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…
I have been waiting (not-so-patiently) for Connor’s book ever since his twin Colleen’s book (Waiting On You) came out ages ago. (To be honest, I think I’ve been waiting for it since he first graced the pages of the first Blue Heron series book–but my need became more urgent while reading Colleen’s book.) Ms. Higgins is a cruel, cruel writer–teasing us (and Colleen) with a possible relationship drama in Connor’s life but denying us the details.
And then making us wait through TWO OTHER BOOKS.
Which naturally were awesome, because they’re Kristan Higgins books, but still. I needed me some Connor O’Rourke!
And I finally got him–yay! Anything for You was soooo worth the wait, thank goodness!
Poor Connor definitely had to work for his HEA, which it turns out he’d been trying to do since sixth grade, when he first fell for Jessica Dunn. Unfortunately for him, it wasn’t at all a “meet cute”–it was more a “meet pretty horrific”–and its repercussions were going to haunt him literally for years to come.
The book starts with his proposal to Jessica, whom he’s been secretly dating for quite some time. She turns him down, rather blase about it, and I spent the next 2/3 or so of the book mentally glaring at her every time she showed up. How could she be so cruel? It’s Connor O’Rourke. (Have I mentioned I love him? Yes? I’ll just continue on then, shall I?) Ms. Higgins takes us on a tour of their relationship up to that point, starting with that first early meeting and then bringing us back up to the present day. We gradually come to see why Jessica’s turned him down so definitely (though neither Connor nor I was very accepting of it still) and the story continues on from there. Somehow Connor just got even better as the story went on, and eventually I stopped glaring at Jessica quite so much.
By the end, I wasn’t even looking askance at her.
Ms. Higgins eventually gives them their HEA, and it’s glorious. There was so much that the two of them had to work though–both individually and together–and she did a stellar job giving us a great story and dealing with some pretty heavy issues: the long-term repercussions of alcoholism and fetal alcohol syndrome, forgiving family members that have done the unforgivable, the way your teenaged past never seems to truly go away when you live in a small town, and more. Once again this book put me in the middle of the book lover’s favorite dilemma: wanting to keep reading the book you’re loving so much because you love it so much, yet wanting time to slow down as you do so because you just don’t want it to come to an end.
Ever. (Happy sigh!)
If you’ve read the other series books, everyone is back for this one–Colleen, as Connor’s twin and business partner, has a major role and goes through a major life-changing event during the course of the novel. It’s like visiting once again with old friends. (If you haven’t read the rest, it should work fine as a standalone, but why? Why haven’t you read the rest???) I’m really going to miss Manningsport, since this is apparently the last book in the series (Sob! Though surely Ned Vanderbeek and Sarah Cooper have story-worthy drama, Ms. Higgins? Seeing as how her brother’s the police chief and all?) though I’m sure whatever she writes from here on in will be awesome too.
Even though, you know, Connor won’t be in it.
In the meantime, I think I’ll re-read Colleen’s book, which will be all the more entertaining because now I KNOW what’s going on with Connor behind the scenes.
But Colleen still won’t. 😀
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. And then I went out and bought e-book and audio versions anyway, because it’s a Kristan Higgins book. About Connor O’Rourke.