Review: The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins

The Next Best Thing Kristan HigginsLucy was widow at a young age and finally feels like she needs to move on with her life.  It has been years but now she wants children and the best way to do that is to find a husband.  She aims for someone she won’t love because she couldn’t take loving someone again and losing them.

First she has to call off her friends with benefits relationship with Ethan.  Ethan is her dead husband’s brother and somehow they just fell into a sexual relationship.  Two years later they are still at it.  Ethan is good to and for her but Lucy is terrified that he just might inspire too many feelings in her.  She can’t afford that so she must let him go.  Of course, that is not what happens because Ethan convinces her to give them a shot.

I guess my main issue with The Next Best Thing is that I did not believe in the romance between Ethan and Lucy because of the shadow of Jimmy, the dead husband.  Below is how the book went for me:



Though I know I shouldn’t, I find myself sitting in front of the TV, watching my wedding video once again,


What I want is for Jimmy not to have died, for Ethan to meet someone wonderful and be happily married.


Jimmy would’ve sat down with a notepad and mapped out a plan.  Here’s what you should do. he’d say, and he’d outline the next ten steps with utmost enthusiasm.  Ethan….Ethan’s not helping.


Ethan nods.  “Maybe he doesn’t have to be here all the time.”

He’s asking the impossible.  Jimmy is with me all the time.  His memory is constantly with me, and I think that will ever change.


She is watching the wedding video again.

Everything about the book was so depressing.  Lucy’s sister is insane with her hounding of her husband thinking he is going to die any minute.  The Black Widows all bemoan The Love of Their Life dying.  Lucy cannot stop talking about Jimmy every other paragraph.  How in the world am I supposed to believe in a HEA between Lucy and Ethan when everything in the book screams Lucy not being over Jimmy.  They were married for 8 months and it had been 5 and a half years!  I know there is no time limit on grief but this was miserable to read.

How or why Ethan was supposed to put up with this I have no idea.  When Lucy told him no more friends with benefits and then was upset because he acted in that fashion, I was just mad.  She wanted to string him along and date at the same time.  She cried , had panic attacks and was all over the place with her emotions.  All the way through the book all I could think about was how Lucy needed therapy.  She didn’t need a new man she needed help.  Ethan was strong, loyal and kind even in face of being always put second by his family and Lucy.  Why Lucy I will never know.  I didn’t see the appeal.

Despite not liking Lucy, reading Lucy crap on Ethan over and over, watching her date her dead husband’s look-alike, I still had to finish the book.  I wanted to find out how/if Ms. Higgins made me believe in their love.  I never got to that point but I will say there is a very good epilogue.  A good epilogue goes a long way for me and The Next Best Thing has a very sweet one.

This was my first Kristan Higgins book and I am very disappointed.  I know her books are well-loved and I thought that would be the case for me too.  I am not going to give up on her though.  I think I will still try something else by her because I really liked her writing style and the humor she expertly weaves through the story.  This one just wasn’t for me.  Final grade- D

Rating: D
The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
August 27th 2013 by Harlequin HQN
GoodReads || Amazon || Barnes & Noble

Subscribe via email

Get a daily email with a summary of the days posts.


  1. Rebe says

    I have a mixed reaction to her books. Some I LOVE, but others don’t work for me at all & this was one of them. Now I check reviews before buying her books. This book totally depressed me.

    • says

      You don’t know how badly I wanted to like this book. It was my first one by her and I have heard such awesome things. I feel like I have to read something else now.

      At least I wasn’t the only one depressed. :(

  2. cheryl c. says

    I actually liked this book. There are a lot of poignant moments, but the pay-off at the end was so sweet. I am a big fan of Kristan Higgins’ books. The book TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE is a special favorite.

  3. Ashley says

    This book was definitely a bad one to start with lol most of her other books are really good and I enjoyed them a lot. This one just didn’t work for me either.

  4. cheryl c. says

    THE BEST MAN and MY ONE AND ONLY are good choices, too. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE was the first book that when I read the last page, I turned back to the beginning and read it all over again! I guess something about it just touched my heart. I think you will like it better than THE NEXT BEST THING. :-)

  5. Krista Stern says

    This one was an “eh” for me – as are some of her earlier ones. But she’s still pretty good – I would second My One and Only, along with Catch of the Day. That is my favorite of hers, hands down – highly recommended! :-)

  6. LJD says

    I like Kristan Higgins and have read a number of her books, but I decided a while back never to read this one. Several reviews pointed to the problems you indicate here. I generally try to avoid widow/widower stories anyways, so I’m also not reading Until There Was You.

    I do find that my enthusiasm for Higgins has waned somewhat…I think it’s because her books are a little too similar to each other? I think it was KatiD on Dear Author who said most people’s favorite Higgins is the first one they read (though I hope that isn’t the case for you!) This is certainly true for me – All I Ever Wanted. I enjoyed Catch of the Day, but I thought we just didn’t see enough of the hero. My One and Only was a decent read, but I thought the hero got off a little too easy.

    • says

      Now, if all her books are similar to this one, maybe I won’t try again. lol So your vote would be for All I Ever Wanted?

      • LJD says

        They are similar to each other…without all the misery I’ve heard about in this particular book. Since you liked the voice, I would definitely try another one. All I Ever Wanted would be my vote, yes.

  7. JenM says

    I’ve tried two of her books, Fools Rush In and Too Good to be True, and although I like her writing, I didn’t like either of these books. After the first one, I thought, okay, I’ll give her one more try, but after the second I decided that I was done. I think my issue with her is that her books seem to be more chick lit than romance. I’m not a big chick lit fan, so they just don’t work for me. YMMV.

  8. infinitieh says

    My rule for her books is to stay away from the ones with cats on the cover; only read the ones with dogs. LOL