*I received a free copy of Anything For You from Harlequin HQN via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *Anything For You by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #5
Published by Harlequin HQN on 29 December 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Before you get down on bended knee…
…you should be pretty darn sure the answer will be yes. For ten years, Connor O'Rourke has been waiting for Jessica Dunn to take their on-again, off-again relationship public, and he thinks the time has come. His restaurant is thriving, she's got her dream job at Blue Heron Vineyard—it's the perfect time to get married.
When he pops the question, however, her answer is a fond but firm no. If it ain't broke, why fix it? Jess has her hands full with her younger brother, who's now living with her full-time, and a great career after years of waitressing. What she and Connor have is perfect: friends with an excellent benefits package. Besides, with her difficult past (and reputation), she's positive married life isn't for her.
But this time, Connor says it's all or nothing. If she doesn't want to marry him, he'll find someone who does. Easier said than done, given that he's never loved anyone but her. And maybe Jessica isn't quite as sure as she thinks…
Nostalgic, achingly tender and sweet – Anything for You showed the extremely slow development of Jess and Connor’s relationship. All the characters we already know and love in Blue Heron were present as well.
I have to admit I felt really bad for Connor with the beginning of Anything For You! He had prepared a very romantic evening for his on-again off-again girlfriend Jess, complete with a diamond ring to ask her to marry him – only to have her think he was adorable, but of course, the answer was no. As the story moved forward, though, with flash-backs to their childhoods, teenage years and early adult-hood, it became very clear that Jess was right. Of course the answer was no – there were too many things not yet settled and worked out between the two of them. Her difficult past as a trailer-park child, with parents who were drunk more often than not, and a disabled younger brother she felt responsible for, Jess just didn’t have room for another full time relationship in her life.
Getting to know Connor and Jess was a pleasure, and I loved being back in the Blue Heron universe for their story. Anything For You is a solid story, about what is important in life, and also how hard it can be to let go of the past in order to grab hold of the present and the future with both hands. Connor was in a place where he thought everything was possible, but he hadn’t really thought about how hard things still were for Jess, but when he put his mind to it – he was amazing at figuring out solutions to all the roadblocks in their way.
Sweet and tender, and with a romance between two people who had known each other almost their whole lives, Anything For You went deep into the main characters’ thoughts and feelings to explore them, and to help them get to know themselves better all the while letting me get to know them well at the same time. I loved the other relationships in the story as well, both between friends and family, and other couples I had met in the past books in the series. The sense of loyalty between those close to Jess felt towards her was so strong, yet, she couldn’t really see it because she was always striving to better herself to make sure her brother would always be safe. Putting her own life on hold was just normal for her, and as I learned the reasoning behind this, my heart broke for her.
Written in third person point of view, past tense, the story moved forward at an even pace, and both the overall story as well as the plot and the sub-plots were well executed.
“I just asked you to marry me, Jess,” he said. “And it was adorable.” She ruffled his hair. That didn’t bode well, either. “The answer is no, obviously. What were you thinking? And boy, I’m starving. Did you call for pizza yet?”
No, the O’Rourkes were a sitcom family, starring Dad as The Hardworking Businessman; Colleen, the Sassy and Beautiful Daughter; Mom with a supporting role as Slightly Dim Housewife; and Connor as… As not that much. As Colleen’s twin.
He thought about calling someone to join him – one of his high school pals, maybe. Levi Cooper was on leave from Afghanistan, and Big Frankie Pepitone was always up for a beer. Then he opted against it. Solitude was the order of the night. He was Irish – brooding was the song of his people.
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