Lucy 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