have become a fast fan of Higgins but I was ready to pluck my eyes out with nail clippers halfway through the book. ANYTHING to distract me from the utter patheticness that is Lucy Lang. Okay we got it, you lost your husband, yeah we got it he was the love of your life, yeah we got it you are a push over who doesnt know how to say no except to the ONE man who loves you and with whom you have been involved longer than your husband. The weird thing is that the book has a good recipe to be liked, the crazy sister, the lovable ex girlfriend, the crazy old biddies, the slew of weird dates, the baking, the hungarian thing...but for some reason it falls so incredibly flat. I liked Lucy, I think she had a good heart but was so damn determined to be miserable halfway there I just wanted to say, okay FINE BE miserable, I don't care. I cannot imagine what it would feel to lose my husband and the mere thought makes me short of breath but I would hope that by my 6 years of him being dead I would not have a panic attack when walking by his cemetery or that I would be so consumed by grief that I would be so incredibly blind and selfish to the emotions of others. Lucy was weak and selfish. Not the worst character flaws in a person but definetly bad flaws to have if you are a character in a novel. I have read a third of the book and only because I hate not to finish books I will finish it. I actually am hoping that Ethan will stop being such a pansy and will walk away from her and be happy. This is almost in the realm of abusive behavior. No matter what she does he comes back for more. I have not gotten there yet but I am very close to the point where I am going to dislike him too and stop caring that she hurts him. That being said, whatever Higgins writes in the future I will read because I have read all her other books and I know the heights she is capable of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was irritating for me to read a book with a main character who was annoying and often unlikeable. She is incredibly self centered and lives in a fantasy world. No one is that perfect, referring to dead husband Jimmy, even if only married for 9 months. Love the Author, but this one did not work.
JLMaughan More than 1 year ago
Lucy can't seem to get over her husbands death and the curse of the Black Widows seems to hang over her head as she attempts to start a relationship with his younger brother Ethan. Delightfully funny as the a group of her aunts and mother are lovingly called the Black widows (because their maiden name is Black and they are all widows) bicker over everything and Lucy isn't sure she wants to expand their business at the family bakery with her bread through a whole foods executive who looks just like her late husband. Ethan struggles himself as he tries to have patience for the indecicive woman he loves and hopes she will choose him and a life of happiness rather than a life of comfortable widowhood. A lot of laughs and even more tears in this book. I loved it and the recipes too!
ElizabethSD More than 1 year ago
This one was a bit different than Higgan's other books. The main character was not as loveable as in other stories and just downright stubborn for the entire book. Still a great read, just not as humorous as her other titles. This is my 4th Higgan's book and I'm still heading to the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the first couple chapter's of this book and set it down diciding I didn't like it. But a couple of day's ago I gave it another try. And dispite the slow start and the sad flashbacks i'm glad I gave it second try. I thought the ending was so great that it actually made up for avrage majority of the book. Overall I think you should give this book a try if only just to witness everything come into place and form a happy ending after so long.
Momof3boysKA More than 1 year ago
This is the 3rd book I've read by Kristan Higgins. I thought all the character's in the book were great. It did drag some through the middle, it was alot of I'll be with you, I can't be with you and then back to I'll be with you. All and all though I loved it. I've read To good to be true, and Fools Rush In, The next best thing and now I'm on to Just one of the guys. Happy reading!
risuena More than 1 year ago
I read this book once and highly enjoyed it. I didn't give it 5 stars because I thought some of the anguish moments may have dragged on a little too long or repeated a bit much. But after reading it a second time, the book grew on me more. The relationship between the main characters were developed in more detail than a few of her other books. It made me appreciate the depth of their love.
dhaupt More than 1 year ago
Kristan is known for her quirky characters, and everyday heros and heroines and of course the dogs, cats and other animals that play such large roles themselves in her stories and you will get that and more when you dig into this wonderful read. Lucy has something that runs in her family, on her mother's side, a lot. She's a widow and it happened early in her marriage and in her life just like her mother and two great aunts it's their own private club and no one wants to join. Well Lucy has made a decision and unlike the rest of the "Black Widows" she's decided that she wants to remarry, even though Jimmy was the love of her life, but before she does that she'll have to stop sleeping with his younger brother. Gotcha didn't I. Those of us who love Kritan's romances have come to expect her witty descriptive dialogue where she makes her characters and settings pop off of the page and makes us laugh out loud and cry. Her story line is unique in the fact that these "Black Widows" aren't murdering psychopaths but female family members who jointly own a bakery in a picturesque little town. So let's talk about her characters they are a cast of unforgettable folks from the kooky great aunts, the overly cautious sister, the vogue mom, the old school Italian In-Laws, the cute confused heroine and the hot hunky hero. And they all have a major role to play in the telling of the tale. Her romance is funny, sad, serious and so full of pitfalls you're constantly looking forward to the next disaster. Her love scenes are hot and spicy, but also very tender and sweet. So if you've never read Kristan Higgins, what's wrong with you get this book. And if you're an old fan re-discover just what it is we all love about her writing and get this fall on your face funny and cry in your coffee tear jerker together in one incredible novel, you won't be sorry you did.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The beginning of the book was very catchy. I enjoyed reading it at first and then realized I was in the middle of the book and the same details were reoccuring. I found myself able to skip some pages by quickly reading the first and last sentence on the page. I felt the story was far too long and could have ended very quickly without being so windy at the end.
kenzizzle More than 1 year ago
I read this book because I had read "Too Good to be True" from the same author and loved it. I felt that this book wasn't as good, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. I loved the characters and there were some times when I just wanted to shake Lucy (the main character) and say "What are you thinking???". I guess that means Higgins did a good job with the story and character development if I was getting that into it, huh? :) Anyways, I really enjoyed this book and I think anyone else will too...especially if you like romantic comedies. I will definitely be reading more books from Higgins.
Nursebug More than 1 year ago
Kristan Higgans consistantly creates heart-warming romances with extremely likeable characters. While The Next Best Thing is not my most favorite of Higgans' books, I did get caught up in Lucy and Ethan's relationship. The cast of supporting characters as always were good additions to the plot.
BBMN More than 1 year ago
Have enjoyed her other novels but this was NOT GOOD.
cyncie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another winner for this author, with a poignant story,funny takes on the best and worst life can dish out, and a lovely ending after some quirky detours.
rdh123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I truely enjoyed this book. a slight twist with Lucy, a widow, having an inappropriate "privilages" with her deceased husband brother. The mom and aunts, "the widows" own a bakery. Ethan's parents an Italian restaurant. She finally decided to start dating again. Poor Ethan introduced her to his brother but he's loved her since they met in college. Good story. would enjoy re-reading
reneebooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lucy had only been married 8 months when she lost her husband over 5 years ago and she still has not gotten over it, to put it mildly. In fact, in my opinion the girl could use some serious grief counseling. But as the story begins her sister has just had a baby and that starts her thinking and she has convinced herself she is ready to move on - she wants to meet someone and start her own family. Ethan is her dead husband's brother with whom she enjoys "friends with benefits". This news was a bit of a shocker to me even though I had read it in the blurb. The story is told in a first person narrative and has the usual disadvantage of never knowing what Ethan is thinking or feeling. Lucy is one messed up person who seems to spend too much time playing the video of her wedding and crying. Normally I would be totally irritated with this type of heroine but I found myself very sympathetic towards her. Lucy works in the family-owned bakery with her mother and two aunts (called the Black Widows) who were also widowed at a fairly young age. These women seem to be content in their widowhood and cannot understand why Lucy wants to marry again. Why take the risk since all the men in the family die young. This is why I was so sympathetic of Lucy - working with these three was not a healthy situation. But there was lots of humor and some touching moments in this book which really balanced out the sadness. I cried along with Lucy and laughed too. But sometimes I wanted to shake her in her treatment of Ethan who was a wonderful guy.The characterizations of the widows and Lucy's sister were well drawn. The sister is deathly afraid her husband will die young too like her mother, sister and aunt's husbands and has become quite neurotic. Just when I was starting to lose patience with Lucy she makes an amazing discovery about Ethan and my heart just melts. I loved the ending. I couldn't make up my mind on the grade for the longest time. But it's still so memorable after a couple months that I had to rate it pretty high.
Rhodes123 More than 1 year ago
The Next Best Thing is book #2 in Gideon's Cove Series. IMO, the book just had to much "STUFF". The story was drawn out and the angst lead me to shaking my head and wanting to smack Lucy. It did have a HEA and the ending was this books saving grace... Lucy Mirabelli, has been a widow for 5 years and with the birth of her niece she decides it's time to get remarried. But first she has to "break-up" with her "Buddy With Benefits," former brother in law, Ethan Mirabelli. Lucy has decided that it is important that this time around that the man she marries won't inspire her to love with her whole heart. So, if he happens to die she won't suffer the loss as tragically as she did before. Her life seems full with her cat, Fat Mikey and the Black Widows that she works with at the family Bakery but she must give up one to get the other. Ethan Mirabelli, has hid the fact that he has loved Lucy from the start but he isn't going anywhere. He knows he must convince her the he is what she needs and wants. His parents call him the next best thing. Now it's time to prove to everyone that he really is....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago