After proposing to her “best-friend-with-benefits” and being summarily rejected, Honor Holland meets professor Tom Barlow, who needs a green card, and the two agree to a marriage of convenience, risking jail time, their reputations and their hearts.
When Honor turns 35, she takes the bull by the horns and proposes marriage to her lifelong best friend, Brogan, a successful sports photographer who enjoys a casual sexual relationship with Honor. Humiliated when he rejects her, Honor admits she wants marriage and children but doesn’t have a lot of choices in tiny Manningsport, N.Y. She is surprised when her elderly grandmother connects her with a local professor who needs a green card since his college didn’t renew his work visa. Tom desperately wants to stay in the country for his unofficial stepson, Charlie, whose mother Tom was engaged to but died before they were married. Charlie is an angry, bitter teenager who now lives with his indifferent grandparents, so trying to reach him is difficult. Things start to improve when Charlie and Tom spend time with Honor’s large extended family, and real affection seems to spring up among everyone involved. On the other hand, Brogan has hooked up with Honor’s best girlfriend, Dana, and now, they’re over the moon because Dana is pregnant, and Dana is unpleasantly smug toward Honor, whom Dana basically betrayed. Honor is coming to realize that Tom is the true catch, though trying to convince him her feelings are sincere gets more complicated, what with Immigration investigating, Charlie’s father back on the scene and Honor’s family creating their typical havoc on her otherwise well-ordered life. Higgins takes the familiar marriage-of-convenience trope and modernizes it with her consummate skill in combining tender insight, bright humor and flawless character development. This, the second of the Blue Heron series (The Best Man, 2013), shines with Higgins’ capacity for creating complicated layers ultimately laid bare to the most elemental emotions.
Another delightful, funny, yet heart-wrenching must-read romance from Higgins.