The Most Kindhearted and Patient Hero Ever
“Connor Michael O’Rourke fell in love with Jessica Dunn when he was twelve years old. The feeling was not mutual.”
FINAL DECISION: Emotional and at times heartbreaking, this is the story of a man who is willing to wait and care for the woman he loves, even when she turns from him again and again. A story that spans decades, I love how Higgins brings to life this small town with all the complexities and relationships involved and gives readers a hero that is imminently loveable.
THE STORY: Connor O’Rourke has loved Jessica Dunn for years. She never looked at him until they were adults. Then they have been involved in a secret on again off again relationship. As the book begins, Connor asks Jessica to marry him and she says no. Finally, he has had enough of her pushing him away. But the truth is that he has loved her for so long that he doesn’t know how to do anything else. At the same time, Jessica begins to realize that Connor has always been there for her. What will she do if he isn’t there any longer?
OPINION: When I read a Kristan Higgins book, I am always surprised by how much I like them. The plots themselves tend to be straightforward and simple, but the execution and depth that she brings to the characters, the emotions and the relationships are incredibly moving.
As readers follow the story of Connor and Jess, it seems that they are destined to be star-crossed or cursed. Over and over again, they seem to be getting close and then events tear them apart. The beauty of the story is that ulitmately, Jess has to make the decision to trust in the future and not allow them to be torn apart.
I found Jess to be a frustrating heroine because she is difficult to get close to. The daughter of alcoholic parents, she had to handle things far too young and did it far too poorly at times. In a lovely manner, the motivations behind Jess’s decisions become clear. There are no excuses here, merely understanding and compassion. Being the “slut” in high school, Jess has poor self-esteem and sacrifices herself again and again for those she loves. For years, she has been the parent of her mentally challenged brother in a relationship that is filled with love and guilt and selfish need. HIggins has thoughtfully set out this complex relationship. There are no simple answers here and that is what makes it great.
In compensation for the difficult heroine, Higgins has given readers one of the most adorable heroes ever. Kindhearted and caring, Connor has always been there for Jess — even when she rejected him. He deeply cares for those around him and is incredibly patient with Jess. Friend, lover, companion — Connor is willing to be whatever Jess will allow him to be in her life. Thankfully, Higgins has given Connor a complicated and difficult relationship with his father who has a new family of his own. This keeps Connor from being too perfect and also his neglectful father is part of the motivation for Connor being so dedicated to others.
This book spans decades and there is no single moment when things become perfect for these two. Instead, this book is about working through problems, believing in one another and taking the leap of faith even when things go wrong again and again.
WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of the series will enjoy the small updates on the locals including the couples from the previous books in the series.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ANYTHING FOR YOU is the fifth book in the Blue Heron series. Although this book is connected with the other books in the series, it can be read as a standalone as everything you need to know is in this book.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.