by Kristan Higgins

February 2010
ISBN: 978-0-373-77438-8
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Mass Market Paperback

Widow Lucy Lang is finally ready to date. Itís been a long time coming but five years after her husbandís death, Lucy decides it is time to move on best as she can. But to do that, she has to stop sleeping with her dead husbandís brother, Ethan Mirabelli.

Ethan is not going to let Lucy just slide out of his life however. He wants to date Lucy and show her they were meant to be. But will Lucy, who is afraid to truly fall in love, ever be ready for the love Ethan wants to give her?

Lucy is a woman with a history of widows in the family. Her mother and two aunts, and now Lucy, are known as the Black Widows. With this outlook on her side, it is no wonder Lucy is afraid to fall in love again. I enjoyed her escapades at getting back into the dating pool again, even as I felt bad for how much she was ignoring Ethan. It is obvious these two have some strong feelings between them and Higgins does a good job of building up that tension, though by bookís middle, I felt like it had gone on too long.

This story is peppered with a quirky group of secondary characters that bring zest and Italian and Hungarian wisdom to the story. Ethan and Lucy have a group of supporters and detractors who throw their own obstacles into the path of this couple.

The Next Best Thing is not my absolute favorite of Kristan Higginsí stories. This story seemed to drag in the middle rather than making the tension a powerful force to bring about the ending. However, the characters are interesting and seem like every day people. Lucy has to find a way to put the past in the past, not just in love but in her career and her goals in life. This is her story, but it is also the romance of underdog Ethan. It is well-written, romantic, humorous and just plain enjoyable. Everything I have come to expect from this author.

Reviewed in January 2010 by Sarah.

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