During the worst of my jet lag, I couldn’t sleep from 2-6 a.m. for several nights in Italy. What to do? Well, I took my Ipad in the bathroom (so as not to disturb my travel companion’s sleep) and read on the Kindle app. What did I read? The best contemporary romance by Kristan Higgins, Too Good To Be True. In fact, it was so good, it might have kept me up longer, dying to finish it.
First off, the characters are painted in portraits that leap off the page, from the mother whose glass sculptures resemble female genitalia to the snide older sister who zaps everyone with her tazorlike tongue. My only complaint was that it was a single title romance. Because I fell in love with every character in this book and I didn’t want to say goodbye at the end.
The protagonist, Grace Emerson is a prep school teacher with unruly hair whose passion is civil war re-enactments. And her fiancé left her for her younger sister. Ouch. But oh, what a great protagonist. You stick by her side through the whole book. Where she must face her family’s pity until finally she reaches her breaking point. And invents a boyfriend.
The best part is only her older sister and gay best friend are in on it because she did it all the time when she was younger. Everyone else buys her story. But she gets caught up the web of lies and must choose between a real-life-faults-included boyfriend or her perfect doctor that exists only in her mind.
Everyone in this book is 3-D including the younger sister that you want to hate for stealing her fiancé. But Kristan writes in such a way that you can’t fall back on black and white. There’s so many shades of gray and even something I find unforgivable (being with your sister’s ex fiancé) she made believable and somewhat sympathetic.
The plot moves at a nice pace and the wry humor weaved throughout kept me turning page after page. And then there was the bittersweet moment where I realized I had 50 pages left. I couldn’t wait to see how it all turned out, but I so didn’t want to say goodbye to the characters. Not only had they stayed up with me through the worst bout of jet lag ever, but I’d really fallen in love with them.
There is a reason Kristan Higgins is a national bestseller and a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She is a triple threat–tantalizing voice, multi-dimensional characters, and great pacing.
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