Book: Until There Was You

Until There Was YouUntil There Was You by Kristan Higgins

Publisher: HQN Books
Publish Date: October 25, 2011
ISBN: 037377611X
ISBN-13: 9780373776115

Synopsis: Posey Osterhagen can’t complain. She owns a successful architectural salvaging company, she’s surrounded by her lovable, if off-center, family and she has a boyfriend—sort of. Still, something’s missing. Something tall, brooding and criminally good-looking…something like Liam Murphy.

When Posey was sixteen, the bad boy of Bellsford, New Hampshire, broke her heart. But now he’s back, sending Posey’s traitorous schoolgirl heart into overdrive once again. She should be giving him a wide berth, but it seems fate has other ideas….

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Until There Was You is my first contemporary romance from Kristan Higgans. Since I haven’t read any earlier works from Higgans, I didn’t have any expectations when I read the book. But from the synopsis alone, I liked it enough, so that’s always a plus. Until There Was You surprised me. Higgins wrote this beautiful story between Posey and Liam without all the fluff that stereotypically goes in contemporary romances. The story of several levels of heartbreak will always draw me in, and the story of Posey definitely tugged at my heart.

Cordelia “Posey” Osterhagen doesn’t know love. Yes, she has a family who loves her; her parents adopted her and her brother and lovingly gave them both a home. Yes, she has a loyal great dane that follows her wherever she goes, as well as the three cats back home. Tes, she owns her own business with a group of employees that are as close as family. But in the end, she doesn’t know love because in high school, her heart was broken by a high school crush. And Posey holds on to that heart ache.

You see during Posey’s high school days, Liam Murphy was the bad boy around town. He worked for the Osterhagens at their German restaurant. He didn’t have wonderful or supporting parents like the Osterhagens, but he made do with what he had. His mom died early and his dad was a drunk. Since he knew he couldn’t count on anyone, he kept to himself and supported himself.

Naturally, Posey’s crush for Liam grew. Each day they were together at the restaurant. They seemed friendly enough, or so Posey thought. So imagine the hurt when, while attending prom with mutual friends, Liam tells her date that she wasn’t anything great and was just a bag of bones. You’ll feel Posey’s heartbreak and cry the same tears.

Fast forward to present day. Liam has moved back to town with his fifteen year old daughter. His wife, Emma, died recently, and he moved them back to be closer to Emma’s parents. As if moving back to face his past isn’t hard enough, he has had to deal with his PTSD in the form of OCD. While his marriage to Emma wasn’t perfect, he has a lot of emotional issues concerning her death.

As the story progresses, both Posey and Liam walk down memory lane. Coincidentally, the walk a lot of it together.

I loved Posey. I wanted to protect her from the world that she lived in. She was strong and vulnerable at the same time. I didn’t fully understand why there were so many things going against her. She was loved, but also ridiculed. I was humbled by her life. Higgins portrayed her in a light that showed her true strength.

Liam. Oh, Liam. He had such confidence growing up, only to have it all crumbling down because of Emma. I cried because Higgins wrote in cancer and I cried because Liam faced it alone. Liam in high school was so different as Liam in present day. Having to raise his daughter AND take care of a dying wife? Talk about strength.

Higgins wrote the characters with so much emotion and depth. I haven’t read a book like this in a while. There were so many levels of heartbreak between Posey, Liam, and the rest of the characters – between lovers, family, friends. I warn you, have a box of tissue ready. Higgins also talks about family dynamics. She writes different examples and brings in elements that are positive and negative to those dynamics. It’s interesting to watch each relationship develop and crumble. Of course, there is a happy ending, but not without its trials and tribulations.

This was a great story and perfect for a weekend read. Posey and Liam are a great couple with a not-so perfect romance.

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