I devoured this second-chance romance in a day because I had to see how everything played out. This is the third in the Blue Heron series and is Colleen O’Rourke’s story.
Colleen’s as entertaining as ever, running her Manningsport, NY bar with her twin brother, Connor, and flirting with every guy who comes in, all while playing town matchmaker. She thinks of herself as happy, but really she’s lonely because she’s never truly gotten over her first love. She and Lucas Campbell were the real deal back in high school and college, but a minor overreaction on her part and a misunderstanding on his part caused them to break up when they were in their early twenties. We don’t really know how that happened until a ways into the book because Higgins tells this story with the same flashback approach she has used in the other books. So we get the whole history while seeing how things develop now.
Lucas has been living in Chicago for his entire adult life (they had a long-distance relationship in college) but he’s back in Manningsport for a family emergency. This naturally brings Colleen and him into contact. Colleen, despite her big and confident personality, becomes a bit of an idiot around Lucas because she just isn’t over him. He looks as good as ever and their chemistry hasn’t dissipated, either. She experiences verbal diarrhea around him, which is generally funny.
As always, the story is full of family dynamics. In this case, it’s three of them—Colleen’s mom, dad, and stepmom; Lucas’s cousin, uncle, and aunt; and Lucas’s original family (his mom and dad). We don’t see much of Lucas’s dad, but we understand the impact both his mom’s early death and what happened with his dad had on him. Lucas’s “adoptive” family plays a very important role in the story, as its his uncle’s illness that brings him to town. Colleen’s family is complicated but not as troubled as Lucas’s.
There are also some subplots and numerous minor characters. The most notable one is her matchmaking attempt with Paulie and Bryce (Lucas’s cousin). I never really got into that one. Bryce was pretty clueless about everything and a total player who I had trouble imagining changing. But Lucas’s uncle’s illness is really important for Lucas, as is his uncle’s request that he help Bryce grow up. That’s a little funny at times, but I just never liked Bryce. Despite that, the main story made up for it for me.
Since this is a Higgins book, the writing is top notch. She is just one of the best writers out there for taking the reader on an emotional journey. The dialogue is crisp and witty and the (primary) plot is satisfying and well laid out. The heat level is not very high, due to her way of writing around the details while still giving you a good idea of what’s going on.
Obviously if you’re a Higgins fan, you’ll want to read this one. But if you like contemporary romances with a big cast, you’ll probably like it, as well. I’ve got book #4 on my desk waiting to be read.