But yes, I did finally read Anything for You, and yes, I did absolutely love it.
This is now my third time writing about Kristan’s Blue Heron series, and if you still have yet to read it this is what you’re missing: wine country, women you could actually relate to and possibly be best friends with, hot _________________ (fill in the blank: sheriff, teacher, chemist), sex scenes that don’t make you feel guilty that you’re reading a book at your niece’s soccer game (Sorry, Sophia, but auntie had to finish that chapter).
In the fifth installment of the series, we’re back in Mannisport, New York (which I’m sad to say isn’t real and it broke my heart when I was trying to plan my summer vacation) and finally get around to what the hell is happening between restaurant owner Connor O’Rourke and reformed bad girl Jessica Dunn (whose nickname in high school was Jessica Does. I’ll let you figure out the origins.)
Unlike the traditional linear storyline of boy meets girl, Kristan starts off on bended knee:
“Get up, doofus.”
Though the words were said with a smile, they definitely weren’t what Connor O’Rourke was hoping to hear. He was, after all, on a bent knee, holding up a diamond ring.
“I just asked you to marry me, Jess,” he said.
“And it was adorable.” She ruffled his hair. That didn’t bode well, either. “The answer is no, obviously. What were you thinking? And boy, I’m starving. Did you call for pizza yet?”
Okay. Granted, Jessica Dunn was…different.
And so the author presents the beginning of the complicated, on-again-off-again relationship between Jessica and Connor. And yes there were times that I wanted to shake both characters (okay, more like makeout hard with Connor but then shake him afterwards), but you can’t help but root for these two in the end.
Although I loved each book in the Blue Heron series and try to not play favorites, Anything for You skyrocketed to the top of my list. The characters went beyond the typical two dimensional, flat characters that you find in many romances, and it is through the two leads that you realize that Kristan Higgins is perhaps one of the best romance authors out there.
While initially introduced as rival and sometimes bitch to heroine Faith in the first installment, The Best Man, Jessica’s past and struggles growing up in Manningsport come to light and we, as the readers, come to understand her initial chip on the shoulder and celebrate her journey to be something better than what is expected of her.
In Anything for You, readers learn that every step Jessica made, no matter how questionable, was in an effort to care for and protect her younger brother, Davey, who was born with fetal alcohol syndrome. Kristan delicately and respectfully explores the role of an adult caregiver, and the fine line one faces between care and independence. We empathize with Jessica as she struggles with balancing her own happiness with Connor and her guilt over her brother (read the novel, and be prepared with tissues when she reveals why she’s completely devoted to Davey).
Let’s face it, sometimes authors miss the mark when it comes to creating hot male leads. Happy to report that is not the case with Kristan Higgins. To picture Connor O’Rourke, why not go to the source?
He was lying on his back, one arm over his head, looking ridiculously perfect, like an ad for Alpha Male Cologne. His lashes were long and curly, and his jaw was dark with razor stubble. Full lips, and a slight dimple in his chin.
I could stop there, but Anything for You takes us beyond Connor’s aesthetic appeal and introduces us to a man whose steadfast devotion to the woman he has loved since he was 12 years old makes us love him all the more.
But his love life is only a part of his story. Initially portrayed as the playful and flirtatious twin brother of Colleen, whose own love life was explored in Waiting on You, Connor proves to be a man who has struggles all his own. He isn’t perfect – he could be stubborn at times, overly persistent when he needed to understanding. But that’s what is attractive about Connor: he’s flawed and it’s through those slight imperfections that makes you love Connor more and more by each page.
Buy Anything for You by Kristan Higgins
Are you a Higgins fan? Have you read the Blue Heron series?