PJV Quickie: As a long-time Kristan Higgans fan, while I enjoyed The Perfect Match, it wasn’t my favorite. I will say she delivers well-defined characters, a story that is sweet and sad in turns, and laugh-out-loud moments that will take you by surprise.
As The Perfect Match opens, Honor Holland is marking her 35th birthday with her traditional ‘birthday pap smear’ (not my favorite way to spend a birthday). This one ends a little differently, though, as her doctor mentions that she’s not getting any younger and if she wants kids she needs to start working on it soon. Honor sadly realizes he’s right: she’s spent her life working as PR person for her family’s winery, volunteering, and being the family peacekeeper. She’s secretly been in love with her BFF, Brogan, since high school, so dating hasn’t worked out for her as no other man has been able to compare with Brogan. Brogan has actually been a ‘friend with benefits’ off and on for years, and although they’ve never been a ‘couple’ she decides to propose. He declines, comparing her to an old, worn baseball glove that’s always there for you and picks you up when you’re feeling down (ouch!).
Tom Barlow came to America 4 years ago to visit his aunt and fell in love with a single mom. He moved in with her and her son, got a job at a local college, and thought life would be good. But the relationship went bad and his girlfriend died in a car accident, leaving her pre-teen son, Charlie, an orphan. Tom really cares for Charlie and wants to stay in his life, but the university is not renewing his work visa and Tom is going to have to go back to London, alone.
An unlikely source mentions to Honor that Tom needs a green card and she should at least go out on one date. It does not go well, and Honor is left with a ticking biological clock, while Tom is also racing a clock to get his green card so he can stay in America with Charlie, who really doesn’t seem to want him around.
First, I want to know where that cover model got her watch, because I want it! Okay, okay, moving forward:
The Perfect Match was not a pretty, happy, everyone deserves an HEA story. To me, it was a darker read than usual for Ms. Higgins, but the reader is saved from being totally depressed by Honor’s snarky sense of humor. It was hard to read her repeatedly swallowing her hurt feelings to keep peace and not cause a scene (except one particular bar scene, which was heartbreaking and spectacular all at the same time). I found myself getting frustrated with Honor on several occasions to just Say Something!!! But at the same time that’s one of the things I liked about this book is that neither the hero nor the heroine is perfect. Honestly, the way Tom treated Honor when they met had my mouth hanging open – what an arse! But as I continued to read and saw Tom had his own reasons for self-preservation, I started to understand. Not approve, but understand.
Ms. Higgins keeps the story moving with quirky secondary characters and humorous observations. Honor’s aging eggs had a running commentary that stole the show, which was good, because Honor’s ‘best friend’ Dana was rage-inducing. So, really, just the right amount of frustration and funny to make The Perfect Match an all-around good read.
(Honor is Faith’s sister from The Best Man (Blue Heron #1), but this can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.)
Fans of contemporary romance and/or marriage of convenience stories should enjoy The Perfect Match.
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