Series: Blue Heron #1
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Harlequin HQN on 26 February 2013
I loved and disliked this book in equal quantities as although the story itself is moving and the characters are well rounded, there is this undercurrent of cruel, misogynistic behaviour that just didn’t sit well with me. I’m all for humour in books but not petty and cheap shots. Our heroine Faith Holland has returned to her hometown after being ditched by her fiancé Jeremy at the altar. Faith forgives Jeremy but blames Jeremy’s best friend Levi for giving Jeremy the courage to come out publicly and thereby ruining her big day.
Faith suffers from Disney Princess syndrome – she desperately wanted her HEA (just like the princesses) and when she didn’t get it, she looked around for someone to blame. It’s ironic really as she had such a ‘please like me’ and overly cheerful persona. She’s not all bad as she is able to maintain a cordial relationship with her ex and become a successful businesswoman on her own. Her fixation on Levi though borders on the ridiculous and she is unable to move on. She is angry that Levi stopped her from marrying a gay man and being trapped in a loveless marriage. Levi on the other hand has every reason to be surly. He was born on the wrong side of the tracks and had to constantly prove himself to the town that he was more than his trailer park trash. A stint in the military stood him in good stead to become the town’s police officer. In this role he goes overboard to help the townsfolk who once looked down on him. Got a missing cat or need a dog washing? Give him a call. As a teen he was attracted to Faith but she was strictly off limits as Jeremy’s girl. Higgins actively works to downplay Levi’s intelligence – Helen of Troy, anyone? Levi really does have Faith’s best interests at heart even though he is unable to communicate effectively and comes across as rude and boorish at times. Given the overt hostility between the two, I wasn’t sure how a real HEA would occur but Higgins pulls it off. The extended flashbacks help to round out both characters and made them both far more appealing and vulnerable. More Levi would have been great. Why does he need the acceptance of the town? What nightmares plague him? How the heck did he immediately know Jeremy was gay?
The main issue I have with this romance is the use of offensive jokes and misogynist behaviour. There is an unpleasant scene where a transvestite goes on a date with Faith’s dad as part of the children’s desire to pull him away from the clutches of a ‘gold-digger’. We also have numerous uses of ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ which weren’t really necessary and didn’t fit the tone of the novel. Faith’s grandmother was an interesting character that clearly had a lot to say, yet her husband constantly denigrates her publicly and no one really calls him on it.
This novel has so many things going for it but the humour, if you can call it that, crosses the line way too many times for me to really enjoy it.