Narrated by Xe Sands
It’s a delight to have Kristan Higgins’ earlier titles out in audio now, narrated by the talented Xe Sands. The most recent one is My One and Only, published in print in 2011. Harper James is a little different from many of Higgins’ heroines – she’s a cynical divorce attorney who is trying to convince her steady beau of 2 years, the hunkalicious if not very ambitious Dennis (who calls her “dude”) to marry her. In the midst of her marriage proposal, a life she had tried to completely bury comes rushing back when her step-sister announces she’s marrying Harper’s ex-husband Nick’s brother.
The story of Nick and Harper’s whirlwind courtship and marriage some years earlier is revealed ever-so-slowly throughout the book, told in 1st person from Harper’s perspective. She hasn’t even told most of her friends that she was ever married, and at her sister’s wedding, she fights the attraction for Nick while at the same time fighting off the fear of commitment in so many ways. But it’s the sad tale of her childhood that really tugs the emotions and drew me to tears both when I read it in print and during this listen.
Generally, while they sometimes have a sad backstory, Higgins’ heroines have been romantic and hopeful about love, but Harper’s mother left her and her father when Harper turned 13, leaving a permanent scar on the vulnerable teen. It didn’t help that her father then went out and found another wife – complete with another daughter – to replace Harper’s mother. He and Harper never had much communication, the stoic New Englander in him, and in her, making that next to impossible. Getting past being abandoned by her mother and virtually replaced with another child by her father is an almost impossible hurdle that even the romantic Nick couldn’t do when they married the first time.
It’s still got Higgins-style fun moments, and wonderful Notable Pet Coco, a Chihuahua/Jack Russell Terrier mix. There’s a road trip too, which is always fun. A big plus is having Xe Sands narrate. She is doing such a terrific job with these older titles. She has a very natural, story-telling pace for narration, and she gets both the humor and the pathos of Higgins’ prose. She manages to give each character a well-defined personality, from Harper’s stepmother’s Texas drawl (with lots of hairspray) to Dennis’s lovable if somewhat dorky “dude” voice. It’s always clear who is speaking, and which gender she is voicing. This is a big recommendation for Higgins fans!
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: None
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Recorded Books